After all these years, Gord Poersch still remembers the spirit of the game.
St. Vital resident Poersch, 75, was a halfback with the Winnipeg Juvenile Football League championship-winning St. Vital Mustangs team of 1955 — and a pick for the 1955 Juvenile League all-star team — before becoming a member of the Winnipeg Rods and their 1956 Canadian Junior Football League championship winning team.
"In terms of our equipment, we had hand-me-downs from year to year. We played for the spirit of the game," said Poersch, who — pending on the results of some medical tests — hopes to attend an upcoming gala dinner to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Mustangs and catch up with some of the old faces.
The event will be held on Sat., March 9 at the team’s clubhouse at 100 Frobisher Rd. in Maple Grove Park. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., cocktails will be served until 7 p.m. and dinner will follow. The master of ceremonies will be CTV Winnipeg’s sports director, Shawn Churchill, while guest speaker will be Bruce Covernton, a former Mustang who went on to play in the Canadian Football League for the Calgary Stampeders.
The gala — which organizers hope will attract alumni, as well community members currently involved with the club — will also see three builders and a team inducted into the Mustang’s newly-formed Hall of Fame. The builders are Al Penny, Bob Vandale and Gord Cooke, while the team is the 1987 junior Mustangs, who were (the former) Armadale Cup finalists that year.
"Looking back, it was a good era to play in," said Poersch, who went on to run Western Fabrics for many years before his retirement. "After the game, most guys would hang out at the Red Top (Drive Inn Restaurant). I still have a lot of good friends from those days and I still see the guys now and then."
St. Vital resident and gala committee chair Karen Mundey said around 150 tickets for the March 9 event have been spoken for so far — which is double the interest in the 60th anniversary five years ago — adding that donations are still welcome from Mustangs alumni or community members.
"I’m a history buff, so working on the alumni list is a pleasure for me," Munday said. "It’s going to be a hoot on the night and you’re going to hear so many old stories."
For more information, or tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.mustangsfootball.com.