T. Kent Morgan

T. Kent Morgan

Memories of Sport

Memories of Sport appears every second week in the Canstar Community News weeklies. Kent Morgan can be contacted at 204-489-6641 or email: sportsmemories@canstarnews.com

Recent articles of T. Kent Morgan

A breezy history of pro basketball in Winnipeg

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

A breezy history of pro basketball in Winnipeg

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Yesterday at 9:32 AM CST

Word that pro basketball will return to Winnipeg in the summer of 2023 brought back memories of the two pro teams that played in our city in the 1990s. The new team will play in the 11-team Canadian Elite Basketball League and call the Investors Group Athletic Centre at the University of Manitoba home.

Winnipeg had a pro team in 1992 when the Thunder joined the World Basketball League (WBL). A summer league, the WBL was formed in 1988 with teams in Calgary, Vancouver and four American cities. Coached by Tom Nissalke, Thunder played its home games in the Winnipeg Arena. Nissalke was the American Basketball Association coach-of-the-year in 1971-72 and earned National Basketball Association (NBA) coaching honours in 1976-77.

The Thunder were the only team where the local owners, in Winnipeg headed by future mayor Sam Katz, had controlling interest of the franchise. In the case of the other nine teams operating in 1992, the league, which was bankrolled by the league founder, Youngstown, Ohio discount pharmacy chain CEO Mickey Monus, controlled 60 per cent and local owners 40 per cent. The league disbanded on July 31 once it was learned that Monus was funding his hobby through embezzlement of funds from his firm.

Thunder then played in the National Basketball League, not to be confused with the NBA, in the 1993 season. The all-Canadian pro league with Katz as president and Nissalke as commissioner had teams from the Maritimes to the Prairies. The Saskatchewan Slam beat the Thunder in a semifinal and then the Cape Breton Breakers in the final. In 1994, the Thunder were in last place in the six-team league when it disbanded on July 9.

Yesterday at 9:32 AM CST

Winnipeg Free Press file photo Former Winnipeg Cyclone coach Darryl Dawkins spent 14 seasons in the NBA.

Newest members of Manitoba’s baseball HOF

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

Newest members of Manitoba’s baseball HOF

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022

The Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame announced its 2023 induction class at media conferences in Brandon and Winnipeg on Nov. 8. Eight individuals and four teams will be inducted at the 25th induction banquet at the Access Events Centre in Morden on June 3, 2023.

The Winnipeg inductees are Jeff Bouchard, Keith Carriere and Laurie Langrell. Joining them will be Corey Billaney and Junior Brake from Boissevain, and Patti Hacault from Holland. Thomas G. Smith, a builder from Steinbach, and Todd Smith, one of the best shortstops ever to play in the Manitoba Senior Baseball League during his time with Hamiota and Virden, will be inducted posthumously.

A catcher, Bouchard played for St. Boniface provincial championships teams from bantam to senior level, winning several all-star and top player awards. In 2015 and 2021, he was named Baseball Manitoba high-performance coach of the year. He comes from one of our province’s most outstanding baseball and softball families. His grandfather, Augustine, was a top pitcher, primarily in St, Boniface from 1921 to 1950, and managed the senior Native Sons in the 1940s. His father, Cam, who coached Jeff with the senior Native Sons, and his mother Grace (Peckover), also a catcher, have been inducted into the provincial softball hall as players.

Carriere played from midget to senior with Legion 141 from 1986 to 1999, earning several all-star selections. He then joined the senior Elmwood Giants and helped them win two gold medals and one silver at the Western Canadian championships. Langrell, who grew up in Warren, led his hometown team to the city juvenile title over Columbus Club in 1957. He played junior for Warren and in 1967, with the Balmoral Orioles, he was the Winnipeg Senior League batting champion and most valuable player. Hockey fans will remember Langrell as a star forward with the 1959 Winnipeg Braves, the last Manitoba team to win the Memorial Cup.

Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022

Supplied photos

Jeff Bouchard was a high-level baseball player who has become a sought-after coach and was just named to the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame. He’s pictured here with a Bonivital Black Sox team he coached in 2015 (back left) and on the baseball card made for him when he coached the South Winnipeg U13 team in 2019.

90 years of Big Blue memories on display

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

90 years of Big Blue memories on display

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers football team that won the 1990 Grey Cup will be inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 3. Head coach Mike Riley and more than a dozen team members are expected to attend the annual induction ceremony at the Victoria Inn. In the Grey Cup game played at BC Place in Vancouver on Nov. 25, 1990, the Bombers overwhelmed the Edmonton Eskimos 50-11. The Bombers had become the CFL’s East division representative by defeating the Toronto Argonauts.

The Bombers led 10-0 after the first quarter on a field goal by Trevor Kennerd and a touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Burgess to Lee Hull. Kennerd added a convert. The only scoring in the second came on a single and field goal by Eskimo kicker Ray Macoritti. The Bombers then scored 28 points in the third to set a Grey Cup record for points in a quarter.

