Lorraine Kuhn is seen with one of the many volleyball teams she coached. (Photo submitted by Sport Yukon)

Lorraine Kuhn is seen with one of the many volleyball teams she coached. (Photo submitted by Sport Yukon)

The Yukon Sports Hall of Fame inducts the late Lorraine Kuhn

Lorraine Kuhn became the newest member of the Yukon Sports Hall of Fame for her work in growing volleyball amongst other sports

The Yukon Sports Hall of Fame added a new member to the wall. During a small ceremony of family, friends, and former players, the late Lorraine Kuhn was inducted into the hall of fame.

Kuhn died earlier this year, but her “legacy lives on in the strong and prosperous community of sport in the Yukon.”

She helped establish volleyball in the territory and coached generations of Yukoners in both volleyball and basketball at both the territorial and national levels.

The hall of fame recognizes those individuals who have made significant contributions to the growth and development of amateur sport in the territory.

Kuhn fit that bill to a tee.

“For more than 35 years, Lorraine Kuhn dedicated herself as an athlete, coach and most importantly a builder of Yukon sport,” said Tracey Bilsky, Sport Yukon’s executive director.

The late Lorraine Kuhn became the newest inductee to the Yukon Sports Hall of Fame on June 16. (Submitted/Sport Yukon)

“Her legacy appears in the culture of Yukon Volleyball as she shared her passion and motivated others to become leaders of today.”

Kuhn arrived in the Yukon in 1970, after attending the University of Alberta and completing her teaching degree in physical education.

While at school, Kuhn was a duo-sport varsity athlete in volleyball and field hockey, an impressive feat.

When Kuhn got to the Yukon, her first job was teaching at Takhini Elementary. She quickly began working with Dave Stockdale to grow the Polar Games, which continue today.

She also coached and developed elementary-level volleyball and basketball teams and created competitive experiences between schools.

From 1973-1979 and 1985-2001, Kuhn was the physical education teacher at F.H. Collins where she taught and coached generations of young people.

In the ’70s, she exposed many athletes to high-level competition Outside the Yukon for the first time.

“Lorraine believed that to build the teamwork, you need to play skilled, quality competitors to test your limits and challenge your skills,” said Bilsky.

In 1996, Lorraine and Gerry Kuhn, along with Mike Harper founded Volleyball Yukon and for many years she held the highest volleyball coaching certification in the territory — level three theory and level four technical.

“She encouraged her athletes to not only get their coaching and officiating designations from Sport Canada, but also encouraged athletes to coach junior teams to create capacity and skill,” said Bilsky.

Tyler Kuhn and his daughter Inara Church hang Lorraine Kuhn’s portrait on the Yukon Sports Hall of Fame Wall on June 16. (John Tonin/Yukon News)

“Lorraine not only built athletes, teams and organizations, she helped create good humans who wanted to pay it forward.”

Accepting the award on Kuhn’s behalf was her son Tyler and his family. Kuhn’s daughter Robyn watched the ceremony on Facebook Live.

“She was certainly dedicated to building sport in the Yukon, particularly volleyball,” said Tyler. “She supported local tournaments and supported people growing in that sport. And would look for opportunities for people to get into competitions.”

Tyler said she was really into bringing opportunities to the people up here.

“The Yukon at that time was rather isolated,” said Tyler. “You could get into a sport like volleyball, but you needed those competitions and experience.

“One thing that my sister mentioned is my mom said the women that are on my team are technically as proficient as any of the teams down south to win a competition. But we just haven’t had the exposure, but the skills were there.

“I think it was important for her to build those skills and share that as much as possible.”

When the ceremony was over, Tyler and his young daughter Inara hung the photo of Kuhn on the wall with all the other Hall of Fame honourees.

Peter Cassidy, a friend and former colleague of Kuhn also spoke during the ceremony.

Cassidy was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 for his work in volleyball and other sports.

He said that Kuhn was always there helping coaches become better teachers of the game. Throughout the years, Cassidy said Kuhn would bring up national-level coaches to assist in training.

“They were great,” said Cassidy. “But Lorraine was always the best.”

The Sport Yukon Hall of Fame also celebrated its 40th anniversary during Kuhn’s induction.

Contact John Tonin at john.tonin@yukon-news.com

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