This week is sport hall of fame week in Manitoba.
The designation is unofficial as it didn’t come from the Province of Manitoba. But, with golf, basketball, hockey and lacrosse holding induction ceremonies between Sept. 30 and Oct. 6, the communications advisers to Premier Greg Selinger and Eric Robinson, the minister responsible for sport, missed out on the opportunity to recognize many of our province’s top athletes, builders and teams.
The Manitoba Golf Hall of Fame led off the week on Sept. 30 with its 11th induction ceremony at the McPhillips Station Casino. Donna (Patton) Thompson, a three-time Manitoba amateur champion, and the late Mike Pidlaski, who made eight Willingdon Cup teams between 1947 and 1955, entered as players, and Raymond Savard became the first superintendent honoured. Charlie Harvey, who in 1929 became the first president of the Royal Canadian Golf Association from west of Ontario, was inducted posthumously. On a sad note, Joyce Collier, a driving force behind the formation of the golf shrine, died in Portage la Prairie on Sept. 19. She served as its president from 2003 to 2006 and was herself inducted in 2012.
On Oct. 1 at a media conference held at Sport Manitoba, the Manitoba Lacrosse Hall of Fame announced that players Calvin Paul, Don Paul, Gord Pottinger, Murray Roy and Bruce Wisener will be inducted on Oct. 6 during an afternoon ceremony at the Elmwood Legion. All but Roy, who got his start with the St. Boniface peewees, came out of the box lacrosse factory at Kelvin Community Club. The Pauls played in several national box championships while Pottinger and Roy represented Manitoba in field lacrosse as well as box. Wisener was the province’s premier box goal scorer during the 1960s. Mike Gilbert and Dave Gillis will be inducted as player-builders while Tom Parker, a leader in the development of the sport as a coach and an administrator at both the provincial and national level, will go in as a builder. The 1985 and 1986 Manitoba senior all-stars that won the Canadian Division II field championship will enter in the team category. Parker coached both teams while Gilbert and Gillis were players.
The hockey and basketball halls hold inductions every second year, and once again the two organizations decided to have their dinners in Winnipeg on the same evening, Oct. 5. More than 600 people will be attending the hockey dinner at Canad Inns Polo Park where six players, seven builders, one official and three teams will be honoured. HOF president Gary Cribbs confirmed that player inductees Bill Mikkelson, Gerry James, Vaughn Karpan and Bill Watson as well as family members representing the late Wayne Fleming and Ed Hoekstra will be attending from outside the province.
HOF chair Ross Wedlake expects a record 250 people will be at the Victoria Inn for basketball’s 30th induction. Players Dan Becker, Norm Froemel, Joey Johnson and Anna Smith and builders Clyde Perry and Russ Roney will be inducted, and two high school provincial champions will be honoured. The Glenlawn Lions girls won the title in 1962, 1965 and 1968 while the Vincent Massey Viking boys from Brandon won the AA championship from 1969 to 1971. Mike Kearns will be travelling from London, U.K. to join his Viking teammates. As part of the celebration, the HOF will recognize members of the 1950 Stellars junior and 1954 Paulins senior teams that were in the first induction group in 1983. Dick Bevan, Ab Glowicki, Paul Granovsky, Gord Johnson, Morley Rypp and Mike Skwark of Stellars and Paulins’ George Oelkers will be in attendance.