CFL defensive player of the year Greg Battle started the onslaught with a 34-yard interception for a touchdown. Perry Tuttle and Warren Hudson then scored on passes from Burgess. Hudson scored the fourth TD of the quarter on a two-yard run and Kennerd converted all four. In the fourth, Larry Willis scored Edmonton’s only touchdown on a pass from Tracy Ham. Macoritti converted. The Bombers added a safety when James (Wild) West tackled Ham in the end zone. A field goal by Kennerd and a touchdown pass by Danny McManus to Rick House ended the scoring. Burgess, who completed 18 of 31 passes, was named top offensive player and Battle took the defensive honours. Fullback Hudson was the top Canadian.

The 1990 team is the ninth Blue Bomber Canadian championship team to be inducted into the provincial shrine. The Bombers won the Grey Cup in 1939 and 1941 and then took four titles between 1958 and 1962, missing out only in 1960. Following a drought of more than two decades, the team was back on top in 1984 and 1988. Then known as the Winnipeg Rugby Football Club, our city’s team won its first Grey Cup in 1935.

Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022

Supplied photo

An exhibit called 90 Years of Blue and Gold will be on display in the Hall of Fame and Museum at the Sport Manitoba building until spring 2023.

Sporting halls catching up with inductions

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

Sporting halls catching up with inductions

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022

The Manitoba Rugby Hall of Fame is the latest hall-of-fame organization to play catchup with its inductions. On Oct. 15 at The Gates on Roblin, rugby finally was able to honour its 2020 induction class of three at a ceremony. The planned dinner was cancelled in 2020 and again in 2021, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The threesome were Clint Evens, who was inducted posthumously as a pioneer, and builders Scott Harland and Colleen Horton. Evans was one of the founders of the Assassins club and served as its first president in 1968 and later as team captain. A top player, Harland coached at least one team a year between 1987 and 2008. He also refereed to the international level. Horton’s resume lists contributions as a player, coach, manager, administrator and volunteer. She coached for more than 25 years from high school to the provincial level.

At the dinner, the Rugby HOF also honoured its 2022 induction class of pioneer Bob Rialland and players Erik Luinenburg and Harry Robertson. Rialland was another key organizer of the Assassins and was the first team captain in 1968. In 2017, when the club celebrated its 50th anniversary, it published a history titled 50 Years of Exccllence. In a future column, Memories of Sport will delve into the history in detail.

You have to enjoy how Luinenburg was described in the first sentence of his induction biography. It read: “Erik was a consummate back row player who lived by the saying ‘rugby is a hooligans game played by gentleman.’” The hooligan-gentleman played for several different teams including the Manitoba provincial squad and helped the Saracens and Wanderers win provincial titles.

Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022

Winnipeg Free Press file photos

Volleyball player and coach Michelle Sawatzky-Koop and the late Don Baizley, an influential hockey player agent, will both be inducted to the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame at the Victoria Inn on Nov. 3.

Nearly 50 years since WHA Jets first home game

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

Nearly 50 years since WHA Jets first home game

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022

Sunday, Oct. 15, 1972, is one of the most important dates in Manitoba hockey history. That’s the day the Winnipeg Jets played their first home game in the World Hockey Association at the Winnipeg Arena and top-level professional hockey came to our city.

Three days earlier, the Jets had opened the WHA’s first season in New York City with a 6-4 victory over the Raiders. The home opener meant 8,000-plus fans would get their first look at the team. Much to their dismay, the Alberta Oilers (as they were initially known) knocked off the Jets 5-2. Roger Cote and Val Fonteyne scored for the Oilers in the first period. Early in the second, Danny Johnson got Winnipeg its first goal at home with help from Duke Asmundson and Larry Hornung. Ron Walters put the Oilers up two again before the period ended,

In the third, Bill Hicke and Ed Joyal beat Jets goalie Ernie Wakely, while Chris Bordeleau, with an assist from Norm Beaudin, answered for the Jets. Oilers goalie Ken Brown was named the game’s first star.

Bobby Hull, who Jets owner Ben Hatskin had signed to a massive contract, was ineligible to play, but was behind the bench as coach along with Nick Mickoski, a former NHLer from Winnipeg. On Nov. 8, the NHL’s reserve clause was declared illegal, which cleared Hull and other free agents to play in the WHA.

Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022

Bobby Hull, pictured here during the Jets’ first WHA season, was ineligible to play for the first month of the schedule while the league challenged the NHL’s reserve clause.

1962 Bisons honoured at U of M homecoming

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

1962 Bisons honoured at U of M homecoming

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2022

Sept. 23 and 24 is homecoming weekend at the University of Manitoba. Events will include the 60-year reunion of the 1962 Bisons football team, which is considered to have begun the “modern era” of football at the university.

In 1948, the U of M’s intercollegiate football program was cancelled by the administration, citing financial costs. To resurrect the team, students supported the imposition of a separate fee. A coaching staff was hired and a field built where IG Field presently sits. George Depres, who coached the Canadian junior champion St. James Rods in 1961, was appointed head coach and Jeep Woolley was line coach. Former Blue Bomber Keith Pearce was the third coach. Centre Les Allen, tackle Bill McCallum and running back John Shanski also came from the Rods.

