Sheila Kelly ends her remarkable career with the Hall of Fame

The mission of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (SSHF) is to recognize sport excellence, preserve sport history, and educate the public about the role of sport in Saskatchewan’s cultural fabric.

Now it is time to recognize the contributions of one of our own and their work preserving, honouring and sharing the rich sporting history of Saskatchewan.

Sheila Kelly is leaving her post as Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame after 34 years leading the organization.

Sheila started at the Hall of Fame in 1989 and through the decades she has guided the SSHF through a great period of growth and stability. At the same she has become an industry leader in the sport heritage field in Canada and indeed across North America.

She received the W.R. “Bill” Schroeder Distinguished Service Award from the International Sports Heritage Association (ISHA) in 2017. The Schroeder Award is the highest honour presented by ISHA and bestowed to individuals for meritorious service of lasting nature in the sports heritage industry. The Schroeder Award is not bestowed annually, rather it is awarded only when someone has been deemed worthy of receiving it.

“Sheila’s dedication and commitment to sport heritage transcends her remarkable career at the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. She is a former president of the Canadian Association for Sport Heritage (CASH) and a Schroeder Award winner, which is the International Sports Heritage Association’s highest honor,” said Shane Mailman, ISHA Executive Administrator and former President of CASH.

“Sheila has built lifetime friendships in our industry and has earned great respect from everyone that has met her. Sheila‘s career is the benchmark all of us aspire to.”

During her tenure as Executive Director, Sheila helped nurture the development of multiple satellite halls in the province. The SSHF’s Sport History Project grant is unique to Saskatchewan and since the late 1980s has allowed organizations to complete more than 40 projects that capture the sport history of our province through a variety of means. Sheila also oversaw a successful 50th-anniversary celebration that included the launch of the SSHF’s 53-foot mobile exhibit trailer. The project is unique amongst halls of fame in Canada and allowed the SSHF to fulfill its mandate of preserving and sharing Saskatchewan’s sport history with the entire province.

In the past three years, the SSHF has won the CASH Award of Excellence twice, an ISHY Award from ISHA and a Museum Associations of Saskatchewan Award of Merit. These honours exemplify the vision Sheila and her staff showed as the Hall of Fame diversified its programming and remained an industry leader through the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, the SSHF received nine significant local, provincial, national, or international awards while Sheila was Executive Director.

This spring the final phase of our Hall of Fame Gallery redevelopment was completed under Sheila’s leadership.

Succession planning had begun with an eye toward Sheila’s eventual retirement, however, that process was accelerated when she took a medical leave of absence earlier this spring.

With that in mind, the SSHF Board of Directors has contracted Leadership Source from Regina to help lead the search for a new full-time Executive Director for the SSHF.

SSHF Curator Bryann Seib has taken on the role as the Acting Executive Director for the past two months and has guided the Hall of Fame through our fiscal year-end, our annual audit, and the rest of the day-to-day business of the Hall of Fame.

We wish Sheila all the best in the future and congratulate her on a remarkable career here at the Hall of Fame.

Never Give Up once again full for spring offering

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame continues to deliver the inspiring stories of our inductees to students across the province through the Never Give Up program.

The program debuted in 2011 and was such a success that it developed into an annual offering. While the involvement of Ted Jaleta has been one of the hallmarks of the program, the involvement of other sports figures from Saskatchewan has been essential to its success. All of these individuals have overcome obstacles and hardships. They truly understand what it means to “never give up” and serve as positive role models.

The program is available to Grades 4-8 in schools throughout Saskatchewan. We are fortunate to have the support of SaskTel as our presenting sponsor once again. This year’s program will focus on various subject areas in the Grades 4-8 Saskatchewan Curriculum dealing with identity to showcase how sport contributes to self-identity. It will also highlight our feature inductees and Saskatchewan athletes who have made significant contributions to sport and society.

The presenters for the spring of 2023 are Arnold Boldt OC, Colette Bourgonje, Lisa Franks, and Colleen Sostorics.

The spring offering of Never Give Up will run from May 16 to June 16 with all 10 sessions full with students from across the province. This spring’s offering of the program sees Never Give Up delivered to schools in Dinsmore, Humboldt, North Battleford, Raymore, Regina, Saskatoon, Viscount, Wadena, and Wilkie.

Since 2011 Never Give Up has reached more than 20,000 students across Saskatchewan. In the past two years alone, the program has reached 41 communities, with 4,051 students taking part in 2021 and 2022.