Success and service: Indigenous athletes make indelible mark on province

National Indigenous People’s Day is on June 21. In the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 87th Call to Action, the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame marks this day by celebrating Indigenous excellence and achievement in sport. In doing so, the SSHF also looks to put a spotlight on the challenges and hardships that the SSHF’s Indigenous inductees overcame in achieving their goals.

The SSHF currently has nine individual inductees who identify as Indigenous. Each has a unique story, but service to community and success over hardship are common themes with each athlete or builder.

Paul Acoose was from the Zagime Anishinabek (Sakimay) First Nation and came from a long line of distance runners. His competitive career was short, but he set a world record and defeated famed distance runner Tom Longboat before returning home to farm and raise a family.

Tony Cote had a lasting impact on the Cote First Nation where he created numerous athletic opportunities for young people. Those athletic opportunities extended across the province when he created the first Saskatchewan First Nations Summer Games in 1974. There is now a distinct Summer and Winter Games and they have both been named after Cote in his honour. Cote became Chief of the Cote First Nation also served during the Korean War.

Alex Decoteau

Alex Decoteau

Alex Decoteau has the distinction of being the first athlete born in what is now known as Saskatchewan to compete at the Olympic Games. Decoteau, from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation, finished sixth in the 5,000-metre run at the 1912 Stockholm Games despite suffering from leg cramps. He would also become the first Indigenous police officer in Canada and was killed serving in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1917 during the First World War.

David Greyeyes was another SSHF Indigenous inductee who served in the military. Greyeyes served in the Canadian Army during the Second World War. While overseas, the gifted soccer player, was a member of the Canadian team that won the Inter-Allied Games in 1946. He was chosen to represent Saskatchewan against top touring English teams in 1937, 1938 and 1949 – a testament to his longevity as a top player.

Jacqueline Lavallee and Fred Sasakamoose at the opening of the SSHF’s Indigenous sport exhibit at the University of Saskatchewan.
David Stobbe/StobbePhoto.ca

Jacqueline Lavallee was a two-sport star at the University of Saskatchewan where she was a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) All-Canadian in both soccer and basketball. She played for Canada at the World University Games twice and was a member of the women’s national basketball team for three years. She has been an assistant women’s basketball coach at the U of S for 14 seasons.

Jim Neilson was born in Big River, but grew up in an orphanage in Prince Albert. From those humble beginnings he would go on to play more than 1,000 games in the National Hockey League (NHL). Neilson spent 12 of his 16 years in the NHL with the New York Rangers where he played in a two NHL All-Star Games and finished fourth in voting for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenceman in 1968. He finished his career in 1979 playing alongside Wayne Gretzky during his rookie season in Edmonton.

Claude Petit also served in the Canadian Army during the Korean War and he too would compete athletically while serving overseas. Petit was a five-time Canadian Army heavyweight boxing champion and was also the only Canadian to win the British Army Heavyweight title. Inducted as a builder, Petit coached Team Canada at international competitions, worked as an official for several years and served nine years as president of the Saskatchewan Boxing Association.

Fred Sasakamoose was born in the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, but was taken from his family when he was six and suffered abuse at the St. Michael’s Residential School. Sasakamoose managed to thrive as a hockey player, being named the Most Valuable Player in the Western Canada Junior Hockey League. He made his debut in the NHL with Chicago in 1953-54 at the age of 19. His NHL career lasted 11 games, but his story had an enduring impact. Sasakamoose became an important community leader and served as Chief for six years. He reclaimed his language, becoming fluent in Cree later in life and worked to promote and develop sport programs for youth including the Fred Sasakamoose “Chief Thunderstick” Championship. In 2018 he was made a member of the Order of Canada.

 Bryan Trottier is one of the most successful hockey players to come from Saskatchewan. He has won six Stanley Cups, the most of anyone in the province. Trottier scored 524 goals and had 1,425 points in 1,279 NHL regular-season games. He was also played in eight All-Star Games. The Hockey Hall of Famer wrote on the NHL website about his youth in Val Marie.

Kenneth Moore is inducted as a member of the 1930 Memorial Cup-champion Regina Pats hockey team. Moore would go on to win an Olympic gold medal in 1932 with a team based out of Winnipeg. Moore, from the Peepeekisis Cree Nation, is believed to be the first Indigenous person to win a gold medal for Canada. There is an excellent account of the toll the Residential School system had on the Moore family and how Kenneth’s parents were able to escape and spare him the same horrors that befell some of his siblings.

Colette Bourgonje won’t formally be inducted as a member of the Hall of Fame until the SSHF Induction Ceremony and Dinner on September 24, 2022. For the past two years she has been sharing her inspiring story as part of the SSHF’s award-winning Never Give Up educational program. A 10-time Paralympian, Bourgonje was the first Canadian to compete in both a Summer and Winter Paralympics. Eighteen years after her Paralympic debut she won Canada’s first medal at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame is proud to be located in Treaty 4 territory, home to the Cree, Dakota, Lakota, Nakoda, and Saulteaux people since time immemorial and are the traditional homelands of the Métis Nation. The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame also celebrates the history of sport and the people from the land that is covered by Treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10. These lands have been the home of the Cree, Dakota, Dene, Lakota, Nakoda, and Saulteaux people since time immemorial and are the traditional homelands of the Métis Nation.

While National Indigenous People’s Day is an ideal time to celebrate and share these stories and resources, reconciliation is an ongoing process.

This spring, the Hall of Fame completed and began offering our Indigenous Legacies in Sport outreach program that is offered to schools. It is geared towards elementary school students and highlights some of the achievements and stories of Saskatchewan’s great Indigenous athletes and builders.

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and the University of Saskatchewan have partnered on a display case and video kiosk celebrating Saskatchewan Indigenous athletes and their achievements. This exhibit is on permanent display in the Physical Activity Complex at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Kinesiology in Saskatoon.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame has created an incredible new resource for learning about Canada’s great Indigenous athletes. The Indigenous Sport Heroes Education Experience is a first-of-its-kind educational program that was designed to provide educators with the opportunity to integrate Indigenous perspectives and ways of knowing and being into their classrooms.

