1962 Bisons honoured at U of M homecoming


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This article was published 21/09/2022 (261 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

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.

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

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

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.

Along with coach Woolley, 16 student-athletes of the 36 who were on the 1962 roster are expected to attend the reunion. The Winnipeggers are Allen, Bob Akman, Len Baydak, Harry Deleeuw, Michael Helper, Bill Malcolm, Ross McIntyre, Gerry Mercier, Marshall Peikoff, Arnold Popeski, Michael Radcliffe and Mike Shylo. Coming from away are McCallum from Denver, Gary Aldcorn from Lethbridge, Sam Pakarnyk from Calgary and Ron Oberth from Toronto. Manitobans will recognize many for their contributions to the community off the field, along with their athletic accomplishments.

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The Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame will induct its 2021 class on Oct. 1 at the Victoria Inn in Winnipeg.

The honoured group, which originally was scheduled for induction on Sept. 25, 2021, includes All-Canadian players Joanne Wells-Small, who played with the University of Winnipeg Wesmen, and Shawn Gray, a Brandon University Bobcat.

Manny Aranez, founder of the Philippine Basketball Association, which now has more than 110 teams, will be honoured as a builder. Ray Hurd from Westman, John Klassen of Winkler and Randy Kusano from Oak Park High School in Winnipeg are members of the high school coaching community who will be inducted as builders. The teams being recognized are the Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate Raiders, who won several varsity boys provincial championships in the 1980s, and the Treherne Collegiate Tigers varsity girls, who won six provincial A titles between 1994-95 and 2002-03.

The following afternoon, at Canad Inns Garden City, the Manitoba Lacrosse HOF will honour 75 years of history with an induction class of 16 individuals and two teams. From the early years are Eric Abbott, Ron Henley, Ken Williams, Charlie Sabo, Lionel Merrick, Mark Flynn, Jeep Woolley, Al Smallwood and brothers Lorne and Glen Christianson. Jim Thompson, Dave Stonoga, Kim Ridd, Sam Simcoff, Lovro Paulic, and Terry Ross made their impact between the 1960s and 1980s. Bruce Paton, who began officiating in the 1980s, rose to become referee-in-chief of the Canadian Lacrosse Association.

The Tammany Tigers, a dominant senior team in the 1920s, and the Manitoba team that won gold in the 1995 North American Indigenous Games also will be inducted. Players from Sagkeeng First Nation and St. John’s High School in Winnipeg made up the Manitoba team

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

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