Federkeil, Risling and Paniti-Meyer forever recognized on Sports Wall of Fame

By Taylor Chartrand
May 11, 2019 - 4:42pm

MEDICINE HAT, AB - They all have storied careers and now, they will be forever remembered as sporting-legends in Medicine Hat.

Friday evening, Dan Federkeil, Kelly Risling and Eva Paniti-Meyer were inducted into the Sports Wall of Fame.

First, we'll start with Federkeil.

The mans resume speaks for itself.

He is one five men from Medicine Hat to have played in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the only player from the Gas City to make it to the National Football League (NFL).

Incredibly, Federkeil is one of only 10 players in the world to have earned both a Super Bowl ring and a Grey Cup Ring.

He says although the Super Bowl and Grey Cups were memorable, this induction definitely ranks up there as a hometown boy.

"It's an honor," explained Federkeil. "I know my dads upset that he wasn't able to be here. He's quite proud of me, I know my mom would be too. I think like most of my achievements, it means a lot to those around me. It's just an honor." 

With a storied-career like Federkeil's, one might assume his career-highlight would be his Super Bowl championship with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007.

"I know most people expect me to say the Super Bowl, but at the time I was only a practice-squad player. My answer is always the Grey Cup. I started the whole season, played the whole (Grey Cup) game and just being able to have a significant contribution towards that result was definitely the highlight."

Next, Risling.

Kelly began golfing in 1967. 

Three-years later, he won his first tournament; the 1970 Redcliff Junior Championship.

From there, Risling's golf-career exploded. 

Heading into 2019, he amassed more than 160 tournament championships, recorded seven hole-in-one's and was also Medicine Hat City Champion 25 times in 37-years, including nine consecutive titles between 1996 and 2004.

For Risling, being inducted was a humbling experience.

"It's sort of surreal," he explained. "Next time I walk by there, my pictures going to be up. Very humbling experience and I feel proud." 

After many years on the course, Risling says his biggest take away from the game was not his championships, but the friends he made along the way.

"Certainly, there's a lot of gratification in winning tournaments and first and foremost, that was always my goal. But, it's friendships that are long-lasting and when the trophies are gone, you still have your memories and friends. That's my favorite part of golf. The friends I met along the way." 

And last, but certainly not least, we have Paniti-Meyer.

Of Hungarian descent, Eva grew up in Romania where she fell in love with gymnastics at the age of 7.

Paniti-Meyer enjoyed great success as a young gymnast in Romania, earning a spot on the Romanian National team from 1974-1976.

She was training on the National Olympic team in preparation for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal when she was injured just days before competing.

Believing things happened for a reason, Eva credits that injury for turning the path in her life towards her new home in Medicine Hat. 

After a few bumps in the road, Paniti-Meyer ended up in Medicine Hat in 1987 and has called the City home ever since. 

In 1988, the Salta Gymnastics Club opened and she was named the program coordinator and head-coach. Roles she still continues to hold to this day.

She says no words really express what it means to be inducted into the Sports Wall of Fame.

"I feel so honored and the respect that I got from this City and this crowd, it makes me feel so honored of myself," explained Paniti-Meyer. "It just makes me so proud."

And she never thought in her wildest imagination that she would be bestowed with such an honor.

"I followed my dreams and this is where I want to be. After 30-years I'm happy to say I've achieved my dreams."

With their inductions, the Medicine Hat Sports Wall of Fame now has 41-inductees.

The Wall can be viewed at the Family Leisure Centre.
 

Bast leads defensive charge, Bandits crush Blades in NJAC opener