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

Manitoba’s hall of fame swimmers, divers

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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

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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’

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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…

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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

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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.

The first days of Winnipeg’s ‘old barn’

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The first days of Winnipeg’s ‘old barn’

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021

In two December columns, Memories of Sport will look back at highlights from the first year of the old Winnipeg Arena. The facility, which cost $2 million to build, was located in the City’s West End, across from the old Winnipeg Stadium, which had opened in 1953.

With a rink that seated more than 9,000 that was considered one of the best in Canada, Winnipeg was a prime candidate for admission into the professional Western Hockey League (which was then one of the best professional leagues that wasn’t the NHL).

Backed by the Perrin family of Winnipeg, a team called Warriors became a member of the league for the 1955-56 season. Winnipeg played in the Prairie Division with teams from Saskatoon, Calgary and Edmonton and a new franchise in Regina. Partway through the season, the Regina team was moved to Brandon. The Coast Division consisted of three B.C. teams in Vancouver, Victoria and New Westminster, along with a team in Seattle.

While the Warriors were not a farm team of an NHL franchise, an agreement was reached with both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens to supply some players.

Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021

Winnipeg Free Press photo archiv
The Winnipeg Arena, pictured here under construction in 1955, was home to the Winnipeg Warriors of the old Western Hockey League.

WHSFL has produced nearly 100 pros

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WHSFL has produced nearly 100 pros

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Monday, Nov. 15, 2021

The history of the Winnipeg High School Football League history can be traced back to 1933. Daniel McIntyre, Gordon Bell, Kelvin and St. John’s, all schools within the boundaries of the city at that time, were the original four teams. Kelvin won the first championship.

This season, 42 teams from the various school divisions across the city. as well as teams from high schools in rural Manitoba and Dryden, Fort Frances and Kenora in Ontario, competed in seven different divisions.

The WHSFL has compiled a list of close to 100 former players who went on to play in the Canadian Football League. Of the original four schools, Daniel Mac and Kelvin each produced 14 future pros, St. John’s nine, and Gordon Bell eight. The Daniel Mac alumni include Lorne (Boom Boom) Benson and Harry Langford, who were inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame primarily for their football exploits, and Danny Summers, a pro hockey player who went into the provincial shrine in the multi-sport category.

The Kelvin list is headed by ex-Blue Bomber and Toronto Maple Leaf Gerry James (Sports HOF 1982) and Paul Robson, the former Bomber general manager who will enter the provincial HOF next April in recognition to his contributions to sport in various capacities. Kelvin product Bud Irving is believed to be the oldest living Blue Bomber.

Monday, Nov. 15, 2021

Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free
Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris, a graduate of Oak Park High School, is one of the nearly 100 Winnipeg High School Football League players who have gone on to play in the CFL

Sports - Andrew Harris

Andrew Harris smiles as he leaves IG Field after signing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for one year extension Friday.

Jan 15,. 2021

Best in west shot it out at McCain SuperSpiel

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

Best in west shot it out at McCain SuperSpiel

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Monday, Nov. 1, 2021

From 1989 to 2004, the best male curling teams in Western Canada hoped to be in Portage la Prairie on the last weekend in October.

An invitation to the McCain SuperSpiel West in Portage guaranteed a shot at some of the biggest prize money available during that period.

An even bigger plum was the spot in the televised McCain TSN Skins Game that went to the winner.

McCain Foods sponsored a curling competition in New Brunswick for teams from Eastern Canada called the McCain SuperSpiel. The company felt it would be an excellent idea to mount the same type of event in the home of its Western potato processing plant, so the SuperSpiel West was born.

Monday, Nov. 1, 2021

Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press photo archives
Kevin Martin (left) and Manitoba’s Kerry Burtnyk, pictured here at the Brier in 2008, are both past winners of the McCain SuperSpiel West, which was held on the last weekend of October in Portage la Prairie, Man., from 1989 to 2004.

Women instrumental to building sport in Manitoba

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

Women instrumental to building sport in Manitoba

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Monday, Oct. 18, 2021

With October being Women’s History Month in Canada, Memories of Sport continues the celebrate women builders who have made contributions to sport in our province and beyond. More than 20 individual sports halls of fame and honour societies have recognized their best , so not all will get their due here.

Many builders were also athletes and were honoured as athlete/builders or in an all-around category.

In 2009, coach Jill Mathez was the first woman inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame (a multi-sport athlete who was good at everything she played, Mathez is also in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and the Softball Hall of Fame).

Dianne Woods, who spent 16 years as executive director of Hockey Winnipeg, joined Mathez in 2015. Jean Mayne, who was a minor softball builder, became the first female president of Softball Manitoba in 1984. She entered the softball shrine with its second group in 2003. Builders from the 1930s, Elizabeth McKenzie Haid and Mary Phillips went into the Manitoba Basketball HOF in 1984. Isabel (Duncan) Thomson has been recognized for her volunteer work by both the provincial basketball and softball halls.