Never Give Up wins MAS Award of Merit

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame was honoured with the Museums Association of Saskatchewan’s MAS Award of Merit – Institution (under $50,000.00) for 2022.

The award was bestowed for the SSHF’s Never Give Up educational program during the Museums Association of Saskatchewan (MAS) Conference and Banquet in Estevan on June 10. The SSHF had previously won a MAS Award of Merit – Institution (budget over $100,000) in 2018 for the mobile exhibit trailer project.

Never Give Up was also honoured with the Canadian Association for Sport Heritage’s CASH Award of Excellence on June 1.

 Never Give Up is an education program targeting at-risk students in Grades 4-8 which focuses on answering the question: what makes a person a “hero”? By discussing the concept of a hero, Never Give Up allows the students to understand that heroes are different for everyone and often they take the form of positive role models throughout each person’s community. Never Give Up is administered virtually and involves SSHF inductees who have overcome obstacles and hardships to achieve their own personal goals in sport and life. The students benefitting from this program represent a range of diverse life experiences and thus, so too do the presenters who currently include war refugees, amputees, and Paralympians.

Never Give Up really hit its stride in 2021 when Covid-19 required that all education programming be conducted virtually. Over the course of 24 sessions (six weeks in May/June and six weeks in October/November), the program reached 35 different communities and a total of 2,047 participants. The SSHF is grateful to have sponsorship support from SaskTel in order to make this program possible.

Inductees Arnold Boldt, Lisa Franks, and Ted Jaleta, along with Colette Bourgonje – who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this fall as a member of the Class of 2021 – shared their inspiring stories with students across the province.

Never Give Up just completed its spring run with 13 different communities across the province taking part across the 14 sessions. In total 1,134 students took part in Never Give Up in the spring of 2022.

Founded in 1968, MAS is a non-profit, collective organization of over 250 member museums and a total membership of over 400, including individuals and associates.

SSHF wins national sports heritage award again

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (SSHF) has won the Canadian Association for Sport Heritage’s CASH Award of Excellence for a second straight year.

This year, the SSHF was honoured for their Never Give Up education program at the Canadian Association for Sport Heritage (CASH) Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, June 1.

Never Give Up is an education program targeting at-risk students in Grades 4-8 which focuses on answering the question: what makes a person a “hero”? By discussing the concept of a hero, Never Give Up allows the students to understand that heroes are different for everyone and often they take the form of positive role models throughout each person’s community. Never Give Up is administered virtually and involves SSHF inductees who have overcome obstacles and hardships in order to achieve their own personal goals in sport and life. The students benefitting from this program represent a range of diverse life experiences and thus, so too do the presenters who currently include war refugees, amputees, and Paralympians.

Never Give Up really hit its stride in 2021 when Covid-19 required that all education programming be conducted virtually. Over the course of 24 sessions (six weeks in May/June and six weeks in October/November), the program reached 35 different communities and a total of 2,047 participants. The SSHF is grateful to have sponsorship support from SaskTel in order to make this program possible.

Inductees Arnold Boldt, Lisa Franks, and Ted Jaleta, along with Colette Bourgonje – who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this fall as a member of the Class of 2021 – shared their inspiring stories with students across the province.

Colette Bourgonje delivers a Never Give Up presentation to a class in 2021.

In 2021, the SSHF won the inaugural CASH Award of Excellence for their exhibit Prairie Pride: A History of Saskatchewan Football.

The CASH Award of Excellence was created to recognize and celebrate the achievements of CASH members. Projects were eligible to be nominated from four categories: museum, events, communication and collection.

The CASH Award of Excellence was evaluated by the Awards Selection Committee using a point system.

CASH is comprised of 70 members and is a national association of institutions, organizations, and individuals dedicated to the preservation of Canada’s rich sports heritage.

Blezy named new Chair and four new directors added to SSHF Board

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (SSHF) held their Annual and Special Meeting on Thursday, May 26, 2022. The meeting minutes are now available.

The Bylaw change to clarify the language on Hall of Fame membership passed unanimously. The updated SSHF Bylaws can be found here.

Trent Blezy is the new Chair of the Hall of Fame and will begin a two-year term in the role. Robb Elchuk has completed two years as Chair and will move into the non-elected position of Past Chair. Rankin Jaworski has completed two years as Past Chair for a combined eight years on the board and will retire from the Board.

The other Officers of the Hall of Fame are Karen Meban, who is beginning her first term on the board and will assume the Vice Chair role. Mike Babcock remains in the role of Treasurer.

Mike Babcock and Tennille Grimeau were both re-elected to a second three-year term on the Board.

Babcock has been a member of the Board since 2017. He has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (Honours) from Laurentian University and received his Certified General Accountants designation in 2007 and his Chartered Professional Accounts Designation in 2014 when the three national accounting designations unified. He opened his own accounting practice in 2016.

Grimeau is originally from Melville and received a Diploma in Hospitality & Tourism Marketing and a Masters Certificate in Project Management. She spent 20 years in loyalty marketing with the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) where she was responsible for the strategic development and marketing of the Players Club loyalty program for SIGA’s seven casino properties, including member acquisition, direct marketing, data analytics, and branding. In the fall of 2021, she began her new role at Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) in the position of Loyalty Manager, where she is responsible for supporting the successful build, operationalization, and implementation of a new consumer loyalty program across Western Canada.

Eight members of the 2022-23 SSHF Board pictured during a board retreat: Karen Meban, back left, Tim Leier, Laurel Garvan, Robb Elchuk, Jeff Lightheart, front left, Cary Wessel, Tennille Grimeau, and Trent Blezy.

Four new Directors – Jeff Lightheart, Karen Meban, Christopher Weitzel, and Cary Wessel – were also elected for three-year terms on the SSHF Board.