The Bisons won their first game on Sept. 29, 1962, in Saskatoon, beating the University of Saskatchewan 22-8. That was the team’s only victory of its inaugural season, but by 1969 the Bisons had their first national title and won again in 1970.

On Sept. 23, a plaque honouring quarterback Nick Laping will be presented to current Bisons coach Brian Dobie — and will eventually be hung in the team’s locker room. Laping, who died in 2009, was the Bisons quarterback from 1962 to 1966 and later had two stints as a coach. The next day the team will be honoured at a Bison alumni fundraising brunch and introduced at halftime of the game between the Bisons and the University of Calgary Dinos.

Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2022

The 1962 University of Manitoba Bisons team ushered in the ‘modern era’ of Bisons football, returning to intercollegiate play after a 14-year absence.

When the Summit Series came to town

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

When the Summit Series came to town

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 7, 2022

On Sept. 2, 1972, Canada and the Soviet Union played the first game of what has become known in hockey history as the Summit Series. Probably no hockey battle has been discussed and written about more than that eight-game series, which Canada won four games to three with one tied.

The Soviet Union shocked Team Canada in the first game at the Montreal Forum with a 7-3 victory. With a roster of 35 players, coach Harry Sinden made several lineup changes for game two in Maple Leaf Gardens two days later and Team Canada won 4-1. The 4-4 tie played at Winnipeg Arena on Sept. 6 is perhaps the game least remembered by Canadian and Russian hockey fans.

More than other Canadians, Winnipeg hockey fans knew the Russians deserved to be viewed with respect. From 1965 to 1969, this city was home to Canada’s national team, a group of talented amateurs who had played the Soviet Union at the Arena and in international competitions such as the annual IIHF world championship. In 1969, the Soviets won their seventh straight world championship, while he Nats won bronze from 1966 to ’68 and finished fourth in 1969.

One of the spectators in the overflow crowd of 11,000 at the Arena was Bobby Hull, the Chicago Black Hawks (as they were then known) superstar who had recently signed a million-dollar contract to join the Winnipeg Jets of the new World Hockey Association. Because of an agreement between Hockey Canada and the NHL, Hull and other players who had joined WHA teams were ruled ineligible to play for Team Canada. Hull’s former teammate, Phil Esposito, suggested the Canadian squad should be called Team NHL.

Wednesday, Sep. 7, 2022

From left, Bobby Clarke, Yvan Cournoyer, Ken Dryden and Brad Park listen as Serge Savard shares stories from the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the U.S.S.R. during the ’72 Summit Series Tour at the Centennial Concert Hall in 2016. Game three of that series was played at the old Winnipeg Arena on Sept. 6, 1972.

Manitoba’s hall of fame swimmers, divers

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Preview

Manitoba’s hall of fame swimmers, divers

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022

While Manitobans are enjoying the heat of summer, let’s jump into the pool and remember athletes, who made an impact on water sports provincially and beyond.

When the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame inducted its first group in 1980, seven athletes, two builders and one team made up the initial class. As might be expected, athletes from the most prominent sports — hockey (Bill Mosienko), football (Fritzie Hanson), curling (Ken Watson), and athletics (Jimmy Ball and Eric Coy) were selected. It was also no surprise that Cec Browne, a multi-sport athlete who was named our province’s athlete of the century (1870-1970) in Manitoba’s centennial year, was similarly honoured.

What must have been a surprise came when the ‘old boys’ selection committee included a female diver, Judy Moss, as the seventh athlete. Moss began her diving career at the family cottage at the Lake of the Woods. She later took instruction at the Winnipeg Winter Club and in 1932 won both the Winter Club and the provincial springboard championships. Two years later, she won the Canadian springboard title.

In 1934, Moss didn’t qualify for the Canadian British Empire Games team at the trials held in Hamilton. Members of the Winter Club raised the $300 necessary to include her on the team. In London, U.K., the 18-year-old defeated divers from Canada and 10 other nations to win gold in the three-metre springboard competition.

Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022

Winnipegger was youngest to swim English Channel

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

Winnipegger was youngest to swim English Channel

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Wednesday, Jul. 27, 2022

On July 23, 1963, a St. James high school student became the youngest person to successfully swim the English Channel. Claudia McPherson completed the swim from France to England in 17 hours and 17 minutes according to the official Channel records. The Woodhaven teenager was aged 17 and four months and a Grade 11 student at Silver Heights Collegiate.

The previous record was held by England’s Margaret White, who was four months older when she completed the crossing in 1961. Toronto swimmer Marilyn Bell, who swam the Channel in 1955, was 17 and 10 months when she made it. Bell also bested Lake Ontario in 1954 and swam across the Juan de Fuca Strait in 1956.

McPherson went into the water at Calais, France at 2:17 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time. She then spent the more than 17 hours battling the Channel before she crawled out of the water at Sandgate near Folkestone. The crossing was estimated as 21 miles “as the seagull flies.” Her coach, George Alliston from Winnipeg, figured that she actually swam about 40 miles due to the tides, making about 10,000 strokes.