Monday, Oct. 18, 2021

Photo by Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg F
In 2009, Jill Mathez was the first woman named to the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, for her effort and success as a hockey coach. A multi-sport athlete who excelled at hockey, softball and basketball, Mathez is also in Manitoba’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Softball Hall of Fame.

Honouring strong sportswomen

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Preview

Honouring strong sportswomen

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Monday, Oct. 4, 2021

Women’s History Month is celebrated annually throughout October in Canada. The idea is to give Canadians the opportunity to learn about notable women who made contributions in many different fields.

Readers don’t need to be reminded about the success of prominent women athletes such as Cindy Klassen, Clara Hughes, Jennifer Botterill, Jennifer Jones, and Tanya Dubnicoff on the international stage. The focus of this month’s two Memories of Sport columns will be on women who were builders of sport as coaches, managers, officials, administrators, and volunteers. Twenty-two have been inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in the builder category, and what jumps out when you read their biographies is that almost all served in a variety of roles.

Joan Whalley, who served as president of both the Manitoba and Canadian ladies curling associations, was the first female builder to be inducted when she went in with the second class in 1981. It wasn’t until 1987 that she was joined by artistic gymnastics coach and international judge Elfriede Goermann. Zlatica Stauder, considered the founder of rhythmic gymnastics in Manitoba, became the third female builder in the Hall when she entered in 1988. In later years artistic gymnastics judge Kathy Stoesz and coaches Barbara Heaps and Lorie Henderson were honoured.

Figure skating had three early inductees in Dodie Wardle from Flin Flon in 1991, Pat Ball in 1994, and Valerie Davies from Brandon in 1995. Gail Adamson served as president of Synchro Canada and Marjorie Simpson was president of Synchro Swimming Manitoba and an international judge.

Monday, Oct. 4, 2021

Bison Sports
Coleen Dufresne played basketball for Canada at the 1976 Olympics, won three national championships as coach of the University of Manitoba Bisons women’s team and later served as athletic director at the U of M for 16 years.

More memorable St. James sports figures

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Preview

More memorable St. James sports figures

T. Kent Morgan 3 minute read Monday, Sep. 20, 2021

With St. James 100 years old in 2021, Memories of Sport once again wants to recognize individuals and teams from St. James-Assiniboia who made their mark on Manitoba sport and beyond.

Many have been honoured by the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame or their specific sport shrine. In earlier columns, several of the best were recognized along with championship curlers from the area.Beginning with builders of sport, Peggy Colonello (MSHOF1994), who started golfing at the long-gone Bourkevale course, served as president of both the Manitoba and Canadian Ladies Golf Associations.

Herb Embuldeniya, an international boxing judge and administrator, was inducted in 1999. His wife Nieva, who judged at the 2012 Olympics in London, joined him in the HOF in 2018. Gordie Kerr (2007), a top hockey official, headed the growth of registered officials during his tenure as referee-in-chief of the Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association.

Tom Miller (HHOF2013) was the driving force behind the St. James Canucks of the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League. A 2010 Curling HOF inductee, Rick Mutton was the youngest president of the Manitoba Curling Association. Al Mayer, a 2003 Softball HOF inductee, who served as president of the Optimist Club of Assiniboia and the Winnipeg Men’s Industrial Fastball League, coached and managed for 30-plus years including with the junior Colonels and Optimists and the St. James Teachers. Jane Seal was the founding president of the Cavalier Fencing Club, now in its 47th season.

Monday, Sep. 20, 2021

Manitoba Golf Hall of Fame
The late Peggy Colonello, who started golfing at the old Bourkevale course in St. James, served as president of the Manitoba Ladies Golf Association from 1974 to 1976 and the Canadian Ladies Golf Association in 1982-83.

Submitted from:

Jared Ladobruk

Executive Director

Golf Manitoba

Submitted to the Winnipeg Free Press

A look back at local water-skiing legends

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Preview

A look back at local water-skiing legends

T. Kent Morgan 4 minute read Wednesday, Sep. 15, 2021

Regular reader Terry Aseltine suggested a column on water-skiing, a sport that never had been covered in Memories of Sport.

Water-skiing in North America can be traced back to Lake Pepin in Minnesota in 1922. According to a history of the sport in our province produced by Water Ski Manitoba, a version of the sport was enjoyed in the Lac du Bonnet area later in the decade.

Water-skiing was mentioned on the society page of the Winnipeg Free Press in 1932. A photo of a water-skier had the cutline: “Introducing Water Skiing; a new aquatic sport; Miss Jane Carruthers, a prominent member of the younger set shown riding behind a fast moving motor boat.”

In 1957, water-skiing was described as “Manitoba’s Fastest Growing Sport” in a full-page Free Press story.

Wednesday, Sep. 15, 2021

John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press
Water-skiing in Manitoba has a long history and many local skiers, such as Cole Grant (pictured above in 2007) have gone to win medals at national and international competitions.