Thompson RCMP officer’s university basketball team inducted into Canada West Hall of Fame

Thompson RCMP Const. Sandy Deibert and her former teammates on the University of Winnipeg Wesmen women’s basketball team have been inducted into the Canada West Hall of Fame, which was created in 2019 to honour and commemorate outstanding university teams and athletes across Western Canada.

From 1992-1995, the Wesmen women’s basketball teams won three straight national titles and ushered in an unprecedented winning streak for the sport in Canada.

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“The Wesmen won the national title in 1993, 1994 and 1995 but arguably their most notable accomplishment came in the form of The Streak,” the Wesmen website states. “Winnipeg’s run from October 1992 to December 1994 with 88 straight games without a loss set a mark for basketball in Canada that has not been equalled to this day.”

Deibert was began playing basketball in Grade 7 and then played on provincial teams.

“Then I was recruited in Grade 12 to play university,” she said. “My first game with the Wesmen, we lost. Then after that we didn’t lose for 88 games. And when you’re in the middle of it, we never felt any pressure, because we just worked so hard.”

Deibert and her teammates didn’t realize the magnitude of their winning streak until a news reporter tracked them down at a Green Bay, Wisconsin tournament.

“They said, ‘How does it feel to be on a streak?’” Deibert recalls. “Until that moment we never even thought about it. It got pretty big after that. It was amazing to see how many people we were putting in the stands. At some points we’d have more people in the stands than the men’s team. Now, my closest friends are from that team. A lot of us are still coaching.”

Outside of Deibert’s challenging job as an RCMP officer, she is also a mom and has dedicated herself to coaching various sports teams in Thompson. She has some advice for the community in terms of guiding and keeping children safe.

“It’s not necessarily for the spectator point of view,” she explained. “That’s not why kids get involved with sports. It is nice [though] when the stands are full. But … what you learn from sports, there are very few other places where you learn those same values and life lessons. Being part of any kind group gets you that, whether it’s Scouts, or band, or dance. You learn how to get along with others, what your role is within a group, you learn the cost associated with a sport. Even in high school. The kids take ownership. There’s a real benefit to taking responsibility.”

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