During the swim, McPherson was fed cups of soup, chicken broth or beef, every hour by Alliston, who handed the sustenance to her on a long stick. With the white cliffs of Dover in sight and about three miles to go, she switched from swimming on the windward side of her pilot boat to the leeward side, which at that point proved to be more effective against the tides. A crew from the Folkestone Rowing Club came out to support her and spent the final 30 minutes of the ordeal shouting encouragement to the teenager.

Wednesday, Jul. 27, 2022

McPherson was welcomed home by dignitaries including the Lieutenant-Governor and a parade through St. James celebrating her tremendous achievement.

CUAC Blues were the ‘best of the best’

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Preview

CUAC Blues were the ‘best of the best’

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2022

To complete the Memories of Sport series about Ukrainian sport in our province, more teams of note will be remembered. Several represented Ukrainian organizations while the lineups of others had strong Ukrainian representation.

Teams from the Institute Prosvita Athletic Club (IPAC), which was established in 1916 and sponsored by the Canadian Ukrainian Institute Prosvita of Winnipeg, competed in several sports. In 1952, the IPAC Rovers, coached by Frank Moski and captained by Sam Dolhun, had an undefeated season and won the Canadian junior soccer championship. The lineup included Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame basketball inductee Fred Ingaldson and Gordie Chem, who also played for the 1954 and 1955 Manitoba junior lacrosse teams in the HOF. On the basketball court, IPAC reached the Canadian senior final in 1963-64.

In 1951-52, the Sts. Peter and Paul Church in St. Boniface entered the Catholic Inter-Parish Hockey League with a team made up primarily of Ukrainians. It went on to win three straight championships from 1953-54 to 1955-56. In the latter final, the St. Boniface team beat another Ukrainian team from the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At various times the champions were coached by playing coaches Jim Mosienko and Pete Petrow, while John Kozoriz was the manager.

In his book Their Sporting Legacy, about the athletic exploits of Canadians of Ukrainian descent, K. W. Sokolyk writes about a little-known University of Manitoba team with an interesting accomplishment. Headed by Nestor Budyk and Myrslav Zatwarnicky, the Ukrainian Students’ Club formed a team called Kozaks to play in the intramural hockey league in the 1974-75 season. Coached by Rev. Michael Wiwchar and managed by Peter Melnycky, the team won the championship in its first season. In February 1976, the Kozaks travelled to Newark, N.J. for a two-game series with the Chornomorska Sitch all-star team. Sokolyk states that this was the first time a Ukrainian hockey team from Canada played a Ukrainian team from the U.S. The Manitobans won both games. 5-2 and 9-0.

Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2022

The women’s softball teams of the Canadian Ukrainian Athletic Club won the Greater Winnipeg Senior A women’s titles every year from 1957 to 1973. The 1965 championship team is pictured here.

Hockey, football greats inducted into halls of fame

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Preview

Hockey, football greats inducted into halls of fame

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 29, 2022

The Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame has announced its induction class for 2022. The group includes six players, one builder, one official, one member from the media, and two teams. In addition, one veteran player from early in the 20th century will be honoured. The induction dinner will be held at the CanadInns Polo Park on Oct. 8.

The six players all got their start in Winnipeg at local outdoor rinks. Goalie Sami Jo Small first played at Norberry Community Centre in St. Vital when she was five. In her autobiography, Small mentioned that she played minor hockey against fellow inductee Jason Botterill, who grew up Fort Garry and played for the AAA Mavericks. At age seven, Brad Chartrand started to play at Heritage Victoria in St. James-Assiniboia. Mark Mackay, who was born in Brandon, moved to Winnipeg at age five and began playing at age 10 for the St. Boniface Saints AAA atoms.

The four later played university hockey en route to their HOF careers. Small played on the men’s team at prestigious Stanford in California, where she had a track and field scholarship. Botterill helped the University of Michigan win the NCAA championship in 1996. Chartrand attended the Ivy League university Cornell and captained the team in his junior and senior years. Mackay played two seasons for the U of M Bisons.

Dave Hrechkosy got his start at Northwood CC in the North End before playing junior for the West Kildonan North Stars of the MJHL and then the Jets in the Western League. Defenceman Barry Legge played playground hockey at the Crestview CC before joining the St. James Canadians of the MJHL at age 15. Like Hrechkosy, he quickly moved up to the junior Jets.

Wednesday, Jun. 29, 2022

Goalie Sami Jo Small, who first played at Norberry Community Centre in St. Vital, will be inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame with the class of 2022.

Tragedy struck after Black Hawks first cup win

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

Tragedy struck after Black Hawks first cup win

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 15, 2022

After the Chicago Black Hawks won their first Stanley Cup in the spring of 1934, tragedy struck the team not once, but twice, that summer. In both cases, it happened in Winnipeg.

In April, Chicago beat the Detroit Red Wings three games to one in the National Hockey League final. The 1-0 championship series victory came in the second period of overtime of game four on a goal by Harold (Mush) Marsh.

