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Lorie Kane was the one hitting long drives and sinking tough putts while competing against the best women golfers in the world, but she knew there was a strong support system back home cheering her on every step of the way.
The Charlottetown native felt it then and said the support meant the world to her – more than those in her home province could have known.
“I can’t say enough how great it was to get the support of local Islanders,” she said Thursday morning. “The support, well, it never died, and it still hasn't until this day. …
“It’s very flattering when I am downtown, and people recognize me. That will never get old.”
Kane, 55, will proudly represent the province again next year when she takes her place in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. She was part of the 2020-21 class announced on Wednesday.
“If we’re 150,000 strong now, then I take this for the 150,000 of us because this is home. This is where I learned to be an athlete.”
Kane, the daughter of Jack and Marilyn Kane, will become only the fourth Islander to earn a spot in the Canadian Hall and the first in more than 50 years.
Kane is a longtime supporter and ambassador for KidSport and knows the importance sports can have on a child.
“School was tough for me, so sport was my deal,” she said. “I am definitely a product of not just golf here on Prince Edward Island but school sports, the YMCA, all those things that I had growing up as a kid that really helped form who I am.”
She went to school at Prince Street elementary, Queen Charlotte intermediate and Colonel Gray high before going to UPEI for a year.
She played field hockey and basketball for the Colonels back before golf was a school sport.
Kane was introduced to golf when she was five years old while her father was the first pro at the Brudenell River Golf Course. She had to wait to turn 12 to join Belvedere.
As a junior, she was competing against a strong field of her peers but wanted more.
Her math teacher, Fred Coady, ran the provincial junior boys’ program and allowed Kane to compete on the tour, but she had to play from the same distances as the boys.
“I definitely think I learned a lot from playing with the guys,” she said. “I never felt like I didn't belong, and the guys were very accepting of me being there.”
Need to know
Who: A Charlottetown golfer.
The latest: Kane is part of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020-21. She will also receive the Oder of Sport award, Canada’s highest sporting honour.
The class: The athletes being inducted are John (Jackie) Barrett, powerlifting and Special Olympian; Sonja Gaudet, wheelchair curling; Diane Jones Konihowski, athletics; Eric Lamaze and Hickstead, equestrian/showjumping; Steve Nash, basketball. The builders are Duncan Campbell, wheelchair rugby; Sheldon Kennedy, hockey; Judy Kent, sports administration; Willie O’Ree, hockey; and Ross Powless, lacrosse. They were selected from more than 260 public nominations.
Ceremony: The induction ceremony has been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic.
The hall: The 40,000-square foot building with state-of-the-art technology opened in Calgary in 2011. The original hall opened in 1955 in Toronto and operated until 1993. Not including this year’s class, there are 673 members of the Hall of Fame, representing 67 sports. More on the hall is available at www.sportshall.ca.
Island members: Lt.-Col. Dan MacKinnon was the first to be inducted when he went in as a builder in harness racing in 1961 while Joe O’Brien was inducted as an athlete in harness racing in 1965. Elmer Ferguson was inducted as a sports journalist in 1968. He was the sports editor of the Montreal Herald from 1913-52.
Did you know? Kane won the P.E.I. junior girls’ championship twice and was named women’s amateur champion nine times between 1983 and 1992 in her home province. Internationally, she was the Mexican amateur champion in 1991, was a member of the Canadian world amateur team in 1991 and represented Canada at the Commonwealth Games in 1991, the World Cup in 1992, 2005, 2006 and 2008 and the Pan American Games in 2015. In 1997 and 2000 she was named Canadian female athlete of the year, and in 2006 she received the Order of Canada. She was named The Guardian’s newsmaker of the year in 1999 and 2000. She was inducted into the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 2016.
She said 1988 was a real turning point in her career. She went to Vancouver as part of P.E.I.’s team for the Canadian women’s amateur at the Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club. Jack McLaughlin, who was the director of golf there at the time, took notice of the Islander with the sweet swing.
He became the national team coach that fall and began working with Kane.
She turned pro in 1993 and joined the LPGA Tour in 1996. While she had nine second-place finishes in the first couple of seasons, she hadn’t been able to finish atop the leaderboard.
In 2000, she had a break from the action and came home as Brudenell was hosting an event as part of the du Maurier series, where Kane had previously played. It was an opportunity to catch up with friends at the course where she began playing.
“I kind of had a reality check that life was pretty good for me,” she recalled. “I was playing professional golf on tour and I went to St. Louis (the next week) with a clear vision.”
She won. And then added two more victories that year and another in 2001.
After St. Louis, she went to Ottawa to play in the du Maurier Classic. A package arrived for her while she was there.
“There was a 20x20 poster sent to me from Belvedere that every member had signed. I still have it,” Kane said, and “my hotel room was full of flowers. It was really cool.”
Kane is waiting to see what this season holds.
The U.S. Senior Open and Senior LPGA Championship have both been cancelled this year.
“It’s sad, but I understand why,” the Stratford resident said. “The health of people around the world right now is, first and foremost, very important.”
Her fingers are crossed the CP Women’s Open, scheduled for the Labour Day weekend back at Shaughnessy, will go ahead as it would be her 30th Canadian open.