Jeff Lightheart is a Certified Financial Planner and is the owner of a planning firm in Regina. He has a close affiliation with the Hall of Fame as his wife Nancy was a member of the 1991 Sundown Optimist Buffalo Gals who were inducted in 1996. Nancy’s sister, Jill Zimmer was also on that world championship-winning team. Jeff and Nancy’s daughters became baton twirlers and continue to be coached by another inductee, Maureen Johnson. If that weren’t enough, Nancy’s dad, brother, and uncle are also in the Hall.

Karen Meban is employed at CBC Regina as an Integrated Account Lead and has worked in media advertising sales for 22 years. She graduated from Laurentian University as a five-year veteran of the nationally-ranked Lady Vees basketball program. Upon graduation, and while starting her career, Meban was the assistant coach for the Lady Vees program before moving to Regina in 2003. She is the mother of three active kids and volunteers as a coach in basketball, ringette, and hockey.

Christopher Weitzel graduated from the University of Regina in 2000 with a BA and then went on to the University of Saskatchewan College of Law and Capital Law School earning his Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 2003 from the U of S. He is currently the Associate General Counsel – Corporate at Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI). His practice involves contract, procurement, privacy, litigation, and trademark issues as well as leadership responsibilities. He also earned his Certified In-House Counsel (CIC.C) designation in 2020 from Rotman School of Management and in 2020 received his Saskatchewan Queen’s Counsel (QC) designation. He is currently on the Canadian Bar Association Executive Board for Saskatchewan and was President of the CBA SK in 2020-21.

Cary Wessel graduated from the University of Regina in 2000 with a B.Sc. and then went on to the University of Saskatchewan College of Law earning his Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 2007. Wessel was called to the Bar of Saskatchewan in 2010. He is currently an Associate at Gerrand Rath Johnson LLP in Regina, where he practices in a wide array of legal areas, specializing in corporate and commercial matters. Wessel is active in several outdoors endeavours, including cycling, mountain biking, skiing, and camping. He is the Patrol Leader for Canadian Ski Patrol – Qu’Appelle Zone, involved as an instructor for Advanced First Aid, and a sitting executive with both the local zone and the provincial division.

 

The 2022-23 Board of Directors

OFFICERS OF THE HALL

Chair– Trent Blezy (Regina)

Vice Chair – Karen Meban (Regina)

Treasurer – Mike Babcock (Regina)

Past Chair – Robb Elchuk (Regina)

DIRECTORS

Samer Awadh (Regina)

Laurel Garven (Regina)

Tennille Grimeau (Saskatoon)

Tim Leier (Saskatoon)

Jeff Lightheart (Regina)

Kelvin Ostapowich (Regina)

Christopher Weitzel (Regina)

Cary Wessel (Regina)

Tickets available for 2022 Induction Dinner & Ceremony

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame has announced the five (5) members of the Class of 2022. These five individuals will join the previously announced eight inductees from the Class of 2021 who will become the newest members to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. The Class of 2022 features three athletes and two builders, while the Class of 2021 features five athletes, one builder and two teams. They will be officially inducted at the 53rd Annual Induction Dinner & Ceremony to be held at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina on Saturday, September 24, 2022.

Tickets to the 53rd Annual Induction Dinner & Ceremony are $100/person and can be purchased here:

Induction Dinner Tickets can be ordered from the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in person, via telephone (306-780-9232), email ([email protected]) or online at http:sasksportshalloffame.com.

The Atlas Hotel (4177 Albert Street, Regina) is the host hotel for the 53rd Annual Induction Dinner & Ceremony.

Guests can book their accommodations by contacting the hotel directly at 1-306-586-3443 or by emailing [email protected] and quoting the following Block Code 092322SHF. You may also book directly through The Atlas website is you prefer:

• The Room rate is $139.95 (plus 11% tax & 3% Destination Marketing Fee) for a double room (2 Queen beds). Maximum occupancy five people per room (2 adults and 3 children). Additional adults will be charged $15 each.

Room rate includes a hot breakfast and complimentary parking

Check-in is at 4:00 p.m. or later. Check out is 11:00 a.m.

The Atlas’ cancellation policy is as follows:

Cancellation policy is as follows: 

  • 24 hours or less (based on 4:00 p.m. check-in time) will result in a charge of 100% of one night’s total guestroom cost
  • 1 to 3 days notice (25-72 hours before check-in time) will result in a charge of 50% of one night’s total guestroom cost
  • 3 or more days notice (73+ hours before check-in time) will not incur a charge

The Block hold will be released on August 26, 2022. Individuals can still reserve rooms but now it will depend on availability and may be at a different rate.

Notice: Annual and Special Meeting will be held on May 26th

On behalf of Robb Elchuk, Board Chair of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (SSHF), this post serves as an official notice of the Annual and Special Meeting of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame which will be held at the following date and time:

Date: Thursday, May 26, 2022

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location: Virtually via Microsoft Teams

The agenda will include Annual Reports, Bylaw revisions, presentation of Financial Statements, the appointment of the auditor for 2022/23, and reports on the election of Board Directors.

The meeting package, plus the 2021 Annual Report, 2021/22 Financial Statements, and all other pertinent materials for the Annual and Special Meeting have been posted on the SSHF website and are available for review before the meeting.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and in the interest of the health and wellness of our Members, the Annual and Special Meeting will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams. Please fill out this registration form to receive your access credentials for the meeting which will be distributed no later than noon on Thursday, May 26.

All members of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in good standing are welcome to virtually attend and vote during the Annual and Special Meeting.

After changes to the SSHF Bylaws at the 2021 Annual and Special Meeting, Members of the Hall may include the following:

    (i) Provincial Sport Governing Bodies;
    (ii) Satellite sports halls of fame and sport museums in Saskatchewan;
    (iii) Current members of the Board of the Hall;
    (iv) Past Board members of the Hall who completed at least one (1) term while serving on the Board within the previous five (5) year time period;
    (v) Individuals, families or corporations with three (3) years of paid dues in the Hall in the most recent four (4) years;
    (vi) Inductees to the Hall who receive a complimentary membership with voting privileges in the year of induction; paid dues are required thereafter to retain voting privileges in any given year.

