Leighann Doan Reimer is one of 12 athletes inducted into the Alberta Sports hall of Fame in Red Deer for 2018. Photo by Rachel 6 Photography
Leighann Doan Reimer had her humble beginnings playing basketball in a Halkirk elementary school, which no longer exists, and now the accomplished athlete is making provincial history.
Reimer is one of 12 athletes being inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in Red Deer for 2018.
“I’m certainly very honoured and when you look at the list of the other people on there it’s very humbling that I’m included in that,” said Reimer in an interview Sunday. “I think it’s very exciting and such an honour to be part of it.”
Reimer started playing basketball in Halkirk in Grade 5 and continued until Grade 9. She then played basketball while attending W.E. Hay High School in Stettler.
“I love the competition of it. I like the team aspect most of all.“
Basketball is a high intensity sport and although some may not like that, Reimer thrives on it.
“You’re running and jumping and it’s more intense with the physical contact. I like that.”
Reimer has had an impressive basketball career. In 2001 she led the University of Calgary (U of C) Dinos to a CIS bronze medal after winning the Canada West Championship.
She was U of C’s Athlete of the Year twice and City of Calgary’s Female Athlete of the Year.
In addition, while playing in Europe, she was captain of the women’s basketball Universiade team in Spain. She was a member of the Canadian women’s national basketball team and played professional basketball in France from 2001 – 04.
Her biggest accomplishment, however, was making the Olympic team.
“It was my goal to play for Team Canada. That was my sole reason for going over and playing in Europe, so I could play with the national team and possibly play in the Olympics.
We fell just short of our prequalification so we didn’t play in the Olympics but I was on the team to qualify for it. When I look back, many of those last few years, I was preparing for that.”
Reimer is a familiar face in Stettler, giving back to the community and sport. She helped start basketball Camp Teckla in Stettler, which is going into its 22 year this July.
“Teckla was a girl that I played basketball with in junior high in Halkirk,” said Reimer. “She was killed in a car accident when I was in my first year of university.”
Reimer and Teckla’s family came up with the idea of a basketball camp.
“We set out to do it a few years and along the way it’s continued and it’s been great.”
And now the athlete has become the coach.
“I do see my role as completely different. I’m no longer the athlete. I’m now the coach, the teacher, the mentor. The role and my focus changes as I get older from trying to create great basketball players to just connecting with kids and sports gives you that opportunity.”
Reimer is a physical education teacher in Three Hills and coaches her oldest daughter’s basketball team.
“I think it’s really important for kids and adults to be involved in sports but I see, as an elementary physical education teacher, if you keep them active as young kids they are more likely to be active adults.”
The 12 inductees were announced Feb. 26 and the athletes will be inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame & Museum in Red Deer June 1.