Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2024 announced

A pair of former university standouts, four builders, and two teams make up the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2024.

The official announcement was made during a news conference held on Tuesday at the University of Winnpeg’s Duckworth Centre, which houses the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Jennifer Finch and Keith Strieter were confirmed as the latest inductees into the MBHF players category.

Strieter joined Brandon University from his home state of Michigan in 1978, and led the Bobcats all the way to the CIAU/CIS National Championship Final during the 1979-80 season. The three time Great Plains Athletic Conference All Star was also named an All-Canadian in 1978-79 when he led the Conference in scoring and was second in rebounding.

Finch graduated from Kelvin High in 1980 and went on to star for the U of M Bisons. Legendary U of M Women’s Bench Boss Coleen Dufresne says Finch was “pound for pound, inch for inch, the best player I ever coached, and I coached a few great ones during my time.”

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Finch was the 1984-85 Great Plains Athletic Conference Player of the Year and an all Canadian that season. The following year in 1986, she was a member of Team Manitoba’s Senior Women’s National Championship squad.

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“Well I have to say, it was a big surprise, you know turning 61 this year,” Finch said when she received the call from Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame Chair Ross Wedlake. “I thought he was calling to ask me for some money or a fundraiser so it was a nice surprise.”

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Finch, Strieter, and the Class of 2024 will be officially inducted into the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame the evening of Saturday, September 28th at Winnipeg’s Victoria Inn.

Former Coaches Joe Di Curzio, Tom Kendall, Reynold Reyes, a pioneer for the Filipino Basketball Community, and longtime official Wes Crymble are going into the hall as builders.

Crymble was an on-court official at the high school, senior men’s and CIAU/CIS levels for 31 years and also held many positions on the executive of the Manitoba Baseball Officials Association in addition to serving as an observer and evaluator for the Canada West Conference.

“People say, look how do you keep involved with the game,” said Crymble who was part of a provincial high school championship team during his Grade 11 year at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute.  “A friend recommended refereeing and I’ve been doing it ever since. 50 years worth.”

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Di Curzio was the head coach at Tec Voc High School, Red River College and Canadian Mennonite University, leading his teams to four high school championships and five Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference titles. He was also a board member with Basketball Manitoba for over 20 years and served as a Basketball Canada board member for nine years.

Kendall enjoyed an incredible 16-year run at the helm of the University of Winnipeg Wesmen Women’s team from 1979-95. During that time frame, the U of W captured 10 Great Plains Athletic Conference crowns and were CIAU/CIS National Champions on three occasions. Kendall was named GPAC Coach of the Year in 8 of those 16 seasons and was honoured as the National Coach of the Year four times.

Reyes started three volunteer driven leagues and became the first President of the Philippine Basketball Association (1973-77). In 1982, he formed the Barangay Organization of Manitoba and four years later the Philippine National Youth Cagers League (PYNC) in 1986.

Completing the Class of 2024 are the Neelin High School Spartans Varsity Girls Teams that captured eight Provincial Triple AAA Titles in a 10 year span from 1999 through 2008, and the St. Laurent School Hawks Varsity Boys teams that won three Provincial Single A Crowns from 1992-95.