If you are uncertain if you are eligible to vote in the Annual and Special Meeting – or if you have any other questions – please contact the Hall of Fame at 306-780-9232 or email [email protected]

Bakker Gail

Breaking the bias: International Women’s Day 2022

Every day is a great day to celebrate the achievements, perseverance and advancements of Saskatchewan’s great women’s athletes. Their stories inspire us every day and need to be celebrated and shared every day.

However, today, on International Women’s Day, we want to share some stories of Saskatchewan athletes who represent this year’s theme of “breaking the bias”.

Ethel Catherwood

Saskatchewan’s first female Olympian was Saskatoon’s Ethel Catherwood. She was also part of a pioneering group of six track and field athletes who along with swimmer Dorothy Prior became Canada’s first female Olympians at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. Their participation remained a contentious topic of debate among Canadian organizers, but the track athletes more than proved their worth by winning four medals out of five events. Their success led to them being known as the “Matchless Six”. While four of the group won gold in the 4×100-metre relay, none shone brighter than Catherwood who won gold in the women’s high jump and became an overnight sensation.

Catherwood was also a national champion in the javelin, but that event would not be part of the Games until 1932. She also won gold medals in the high jump and javelin at the 1930 British Empire Games (now known as the Commonwealth Games) in Hamilton. Her strength, grace, and excellence helped sway public opinion about the abilities of female athletes.

The battle for equality on the world stage was not quickly won.

Bakker Gail

Gail (Daley) Bakker

In 1964 gymnasts Gail (Daley) Bakker from Saskatoon and Irene (Haworth) Lacy from Nipawin both qualified for the Tokyo Olympics at the national championships. However, the Canadian Olympic Association decided to send three male gymnasts and no female gymnasts to the games due to budget constraints.

Canada sent 115 competitors to Tokyo and only 20 of them were women. Thanks to a letter-writing campaign from Bakker’s father and coach Chuck Sebestyen – and no small amount of fundraising and support from the people of Saskatoon – Bakker was able to secure enough funding to pay her own way to the Games.

Bakker earned a personal best score in Tokyo and scored 9s or higher in each event. While Lacy was not able to attend the Olympics, she and Bakker each had great careers and are both SSHF inductees. They both were part of Canada’s silver-medal winning team at the 1963 Pan American Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Lacy won a silver on the beam and Bakker earned a bronze in the same event.

The issue of funding remains and it is far from the only front female athletes are battling on.

The Canadian women’s national soccer team captured the country’s imagination by winning the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Their feat was even more impressive considering that there isn’t a single professional women’s soccer team in Canada.

Kaylyn Kyle, an incoming SSHF inductee as a member of the 2021 class, played 101 times for Canada. The Saskatoon product has gone on to a successful broadcasting career becoming the first female broadcaster to call a game from Spain’s top league in North America.

She has used her platform as a broadcaster to be vocal in her belief that funding for women’s professional soccer in Canada is long past due and supporting women players in their fight for equality, social progress, and an inclusive atmosphere that allows all women to prosper.

From Chef de Mission Catriona Le May Doan leading Canada to a successful performance at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to Brittany Hudak and Lisa DeJong winning Paralympic medals hours apart, Saskatchewan women continue to write more great stories of athletic achievement.

There are countless other stories of amazing achievements and groundbreaking women from this province. We look forward to continuing to highlight more of them and sharing their stories.

In their own words: the stories of great Saskatchewan Indigenous athletes

February is Indigenous Storytelling Month in Saskatchewan. To celebrate this month, the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame is sharing some of the stories of some of the pioneering Indigenous athletes in the province – in their own words as much as possible.

Tony Cote was inducted into the SSHF as a builder in 2011. He was first elected as Chief of the Cote First Nation in 1970. In 1974 he was instrumental in the creation of the Saskatchewan First Nations Summer Games. They would grow to include a Winter Games and now both the Summer and Winter Games bear his name.

In an article from 2014 in the Regina Leader-Post, Cote described what motivated him to create the first Saskatchewan First Nations Summer Games.

Tony Cote

Tony Cote

“There wasn’t too much sports and recreation on any given reserve (when he started the provincial Games). I thought if we initiated some kind of Summer Games we would get the interest of the young people to participate with the other bands across Saskatchewan. The response was very, very good. I think the first year we attracted 500 athletes. The last one we had in Prince Albert (in 2013) I think we had 3,500 athletes. The participation of our young people has really grown tremendously.

“As a result, we always develop some very good athletes.

“One of these days we’re going to have a number of our own athletes participate in the Olympics. That was my vision to begin with. It’s slowly coming.”

Even for those athletes who don’t end up on the world’s stage, taking part in the Tony Cote Games or the North American Indigenous Games can have a lifelong impact.

“It opens (people’s) eyes. The atmosphere is terrific. You can tell they’re proud and they want to compete. As a result, a lot of the former athletes that participated 10, 12 or even 20 years ago, those are our recreation leaders now. Not only recreation leaders but some of them have become leaders of their communities in the capacity of chief and councillors.

“When I first came home to start sports and recreation (in Saskatchewan) there was absolutely nothing. All our kids were just getting into trouble. When we started training them (the outlook improved).

“We’ve come a long ways.”

Ken Moore

Ken Moore was the first Indigenous person to win a gold medal for Canada when he was part of the 1932 men’s hockey team that won gold in Lake Placid in the United States. Moore has been inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 1930 Memorial Cup champion Regina Pats team.

Before those great feats though, Moore and his family escaped their home in the Peepeekeesis Cree Nation and avoided the Indian agent to start a new life and keep any more of their children from being forced to attend Residential School. The Moores’ two oldest sons both died at the Brandon Indian Residential School in Manitoba.

Moore’s granddaughter, Jennifer Moore Rattray, helps tell his incredible story here.

Alex Decoteau died during the Second Battle of Passchendaele in 1917 during the First World War. Though his life was cut tragically short, the distance runner from Red Pheasant First Nation achieved so much. He was the first athlete born in what is now Saskatchewan to compete at the Olympics. He is also the first Indigenous person to be a police officer in Canada.

Independent Indigenous publication Windspeaker.com in Edmonton shared Alex’s story here.