The final had a distinct Winnipeg flavour with two local goalies in the net. Chicago captain Charlie Gardiner gave up just two goals in his club’s three victories. Wilf Cude backstopped the Red Wings to their only win. In the final game, Marsh’s goal was the only shot he let in; he stopped 52 others. Gardiner had 40 saves in his shutout. Gardiner and Cude were boyhood friends who attended Albert School in the inner city. Being slightly older, Gardiner had been a mentor to Cude both on and off the ice.

The Black Hawks roster included Winnipeg products Art Coulter and Bill Kendall, St. Boniface’s Lolo Couture, and Montreal-born Johnny Sheppard, who learned his hockey in Selkirk. Along with the two goalies, they all have been inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, Jun. 15, 2022

Charlie Gardiner played seven seasons in the NHL with the Chicago Black Hawks and was a first-team all star three times, winning two Vezina trophies and a Stanley Cup. He was also a member of Winnipeg’s first professional hockey team, the Winnipeg Maroons of the American Hockey Association.

The Blue Jays played here 35 years ago

Kent Morgan 3 minute read Preview

The Blue Jays played here 35 years ago

Kent Morgan 3 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 1, 2022

The Toronto Blue Jays visited Winnipeg on May 26, 1987 to play an exhibition game against the National Baseball Institute Blues, a team of Canadian amateurs based in Vancouver. The game attracted a Winnipeg-record baseball crowd of 18,366. In 1964, more than 13,000 had watched the Minnesota Twins play the Northern League All-Stars.

The previous day, the Blue Jays had completed a 10-game west coast road trip with a 6-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners. The team’s record at the time was 25-17, good for second place in the American League East Division, behind the New York Yankees.

In a game that featured six home runs, the Jays won 5-2. It was played on an improvised diamond in the north end of Winnipeg Stadium and the short left field porch of 250 feet proved to be an attractive target for the Jays young slugger Cecil Fielder. He demonstrated the power that led to 319 major league home runs by putting two into the stands.

Usually an infielder or designated hitter, Fielder played left field and enjoyed waving to the fans in the bleachers. Right fielder Rick Leach and designated hitter Rance Mulliniks also homered for Toronto. Shortstop John Leonard and right fielder Yves Tessier hit home runs for the Blues. Gary Lavelle was the winning pitcher and Denis Boucher the loser. Boucher later made the majors with the Jays in 1991.

Wednesday, Jun. 1, 2022

Winnipeg Free Press archives
Lloyd Moseby and the Toronto Blue Jays were the talk of Winnipeg’s baseball community when they played an exhibition game against the National Baseball Institute Blues at the old Winnipeg Stadium on May 26, 1987.

Halls of fame catch up on induction ceremonies

Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

Halls of fame catch up on induction ceremonies

Kent Morgan 4 minute read Wednesday, May. 18, 2022

The provincial sport halls of fame are playing catch-up this spring by inducting their 2020 induction classes. The planned celebration ceremonies for the honoured members had to be cancelled, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Manitoba Softball hall held its ceremony in Brandon on May 7. The individual inductees were athletes Rick DeGagne, Rick Denney, John Kalinowski and Greg Magwood, umpire Charlie Kurtz, and Jim Lehman in the all-around category. The 2000-2005 Sportstraders senior men’s slo-pitch teams and the 1976-80 Winnipeg Colonels, who played in the Western Major Fastball League (WMFL), joined them in the hall.

Twelve Colonels players attended the event. Reid Birss and Larry Dewis played all five seasons, Ron Westcott four, and Peter Klassen and Lenny Wieler three. Ron Gustafson came from Arizona, Dave Lafrance from Alberta and Terry Reidle from Saskatchewan. Mike Chubey, Lyle Gallant, Ralph Nespor and Ron Toews were the other players. President Harry Bueckert and vice-present Art Penner were also there. Beausejour product and four-year Colonel Ken Magura, who resided in Florida, died on April 29.

The two inducted teams had a connection, as Westcott, Toews and the late Ron Taylor played for both. Sportstraders’ Buzz Lamond, Lloyd Penner, and Dave Shyiak were members, along with Taylor and Toews, of the 1973 Colonels WMFL championship team that was inducted into the HOF in 2007.

Wednesday, May. 18, 2022

Kelly Sage holds a Russ Ford baseball card and a Corey Koskie Topps baseball card contract. Sage will be at the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Morden on June 4 to represent his brother, Doug, the manager of minor baseball teams from Cardale, Man., that will be enshrined in the hall that day.

Manitoba’s rich junior hockey legacy

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Preview

Manitoba’s rich junior hockey legacy

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Wednesday, May. 4, 2022

When you examine Manitoba’s amateur hockey history, it becomes clear that for many years our province produced strong junior hockey teams. The list includes 12 teams that won the Memorial Cup, emblematic of the Canadian junior hockey championship. The Winnipeg Falcons won the first one in 1921 and the Winnipeg Braves won our last Memorial Cup in 1959. Will the Winnipeg Ice end the long Memorial Cup drought this season?

