Leighann Doan Reimer to be inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

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Local community member, Leighann Doan Reimer, is being inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in Red Deer for her outstanding basketball career.

“It’s a great honour to be included in the list of many athletes that have already been inducted,” said Leighann.

Leighann is a part time physical education teacher at the Three Hills School and also substitutes. Her and her husband, Chad Reimer, also own the Subway in Three Hills.

She started playing basketball in grade five in the small village of Halkirk, Alta. Her school did not have enough girls to make a junior high team, so her school asked the grade five and six classes to join.

“I liked sports and athletic activity, so I think it was a natural fit to start with it at a young age,” said Leighann. “I played a lot of sports, but basketball seemed to be the one from the beginning that I enjoyed the most and excelled the most at.”

With basketball, she liked the speed, the contact, and the aggression of the game.

“Some people don’t like the contact in basketball, but it was something that I thrived in,” said Leighann.

She later continued to play when she went to high school in Stettler, and then attended University of Calgary (U of C) in 1996, and played for the basketball team there for five years. At U of C, Leighann received her education degree. Leighann played power forward on the court.

While playing at U of C, one of the teams that they always had to play against and was a very good team was University of Victoria. Their team goal was to win the conference to get to nationals. It wasn’t until her teams fifth year when they finally beat Victoria to win the division title and go to nationals. They also won that game in Victoria in a best of three series, in Victoria’s own gym. Leighann said that it was one of her most memorable games in her university career.

“That was very satisfying to achieve that as a team.”

After university, Leighann, who was number 13 on the court, played professionally for three years in France from 2001-04. The season in France was offset with the national team in Canada, so in the summer Leighann played for the National team.

“Playing in France was very different,” said Leighann.

Leighann and her husband were newly married, and then moved to France for those years. She didn’t speak the language and her coach didn’t speak English.

“You just follow along with what is going on in practice and learn as you go,” she said. “I eventually learned quite a bit of French.”

In France, she played with mostly French players, but there were also some international players, like herself, that could speak English as well.

“It was a great experience to travel all over Europe,” said Leighann.

One of her basketball career highlights was playing for Canada’s national team. She said that it was one of the most difficult achievements, because when they select a team, It’s from players all over Canada that one year.

“When I was a young girl, I was dreaming for playing for the national team or the Olympics,” said Leighann.

Her national team did go to the Olympic qualifications for 2004. Unfortunately, they ended up losing in the semi-finals and never officially made it to the Olympics.

The 5’11’’ basketball player said that she still tries to continue to play basketball here in town with community intermurals. She also coaches her daughter’s basketball team at Prairie Christian Academy. Leighann also continues to do basketball clinics throughout central Alberta, and in the summer and she does her own basketball camp in Stettler, which will be in the summer.

Leighann received many awards in her basketball career. At U of C in 1996, she won the Rookie of the Year for all of Canada, in 2000 and 2001 she won Player of the Year across all the university teams, in 2001 she received the University Female Athlete of the Year (for all sports) across Canada, inducted into the Alberta High School Hall of Fame and the U of C Dinos Hall of Fame, and she is currently still the leading scorer at U of C, with having 1958 points.

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the new set of athletes will happen on June 1.