Jim Neilson moved to an orphanage in Prince Albert at the age of five and he become one of the best defencemen in the National Hockey League in the 1970s and played more than 1,000 games in the league. You can read more about his inspiring story here.

Fred Sasakamoose, left, shakes hands with Chicago Blackhawks captain Alexei Zhamnov.

Fred Sasakamoose was taken from his family on the Ahtahkakoop Cree First Nation and sent to St. Michael’s Residential School in Duck Lake. There Sasakamoose suffered terrible abuse that he detailed in the Truth & Reconciliation Commission and later in his autobiography.

He returned home at 15 and never wanted to leave. His hockey talents led him to Moose Jaw – where two weeks into his stay he tried to walk the 400 km home – where he became the Most Valuable Player in the Western Canadian Junior Hockey League in 1953-54. Immediately at the end of the season, the 20-year-old reported to the NHL’s Chicago Black Hawks where he would play 11 games. Despite his talent and early success, the pull of coming home never left.

“I wanted to go home all the time,” Sasakamoose said in this article from 2018. “You’re no longer 500 miles away — you are 5,000 miles away. It didn’t matter about money, glory… It didn’t matter. I didn’t want that. I wanted home.”

Paul Acoose was Nakawē (Saulteaux) from the Zagime Anishinabek (previously known as the Sakimay First Nation) and was born in 1885. In his first professional race, Acoose ran 15 miles in a world-record time of one hour, 22 minutes and 22 seconds and beat famed English runner Fred Appleby, a former world record holder and 1908 Olympic marathon runner. Acoose’s record-breaking time earned him the title of world champion.

Acoose’s rapid rise to success was met with adversity almost immediately. Appleby and Acoose met in a rematch in Winnipeg where gamblers who had bet on Appleby were suspected of throwing thumbtacks on the indoor track. The tacks did not affect Appleby in his thick rubber-soled shoes, but easily penetrated Acoose’s moccasins and into his feet. Acoose had a half-lap lead when the tacks were thrown onto the track. He pulled a tack out of his foot and carried on – running two more miles in bare feet – before stepping on more tacks and was unable to finish the race.

Acoose went on to beat famed Onondaga runner Tom Longboat in 1910. Despite only being 24 years old, Acoose retired from competitive racing and settled in Zagime Anishinabek with his wife Madeline where they raised nine children and farmed. He never drove a car and continued to job into his 60s. Even in his late 70s would walk up to 10 kilometers to visit family and friends.

Bryan Trottier won six Stanley Cups and was a cornerstone of the New York Islanders dynasty. The Hockey Hall of Famer wrote on the NHL website about his youth in Val Marie.

“I don’t know how big an inspiration I am for indigenous children, but I want to wear it with all my might. There’s a certain pride I think we all have in where and how we grow up and our heritage. There’s a lot of variety in First Nation; it’s a very diverse group. Some of them feel self-conscious about the blend they have, that maybe they’re not 100 percent First Nation. But they have the bloodlines, and they’re very creative and they’re very athletic and talented. They all have the ability to make a difference, and I tell them it’s OK to be homesick but to remember it takes courage to live your dreams.”

 

SSHF inductees have a rich history of service

There have always been strong ties between the sporting world and military service. Amongst the inductees of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (SSHF), that is no different.

To date, the SSHF has found 124 inductees who have served in branches of the Armed Forces. While they all share the commonality of sporting excellence and service, each of their stories is unique.

Alex Decoteau (image courtesy of the Edmonton Police Service)

Alex Decoteau was the first Saskatchewan-born athlete to compete in the Olympics. After competing in the 5,000-metre run at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games, Decoteau — who was also Canada’s first Indigenous police officer — enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War in 1916. He was killed in action in the Second Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium on October 30, 1917, when he was shot by a sniper. Pvt. Decoteau put his athletic prowess to use during the war, serving as a communications trench runner.

In addition to Decoteau, SSHF inductees Edward Lyman “Hick” Abbott, Ernest “Ossie” Herlen, and Harry McKenzie from the 1915 Melville Millionaires were all Killed in Action. SSHF inductees Claude Warwick and James Bladon from the 1941 Regina Rangers were Killed in Service.

Some SSHF inductees saw their military service mix with their athletic pursuits. Julien Audette served in the Royal Canadian Air Force before being inducted in the sport of soaring (the sport of non-powered flight). Shooting inductees Joseph Austman, Jim Girgulis, Peter Jmaeff, and Ron Woolgar all served in the military.

Stanley “Cap” Harrison came from England and began Stockwell Stud Farm in Fort Qu’Appelle. When the First World War broke out, he was tasked with selecting and shipping western horses suitably for cavalry purposes. Harrison was well-suited to the task but sending stock to face almost certain death while he was safe at home. In 1916, Harrison left his brother to run the farm and enlisted in the Winnipeg Light Infantry Battalion. He was wounded three times and was once buried in rubble and feared dead. Harrison would survive the war and become a key figure in the growth of horse racing in the prairies. During the war, Harrison also wrote poetry which was later compiled by Grant MacEwan entitled, The Rhyming Horseman of the Qu’Appelle.

Phyllis Dewar

It wasn’t just our male inductees who answered the call to serve. Moose Jaw’s Phyllis Dewar won four gold medals swimming at the 1934 British Empire Games (the forerunner to the Commonwealth Games). She competed at the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympic Games and won another gold medal at the 1938 British Empire Games. Dewar enlisted with the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS) where she was stationed in Halifax. The WRCNS was formed in 1942 and featured more than 7,000 enlisted members during the Second World War. Their duties included wireless telegraphists, radar plotters, weapons analysts, range assessors, electricians, air mechanics, clerks, and cooks.

While the list of inductees with military service covers a broad range of sports, hockey has the most representation with 48 SSHF hockey inductees having served in the military.