After major junior hockey became the highest level in the country with leagues in Western Canada, Ontario and Quebec, a decision was made by the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) that teams from the three leagues would compete for the Memorial Cup. That left teams from long-established leagues as such as the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) out in the cold, so to speak. In December 1970, the Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association, now Hockey Manitoba, donated a new trophy called the Manitoba Centennial Cup to the CAHA. Teams representing leagues rated as junior A, a step below major junior, would compete for the cup.

In the first half of the 1970s, teams representing the MJHL won back-to-back Centennial Cups. The first happened on May 14, 1973 at the Winnipeg Arena, when the Portage Terriers beat the Pembroke Lumber Kings 4-2 in game five of the best-of-seven Canadian final. Steinbach product Randy Penner scored three times and Al Hilton added a single for the champions. Frank Leswick had two helpers. The Terriers were coached by Muzz MacPherson.

En route to the Canadian final, Portage had won the MJHL title in four straight games over the St. James Canadians and then beat the Humboldt Broncos of the SJHL and the Penticton Broncos from B.C. Against Pembroke, Portage won the first three games 5-0, 4-2 and 3-0 before dropping game four 6-4.

Wednesday, May. 4, 2022

The 1973-74 Selkirk Steelers won the Centennial Cup, emblematic of the national Junior A championship. They also won the Abbott Cup as Western Canadian champions, the Manitoba-Saskatchewan interprovincial championship and the Turnbull Cup as MJHL champions.

Remembering more great Ukrainian-Canadian athletes

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

Remembering more great Ukrainian-Canadian athletes

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2022

In the two previous columns about Ukrainian sports people in Manitoba, more than 50 Manitoba athletes and builders have been recognized. The majority have been inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and/or individual sports shrines in our province. Several were honoured as the Manitoba Ukrainian Sportsman of the Year.

Many readers have recommended others who deserve to be remembered.

Former Sport Manitoba CEO Jeff Hnatiuk, soccer’s Peter J. Manastyrsky, and hockey’s Murray Balagus, Julian Klymkiw and Don Kuryk have also been named Ukrainian Sportsman of the Year by the St. Nicholas Men’s Club. The current president of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, Kuryk also played football for the Canadian senior football champion St. Vital Bulldogs.

This columnist wants to remember George Konik, his high school friend from the north. Born in Flin Flon, Konik played for the 1957 Memorial Cup champion Bombers and was an all-star catcher and batting champion in the Polar Baseball League. The defenceman later was an All-America hockey player at Denver University and served as captain of the U.S. team at the 1972 world championship.

Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2022

Hockey’s Murray Balagus also won sportsman of the year honours for his contribution to the game.

Manitoba’s best Ukrainian athletes

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Preview

Manitoba’s best Ukrainian athletes

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2022

Ukrainian athletes, builders and volunteers have made a major impact on the Manitoba sports scene for many decades. If you have played a sport in our province, you′ve had many teammates and opponents with Ukrainian roots. The surname of the centre on my first line in peewee hockey in The Pas was Melnick.

In previous columns, Memories of Sport has covered the history of the Canadian Ukrainian Athletic Club (CUAC) in Winnipeg’s North End, which produced outstanding teams in baseball and hockey and the CUAC Blues women’s softball team that dominated in the mid-1950s and 1960s. For more than 50 years, the St. Nicholas Men’s Club held a spring dinner at the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church where the Ukrainian Sportsman of the Year was honoured. Now seems to be the right time to remember some of the best of Manitoba’s Ukrainian athletes.

When the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 1980, hockey star Bill Mosienko was one of the nine individuals honoured. Terry Sawchuk, who was named Manitoba Professional Athlete of the Century in the year 2000, was inducted in 1982. In reviewing the list of athletes and builders honoured by the HOF in its 40-plus years, you find several dozen with Ukrainian heritage. They came from the sports of baseball, basketball, bowling, curling, football, golf, hockey, softball, track, volleyball, and weightlifting.

The St. Nicholas Men’s Club recognized a number of Sports HOF inductees as its Sportsman of the Year. Hockey player and golfer Nick Mickoski was the first in 1967. Bill Juzda, Dale Hawerchuk, James Patrick and Mosienko were other hockey players selected. Among the other individual HOF inductees are baseball’s Joe Wiwchar, Ken Galanchuk, Fred Ingaldson and Vic Pruden from basketball, curler Kerry Burtnyk, football players Steve Patrick and Cornell Piper, golfers Glen Hnatiuk and Ted Homeniuk, volleyball’s Mike Burchuk and Dale Iwanoczko, and all-around builder Buck Matiowski. Team members include Orest Meleschuk, the skip of the 1972 world champion men’s curling team, and John Shaley, who led the CUAC Blues to the first Canadian women’s softball championship in 1965.

Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2022

Billy Mosienko still holds the record for the fastest hat-trick scored by an NHL player.

Bombers ruled the field and the court

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

Bombers ruled the field and the court

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2022

Once Bud Grant took over as head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1957, the football club became a dominant force in the Canadian Football League. After losing the Canadian final to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Grant’s first season, the Blue and Gold won the Grey Cup four times in the next five years. The run was interrupted in 1960 when the Edmonton Eskimos upset the Bombers in the Western final. The score was 4-2 for Edmonton and that’s not a typo.

