CUAC Blues were the ‘best of the best’
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This article was published 12/07/2022 (332 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
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.
The Canadian Ukrainian Athletic Club (CUAC), which produced outstanding teams in several sports was highlighted in previous columns. But the best of the best of the CUAC teams was the Blues senior women’s softball team that won 17 consecutive provincial titles and the first Canadian women’s championship in 1965. The brains behind the team, John and Stan Shaley, were inducted into the Softball Canada Hall of Fame in 1991. It is believed they were the first Canadians of Ukrainian descent inducted in a sport HOF for their involvement with a Ukrainian community sports club.
Memories of Sport also has recognized other teams from Winnipeg’s North End. In men’s softball, the Ukrainian Canadian Veterans Legion Branch 141 senior team won the 1952 Western Canada championship. The Stellars, managed by Mitch Baryluk, won the Canadian junior men’s basketball championship in 1950 and 1951. The team evolved from a group that had played Sunday school basketball at the Stella Mission. The North End Flyers, managed by Orest Horecko and co-coached by Ray Boyko, won the 1983 Canadian intermediate hockey championship played at the Winnipeg Arena. The Flyers also played softball and represented our province in the Softball Canada men’s slo-pitch championship.
Check their team rosters and that of any team from the City’s North End and you are guaranteed to find names with Ukrainian roots.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org