Included amongst those were five players — Sid Abel, Max Bentley, Johnny Bower, Chuck Rayner, and Harry Watson — who would go on to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as well earning their place amongst the game’s all-time greats. Abel, Bentley, Rayner and Watson had all begun their National Hockey League careers when they enlisted during the Second World War. As a teenager in Prince Albert, Bower was part of the local army reserve unit. At 15 he lied about his age to enlist and spent two years in Vernon, B.C. completing his training before being deployed as a gunner with the 2nd Canadian Division with the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders. Days before the Dieppe Raid in 1942, Bower and eight other members of his unit came down with a respiratory infection that cause them to miss the raid and may have saved their lives.

While the majority of the SSHF inductees who served did so during the First and Second World Wars or the Korean War, Ed Staniowski is a more recent example of an athlete who served in the Canadian Forces.

Lt.-Col Ed Staniowski, a Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame inductee looks at some of the items on display at Play Hard, Fight Hard: Sport and the Canadian Military.

Staniowski starred in goal on the Regina Pats 1974 Memorial Cup-winning team and went on to play 10 seasons in the National Hockey League with St. Louis, Winnipeg and Hartford. After retiring from the NHL, Staniowski served in the Canadian Forces and reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the primary reserves. Staniowski was deployed in eight overseas operations during his 29 years in the Forces.

Below is a list of the 124 SSHF inductees that served their country in the Canadian Forces. Their service and sacrifice will never be forgotten:

Edward Abbot

Sid Abel

Robert Adams

Jack Adams

Dennis Adkins

Sandy Archer

Murray Armstrong

Bob Arn

Julien Audette

Joseph Victor Austman

Harry Bailey

Leonard Bath

Max Bentley

James Stanley Bladon

Garth Boesch

Johnny Bower

Calvin Bricker

Doug Bruce

Angus “Scotty” Cameron

Glen Campbell

Clarence Campbell

Ken Charlton

Harold Clayton

George Coops

Tony Cote

Aurthur Austin Creswell

Gordon Currie

David Dean

Alex Decoteau

Phyllis Dewar

Paul Dojack

Arthur “Art” Dowie

William “Bill” Ebbels

Gaston Eichel

Eldon Elliot

William Forsyth

Norman “Heck” Fowler

Emile Francis

Frank Germann

James “Jim” Girgulis

Anton Glasser

Gordon “Greg” Grassick

Ernest Albert Greenley

David Greyeyes

Ernest Wynne “Joe” Griffiths

William “Bill” Griston

Stanley “Hub” Gutheridge

Dr. Walter Hader

Stanley “Cap” Harrison

Henry “Hank” Hartenberger

James “Sugar Jim” Henry

Ernest “Ossie” Herlen

Alfred Hill

Lou Hough

Rollin Henry “Roly” Howes

William “Bill” Hunter

Dick Irvin Sr.

Peter Jmaeff

Gordon Juckes

Mike Kartusch

J.B. “Kirk” Kirkpatrick

Arthur Knutson

Elmer Knutson

Sam Landa

Jack Leddy

John Leicester

R.C. “Scotty” Livingstone

Victor Lynn

Harry Stuart MacKenzie

Jack Maddia

Frank Mario

Charles McCool

Frederick McCulloch

Robert McCutcheon

Ernie McNab

Tom “Scotty” Melville

Anthony Merle

Don Metz

Nick Metz

Harold Mitchelmore

Alex Motter

Donald Sinclair “Speed” Moynes

Victor Myles

Stan Obodiac

William “Bill” Orban

Charles Otton

David Pearce

Bert Penfold

Claude Petit

Gordon Pettinger

Allan Wilfrid Pickard

Peter Prediger

Kenneth Preston

David Pyle

William Beatty Ramsay

Chuck Rayner

Robert “Bobby” Reid

Robert Reid

Ernest Richardson

Walt Riddell

Alvin Horace “Al” Ritchie

Tom Ross

Alex Sandalack

Lloyd Saunders

Arthur Sihvon

D’Arcy Smith

Ed Staniowski

John “Jack” Stewart

Edgar Wallace “Wally” Stinson

Neil “Piffles” Taylor

Earl “Tommy” Thomson

Robert Van Impe

Peter Vyvyan

H.J. “Johnny” Walker

Clinton Ward

George Ward

Claude Warwick

Harold “Harry” Watson

Ab Welsh

Alfred Stiffles Whittleton

H.J. “Pete” Wilken

Frederick Cornelius Wilson

Eddie Wiseman

Ronald Woolgar

SSHF wins international award

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame was awarded an “ISHY Award” from the International Sports Heritage Association (ISHA) at their annual conference on Thursday, October 28, 2021.

The SSHF were recognized for their current featured exhibit Prairie Pride: A History of Saskatchewan Football. The exhibit will remain on display until November 24.

Prairie Pride was created by Curator Bryann Seib and went on display when the SSHF re-opened on September 2, 2020. After the Hall of Fame closed to the public in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the province, a virtual tour was created by Seib and Communications Coordinator Matthew Gourlie in partnership with White Rabbit VR in Regina to enhance the physical exhibit with additional content.

Having the new exhibit has provided crucial content for Education Coordinator Vickie Krauss to facilitate her Virtual Field Trip program that has helped bring the SSHF into schools virtually during the pandemic.

“​We are thrilled to have Prairie Pride recognized with an ISHY, particularly because it is a peer-reviewed award. Being recognized by our colleagues who represent the best the world has to offer in our industry is extremely gratifying,” said SSHF Executive Director Sheila Kelly. “I am incredibly proud of the entire SSHF staffing team who all responded so enthusiastically to Bryann’s first feature exhibit as curator and utilized its maximum potential in our programming and communications in what has been a most challenging year. I hope that people take the opportunity to see Prairie Pride in person before its exhibit run ends on November 24.”

Prairie Pride also won the Canadian Association for Sports Heritage (CASH) Award of Excellence in June.

The SSHF was one of four ISHA members who were honoured with ISHYs for their new exhibits created in the past year. Northern Light Productions’ installation at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, and The Museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame were also honoured.

The 2021 ISHA Conference was held virtually and hosted by the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.