Some of the team′s American imports chose to remain in Winnipeg after the football season and find work to supplement their football incomes. In Canada, multi-sport athletes played baseball in the summer, football in the fall and hockey in the winter. In the States, the main winter sport was basketball. At the same time as the Bombers were successful on the football field, a Blue Bombers basketball team became a force on the local courts.

A team called Rae and Jerry’s Bombers entered the Greater Winnipeg Senior A League in the 1957-58 season. With Grant heading the lineup, the team had instant credibility. The Bombers coach had played college basketball for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Then, during the 1949-50 and 1950-51 seasons, the 6-foot-3 forward played 96 games for the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBA. The Lakers, who relocated to Los Angeles after the 1959-60 season, won the NBA championship in Grant’s first season. After he ended his pro basketball career, Grant spent two seasons in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles before coming north to join the Bombers.

In the playoffs, the basketball Bombers lost to the league champion Kodiaks in the semi-final. During that season, Buddy Tinsley, George Druxman, Norm Rauhaus, Gerry James, Ron Latourelle, Nick Miller, Gord Rowland, and Barry Rosebourgh all saw action. Glenn McWhinney was the playing coach. The following season, with imports Frank Rigney and Ernie Pitts strengthening the team, Rae and Jerry’s reached the league final, but lost to Kodiaks. The champions picked up Grant, Rigney and Miller for the Western final, but the trio were ruled ineligible due to their professional football status. Grant suggested that the $10 he paid to register nationally should be refunded.

Wednesday, Mar. 9, 2022

Former Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach Bud Grant diagrams a play for quarterback Kenny Ploen. Both men played for the Bombers’ basketball team in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

60th MCA bonspiel featured 454 teams

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Preview

60th MCA bonspiel featured 454 teams

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Monday, Feb. 21, 2022

In the winter of 1947-48, Winnipeg truly was the curling capital of the world. The Manitoba Curling Association marked a milestone in its history by holding its 60th annual bonspiel.

One hundred and eighty-two rinks from Greater Winnipeg area clubs and 272 from outside the City entered what was titled the Diamond Jubilee bonspiel. The total of 454 rinks was believed to be a world record. Sixty years before, in 1888, the first bonspiel was held, featuring 62  rinks.

Diamond jubilee bonspiel play began on Feb. 10, 1948, on 89 sheets of ice in the Winnipeg region and wound up on Feb. 19. A record total of 249 curling clubs were affiliated members of the MCA that season.

There was more than just bonspiel action that month, too. On Feb. 16, high school curlers from across the country hit the ice at the Amphitheatre rink in the Dominion championship. In addition to the host province, provincial champions came from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Quebec plus one team representing Western Ontario. They competed for the Victor Sifton Trophy, put up for play by the Winnipeg Free Press. On Feb. 17, the Manitoba Ladies Curling Association opened its 24th annual bonspiel with a record entry of 127 rinks.

Monday, Feb. 21, 2022

Canadian Curling Association
Ken Watson, the 1936 and 1942 Canadian men’s curling champion, skipped one of the record 454 rinks in the 60th MCA bonspiel in 1948, winning a minor event.

When the Winnipegs won Olympic hockey gold

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

When the Winnipegs won Olympic hockey gold

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Monday, Feb. 7, 2022

Canada won ice hockey gold at the first four Winter Olympic Games. Teams from Winnipeg won two titles, with the Falcons winning in 1920 and a team just called Winnipeg Hockey Club, or the Winnipegs, in 1932.

The triumph of the Falcons has been well-documented, most recently in two new books. Golden Boys, by Paul Keery with illustrations by Michael Wyatt is aimed at young readers. A Confluence of Destinies, by Winnipeg author David Grebstad was published on Jan. 19.

A lengthy article of the history of the Falcons club was featured in the 2020-21 Hockey Hall of Fame official induction program, Legends, which was published last November when the 2020 HOF class was honoured with a delayed ceremony in Toronto. The writer was this columnist.

With the 2022 Olympics underway in Beijing, now seems to be the right time to remember the Winnipegs’ victory that took place 90 winters ago. The tournament was played in Lake Placid, N.Y. from Feb. 4 to 13. The team from Winnipeg had earned the right to represent Canada by winning the 1931 Allan Cup, emblematic of the Canadian senior championship. The Winnipegs beat the Eastern champion Hamilton Tigers in two games straight.

Monday, Feb. 7, 2022

Headliner, Herald, Lance, Metro,
The Winnipegs hockey team, Canadian senior hockey champions in 1931, represented the country at the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placed, N.Y., winning the gold medal.

Final farewell to sports people we lost in 2021

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Preview

Final farewell to sports people we lost in 2021

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Monday, Jan. 24, 2022

Memories of Sport continues to remember the sports people we lost in 2021.

The first column of 2022 included members of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. The past year’s list is very long, but an effort has been made to recognize as many as possible.

Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame member Barry Fry skipped his Deer Lodge team to the Canadian men’s championship in 1979 after winning the Canadian mixed in 1973 with a team from the Maple Leaf. HOF member Hal Tanasichuk skipped the Canadian mixed champions from the Civic Cal in 1977.

