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Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame officially opens to the public on Saturday

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Manitoba’s greatest athletes finally have a permanent home to call their own.

The Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame will officially open to the public on Saturday in the Sport for Life Centre at 145 Pacific Avenue. (A formal ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Wednesday afternoon.)

The HOF has a little of everything – jerseys, pictures, trophies, boxing gloves, hockey helmets and sticks, footballs, bicycles, newspaper articles and famous quotes on the walls.

There are also a number of video screens displaying some well-known, and not-so-well-known, moments in our sporting heroes careers.

Not sure if a particular athlete cut the muster for the HOF? Simply punch their name in to the information terminal outside the entrance.

Hockey fans will gravitate towards the 1970s display, which features numerous items from the powerhouse teams of the WHA Jets, including the AVCO Cup. The banner that was raised to the rafters of the old Winnipeg Arena when Bobby Hull’s No. 9 was retired will also be featured prominently.

The ’80s and ’90s will also be popular, with numerous pieces from Dale Hawerchuk and Teemu Selanne. Ken Ploen, one of the greatest Winnipeg Blue Bombers in team history, Billy Mosienko, whose record of three goals in 21 seconds may never be broken, and celebrated golfer George Knudson, also receive considerable space.

Other items include torches from the Pan Am Games in 1999 (but no tomato soup-coloured shirts), Olympic skeleton gold medallist Jon Montgomery's Whistler bib, Nikolai Khabibulin's Jets goalie pads, Chris Walby's Blue Bombers helmet, Cindy Klassen's skin suit and bike, Kerry Burtnyk's Brier shirt.

"We have a rich, rich sports heritage and an opportunity to be inspired every day here," said Debbie Schween, gallery manager of the HOF.

Roughly 10 per cent of the material and memorabilia that Sport Manitoba has is on display. The rest is kept in storage but will be rotated in as operators attempt to keep the museum’s contents fresh.

The HOF will also have a pulse as a number of inductees and potential inductees will be on hand on Saturday to sign autographs and pose for pictures. They include Winnipeg Blue Bomber receiver and Grey Cup champion, James Murphy; Olympic silver medalist in rowing at the London games, Janine Hanson; Amos Ramon, playoff MVP for the 2012 American Association champion Winnipeg Goldeyes; three-time AVCO Cup winner and long-time Winnipeg Jets goaltender, Joe Daley, Ploen, who won four Grey Cups; Ab McDonald, four-time Stanley Cup winner and first-ever captain of the Winnipeg Jets; and Susan Auch, three-time Olympic medalist in speedskating.

The Hall of Fame had previously been located at the Bay and in the Johnston Terminal at The Forks.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

 

 

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