This is the fourth time, the SSHF has been honoured with an ISHY Award. In 2011, the SSHF received the ISHA Communications Award for Building Pride: Saskatchewan Roughriders Centennial Exhibitions created in conjunction with the Dunlop Art Gallery. In 2014, the SSHF received the ISHA Communications Award for the SSHF website. Most recently in 2015, the SSHF was honoured with the ISHA Communications Award for The Spirit of ’89: Memories from the 1989 Jeux Canada Summer Games written by Ned Powers and published through the Sport History Project Grant.

ISHA is comprised of more than 130 institutions located in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. In addition, various corporations and individuals participate in and contribute to the growth of ISHA as associate members.

The First Labour Day Classic

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame recently digitized colour footage of the first Labour Day Classic between the Regina Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on September 5, 1949.

Regina Roughriders president Stack Tibbits addresses the crowd at Taylor Field before the first Labour Day Classic in 1949.

While the game footage is incomplete, we wanted to share a few clips to get a taste of what Labour Day was like 72 years ago when the Roughriders’ played their home opener on the holiday Monday to a record-breaking gathering of 7,500 at Taylor Field.

The Roughriders opened the season with a 13-8 loss in Winnipeg the week before but would prevail 20-0 over their Manitoba rivals in this first Labour Day clash between the two teams.

The Riders (or the ‘Ruffs’ as the Regina Leader-Post called them at the time) would post a 9-5 record in Western Interprovincial Football Union play. They lost the first game of the two-legged final 18-12 to Calgary at Taylor Field. The Riders would win the second game on Remembrance Day in Calgary 9-4, but the Stampeders would advance to the Grey Cup with a cumulative one-point win.

In this clip, Sammy Pierce for the Roughriders (who are wearing white at home and were in their second season wearing green and white) breaks off a 12-yard run and a cloud of dust to get the Riders deep into Winnipeg territory. Pierce was a halfback from Vernon, Texas who went to Baylor. He led the Riders in 1949 with nine touchdowns in his rookie season. He would spend two years with the green and white.

Pierce’s backfield mates are No. 55 Del Wardlien and No. 88 Ken Charlton. Despite their unusual numbers, the two halfbacks would enjoy long careers with the Riders. Wardlien, who was from Great Falls, Montana, spent seven years in Regina from 1948-54. He had eight touchdowns in 1949.

Charlton was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1992. The Regina-born back attended Central Collegiate, and also played for the Regina West-Ends and the Regina Dales junior team. He played with the Riders in 1941 being named an all-star in his rookie season. Charlton joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and was stationed in Winnipeg so he joined the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in their quest for the Grey Cup. He returned to the Riders in 1943 before spending two seasons in Ottawa prior to returning to Saskatchewan for good.

 

In this second clip, Charlton crashed through the middle for a three-yard run. He isn’t the only SSHF member in the game. SSHF inductee Paul Dojack is also one of the four officials in the game and is listed as the judge-of-play.

The final clip features Roughriders quarterback Doug Belden stepping out of bounds — but continuing to run — before being hammered by a Blue Bomber into touch. Belden was with the Roughriders for two seasons – 1949 and 1952 – and played many collegiate sports at school with the Florida Gators and is in the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a ‘Gator Great’.

 

In this clip, the grey house on Ninth Avenue in the north end zone (which became the Youth Unlimited building) is visible looking nearly the same as it would for the next 65-plus years of Riders’ football.

In this footage, the Riders are running the T formation offence, one of the great early offences that features three running backs in a line behind the quarterback. Invented by Walter Camp in 1882 the T Formation had started to go out of vogue by 1949 as more teams looked to throw the ball more often. The Riders had opted for a more “modern” approach in Winnipeg but went back the T formation to great effect. George Hallas and the Chicago Bears used it to power to a 73-0 win in the 1940 NFL Championship Game and it is so associated with Bears football that it is referenced in their fight song. The University of Oklahoma won three straight American college football championships by using the T formation in the 1950s.

This footage is part of a series of reels of 16-mm film that was recently digitized by Bird Films in Regina. We would like to thank the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Heritage Organizations and Bird Films in Regina for their cooperation and support to allow us to make this footage more accessible.

There is close to 15 minutes of footage from the 1949 game. In addition, some footage from the 1951 Grey Cup has also been digitized. The Riders lost that game 21-14 to the Ottawa Rough Riders.

The official Grey Cup highlight films from 1966, 1967, 1969, and 1972 have also digitized as part of our permanent collection.

Plan your visit with the Sask. Sports Hall of Fame

We look forward to welcoming you back to the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (SSHF) starting on July 5. Before you come, please read the following so you can plan your visit with us.

Please access our online booking system to secure your timed entry prior to visiting. A maximum of 15 people can be in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame at any given time. We would appreciate it if you did not arrive more than five minutes before your allotted time and no more than 10 minutes after your scheduled arrival time.

Once you have arrived at the building, please enter the main front doors into the vestibule. At the scheduled time you will be met at the doors by SSHF staff who will guide you into the Hall of Fame. We will be happy to welcome you and answer any questions you may have.

The SSHF has implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures to keep you safe during your visit. You can learn more about them here.

In addition to enhanced cleaning, we will also be confirming our visitor’s names and a phone number. Your information will not be used for promotional purposes and will only be shared with the Saskatchewan Health Authority should they request it.

Effective Friday, October 1, 2021, as per the Government of Saskatchewan’s Public Health Measures, the SSHF is obliged to ask all visitors for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test received within 72 hours of their visit. This policy applies to all visitors 12 and older, with no exceptions.

For more on this policy, including accepted proof of vaccination, please click here.

As long as it remains mandated by provincial health guidelines, all visitors who are over the age of three are required to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times while inside the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. All SSHF staff will also be wearing masks for your added safety and peace of mind. If you do not have a mask, they are available on site.

Inside the SSHF galleries, socially distant directional guest flow must be obeyed during your visit. Please follow the directional decals on the floor and stay to the right. We require guests to keep two metres (or six feet) between themselves and anyone else who is not part of their group. We ask that you be patient and wait for others to move forward as required to respect proper distancing.