Frank Gudz won the Canadian masters in 2005. Other provincial champions curling lost included Ross Murdock and Doug Strange, men; Ken Beatty, Jim Harris and Eldon McLean, senior; Jim Duncan and Kip Steeden, masters; and Arlene Bartley, mixed. The honorary life members who died were Earl (The Pearl) Stephenson, who won a Canadian stick curling championship in 2012, Fred Sutton and Jack Callum.

Monday, Jan. 24, 2022

File photo
Barry Fry, pictured here in 2000, won the Brier in 1979. He died in May 2021.

Remembering those we lost in 2021…

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

Remembering those we lost in 2021…

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Monday, Jan. 10, 2022

As we begin a new year that hopefully will be better than the past two, it’s time to remember those sports people whom we lost during 2021.

Three honoured members of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (MSHOF) died this past year. Jim Ursel’s curling success from high school to the senior level — which included skipping teams to a Canadian men’s championship and two national senior titles — earned him induction in 1997. A 2009 inductee, Audrey (Haine) Daniels was just 17 when she left Winnipeg to pitch in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Dave Drybrough was inducted as an athlete/builder in 2009 for his success on the track and his contributions to athletics.

More than a dozen members of teams inducted into the MSHOF also passed. From hockey, George Robertson starred for the 1946 Canadian junior champion Winnipeg Monarchs. Harvey Fleming and Ron Hutchinson were linemates on the 1957 Memorial Cup champion Flin Flon Bombers, and Scotty Wales was a member of the 1959 Cup winning Winnipeg Braves.

Football lost Mort Corrin of the 1954 intermediate Winnipeg Rams, Bill Kehrer of the 1955 junior Rods, and Garth Day of the 1956 Rods. All three teams won Canadian titles. Ted Mikliechuk played for the 1958 and 1961 Canadian champion Blue Bombers and Len Amey was the equipment manager of the 1984 and 1988 Grey Cup-winning Bombers.

Monday, Jan. 10, 2022

Supplied photo
Len Amey (centre) was equipment manager of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Grey Cup championship teams in 1984 and 1988. He's pictured here with former Bombers player and president Lyle Bauer (left) and former player James West.

Walsh won Arena’s first curling championship

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

Walsh won Arena’s first curling championship

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021

In this final column for 2021, Memories of Sport continues the story of the first season that the Winnipeg Arena was in operation.

Curling took over the ice in February 1956, when six sheets were used for play in the second week of the 68th annual Manitoba Curling Association bonspiel. Event playoffs were scheduled there as well as the British Consols competition for the right to represent the province in the Canadian men’s championship.

Eight teams had qualified for the Consols by winning Winnipeg zones and another 24 were rural zone representatives. Teams, or rinks as they were known in those days, also made it by reaching the 16s of the two major bonspiel events, Henry Birks and Sir John C. Eaton, making the final count 60. The Granite club led with nine foursomes. The event was a straight knockout, so a team went home after one loss.

The four teams that reached the semi-finals were 1952 Canadian champion Billy Walsh from the Fort Rouge club, the Granite’s Howie Wood Jr., Bruce Hudson of the Strathcona, and Archie Rea from Dauphin. Wood and Hudson were sons of former Canadian champions, Howard Wood and Gordon Hudson. Howie beat Bruce in one semi-final and Walsh won the other.

Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021

File image
On Feb. 16, 1956, the Winnipeg Free Press carried news of the Billy Walsh rink’s victory at the first British Consols provincial curling championship held at the Winnipeg Arena, which was then brand new.

Sports books that will go nicely under the tree

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

Sports books that will go nicely under the tree

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Monday, Dec. 13, 2021

Mid-December means it’s time for the annual column about Manitoba sports books that might make a perfect gift for the sports fan this holiday season.

At the top of the list is a very timely book titled A History of Excellence — The Untold Stories of Manitoba Indigenous Sport (Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Council). Edited by Dr. Taylor McKee and Mel Whitesell, the writers are Carriera Lamoureux, Scott Taylor and Janice Forsyth. The book covers athletes, coaches, builders and teams from the late 1890s to today, along with sections on sport and residential schools, and the Tom Longboat Awards.

In addition to stories about well-known athletes such as Angela Chalmers, Reggie Leach, Theoren Fleury, and Jocelyne Larocque, readers will learn about many others, including some they wouldn’t have known had Indigenous roots. The book is an important addition to our provincial sports library.

The latest book from local author Ty Dilello, who churns out at minimum one hockey book each year, is titled Mosienko: The Man Who Caught Lightning in a Bottle (Great Plains). The life of Winnipeg’s Bill Mosienko, from outdoor rinks in the North End to the NHL with the Chicago Black Hawks and back to Winnipeg, where he helped the Winnipeg Warriors win the 1955-56 professional Western Hockey League championship is covered in great detail. His post-hockey life included running a bowling facility on Main Street.   

Monday, Dec. 13, 2021

Supplied image
A History of Excellence, published by the Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Research Council, offers a broad overview of Indigenous sports activity in Manitoba from the 1890s to the present day.