The University of Manitoba has renamed the arena the Wayne Fleming Arena, located at the Max Bell Centre, in honour of the former Bisons men’s hockey coach who died March 25.
Fleming, who played four years for the Bisons in the 1970s and was the team’s head coach for nine seasons in the 1980s, died at age 62 after a battle with brain cancer.
The official unveiling of the name will be at the Bisons men’s hockey season home opener on Friday at 7 p.m. against the Alberta Golden Bears.
Also that night, fifth-year defenceman and captain Dane Crowley will be presented as the winner of the first annual Wayne Fleming Legacy Scholarship.
"We would like to thank everyone responsible for this wonderful tribute to Wayne, in recognition of his commitment and contribution to the University of Manitoba Bisons Men’s Hockey Program. We are deeply honoured," the Fleming family said in a statement.
Fleming, born in Snowflake, Man., played for the Bisons in 1970-73 and 1974-75 while earning his physical education degree and certificate of education.
He served as a Bisons assistant coach for three seasons before taking over as head coach from 1980-87, 1988-89 and 1989-90). He was named GPAC Champion (now defunct Great Plains Athletic Conference) twice and the national coach of the year in 1984-85. He had a winning percentage of .634 in his nine seasons as head coach with a record of 140-78-14.
Fleming went on to a prominent coaching career internationally with Team Canada, in Europe and the NHL.
He was an assistant coach with Canada’s Olympic silver medallist men’s hockey team at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France, and an associate coach for Team Canada at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City where Canada won gold.
He held NHL coaching positions with the New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Fleming was inducted into the Manitoba Bisons Men’s Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.