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Alberta Sports Hall of Fame opens 'When Sports Stopped' exhibit

Last Updated Nov 30, 2020 at 3:29 pm MDT

"When Sports Stopped" at Alberta's Sports Hall of Fame

RED DEER (660 NEWS) — A new exhibit is open at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

‘When Sports Stopped’ examines global events from the Spanish flu through both World Wars and up to now, with COVID-19.

“We decided to focus on some major events,” Breanna Suk, collections and exhibit coordinator, explained. “We, of course, covered the first and second World Wars, where it wasn’t so much that sports came to a complete stop, but the way we viewed sports started to change.

“We had women take on a more prominent role in sport, given that most of the men were called away overseas to fight. We had the creation of things like the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in the States that had a number of Canadians that went down and played.”

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And there’s plenty to wade through, especially with the parallels between the Spanish flu and the coronavirus.

“We didn’t completely stop sports during the Spanish flu, but they did see a large rise in cases connected to sporting events,” Suk said. “They started to put in things like if you wanted to watch the baseball game, you had to be wearing a mask — very similar to what we see now in our current pandemic.”

Much of the exhibit, though, is focused on COVID-19 and what we’re going through now.

“We did a huge feature on what happened in March when all of this started and how all of the sports leagues came to a stop and the different ways we returned to sport,” she said.

“Between having the bubble cities for hockey, you had the NBA doing everything down in Walt Disney World with no fans versus things like Major League Baseball that proceeded with a shortened, but fairly normal, season. They still had fans, but they saw a higher level of COVID cases.”

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As for the Hall itself, it’s under the province’s current health guidelines, but Suk says everyone’s spirits remain positive as they continue to welcome guests.

“We were definitely a little quieter this summer than we have been in the past, but attendance was still pretty good once we were able to reopen the doors,” she offered. “We got a couple of months of traffic back through before more restrictions were put in place.

“We, of course, have upped the level of cleaning and sanitation of the whole building and all of our interactives to keep it as safe for the public as we can. All of the visitors have been happy to come in, and they have been showing us nothing but support.”

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame is located in Red Deer, and the ‘When Sports Stopped’ exhibit is open now.