We would also ask that you please keep your group together and your children within your reach at all times. Groups of six or more may be asked to split into smaller groups.

You can find more information on what exhibits and features are currently open and available here.

As always, food and drink are not permitted inside the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

While we have washrooms onsite, we would appreciate your understanding in trying to use the washroom before your visit if possible.

Visitors who are not able to commit to the above protocols should please choose to postpone their visit to a later date.

SSHF marks first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30, 2021, marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The federal holiday was created to honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.

In the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 87th Call to Action, the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame wants to honour this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by recalling and celebrating Indigenous excellence and achievement in sport in our province and sharing  some of the hardships and challenges those athletes and builders faced. At the same time, we also want to honour and remember all those residential school survivors — though particularly our inductees — as part of this first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

We also want to share other resources that chronicle the stories and achievements of some of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous sporting legends.

While the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a time to learn and reflect on both the history and ongoing impacts of residential schools, the work of reconciliation is continuous.

To that end, the SSHF wants to continue to preserve and share the history of Saskatchewan’s Indigenous athletes. The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame has a display case and video kiosk celebrating Saskatchewan Indigenous athletes and their achievements on permanent display in the Physical Activity Complex at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Kinesiology in Saskatoon. 

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame currently has nine individual athletes who identify as Indigenous who have been inducted. Those athletes and builders are: Paul Acoose, Tony Cote, Alex Decoteau, David Greyeyes, Jacqueline Lavallee, Jim Neilson, Claude Petit, Fred Sasakamoose, and Bryan Trottier.

Our nomination process is open to the public and if you believe you know of an athlete, builder or team that deserves inclusion into the Hall of Fame we invite you to nominate them. You can learn more about that process here

Colette Bourgonje is a member of the SSHF’s 2021 Induction Class and has appeared at 10 Paralympic Games – both Winter and Summer — and has 10 Paralympic medals. While we look forward to being able to announce her induction date, we were pleased to have Colette be part of our Never Give Up program. Colette, who is of Métis ancestry and grew up in Porcupine Plain, shared her inspiring story with school children across the province through a virtual presentation.

Fred Sasakamoose, left, talks with Chicago Blackhawks captain Alexei Zhamnov after a ceremonial face-off.

Fred Sasakamoose was born on Christmas Day, 1933 in the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation. When he was six years old, he and his brother Frank were taken from their parents by Indian agents from the Canadian government and driven with 30 other children to the St. Michael’s Indian Residential School in Duck Lake more than 100 kilometres away. 

Saskamoose found a love of hockey at the residential school and one of the priests, Father Georges Roussel, helped hone his skill. He also suffered horrible abuse and recounted being raped as a young boy during a Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s community hearing in Prince Albert.

Despite what he suffered through as a child, Sasakamoose excelled as a hockey player and reached the National Hockey League as a 19-year-old in 1953 with the Chicago Black Hawks. In doing so, Sasakamoose became the first Indigenous person with Treaty status to play in the NHL. 

Sasakamoose would spend 35 years as a Band Councillor of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, six as Chief. He worked to give back to his community and build and develop minor hockey and other sports there.

There is no one better to share Fred’s story than Fred himself. Before he passed away on November 20, 2020, he completed his biography Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL’s First Treaty Indigenous Player. It is an important book and in writing it Fred said:

And I hope by sharing my story now, non-Indigenous readers might have a better understanding of the hurdles we have to overcome to succeed.

I hope by telling my people about the vision of my grandfather Alexan, they will see how their own belief in the future can strengthen those around them.

I hope by telling them about the friendship of men like Ray, like Dave, like Jerry, about the selflessness and generosity of people like George, they will see that there is goodness in the outside world too.

And finally, I hope my story reminds my people that while it might not be a world made for us, it’s a world we can make better by being proud of who we are and where we come from.

— Fred Sasakamoose, excerpt from Call Me Indian.

Bryan Trottier, six-time Stanley Cup champion and one of the greatest hockey players to ever come out of Saskatchewan, penned a first-person essay on his experiences as an Indigenous hockey player.

SSHF inductees like Sasakamoose, Tony Cote, David Greyeyes and Claude Petit also made considerable contributions to their communities after their sporting careers were over.

Tony Cote

Tony Cote

Cote was a residential school survivor and was instrumental in creating the Saskatchewan First Nations Summer and Winter Games in 1974 which are now known as the Tony Cote Summer and Winter Games. He was also elected Chief of Cote First Nation in 1970 and created numerous athletic opportunities for Indigenous youth while also dedicating his time to coaching.

Petit founded the Western Canadian Native Minor Hockey Championships and was a boxing coach, referee and administrator after he hung up his gloves after an impressive career. As a boxer, Petit was a five-time Canadian Army heavyweight boxing champion and the only Canadian to win the British Army Heavyweight Boxing Championship.

Greyeyes is also a residential school survivor who became a Lieutenant in the Canadian Army during the Second World War and was one of the best soccer players in the province during his career, representing Saskatchewan in games against some of the best teams from England. After his athletic career, he became a public servant and became the first Indigenous person to be a director of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.

Petit, Sasakamoose and Greyeyes each became a member of the Order of Canada. Petit, Greyeyes and Cote also received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit for their contributions to their communities and all three were also veterans who served in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Kenneth Moore

Kenneth Moore

In addition to the individual Indigenous inductees, the SSHF also has inductees who were members of an inducted team.

One of those is Kenneth Moore who was inducted as a member of the 1930 Regina Pats hockey team that won the Memorial Cup. Moore is also the first Indigenous athlete to win an Olympic gold medal.  

Moore was from the Peepeekisis First Nation and was the third of eight kids born in 1910. One biographer reports that Moore’s two older brothers died while attending a Residential School. Following that tragedy, the family moved from Balcarres to Regina.  

A gifted multi-sport athlete, he starred as a right winger on the Regina Pats junior hockey team. In 1930, the Pats met the West Toronto Nationals in the national junior final. The Pats won the first game 3-1 and after trailing 2-0 in Game 2, “Smiling” Ken Moore – as the Regina Leader-Post described him – took a pass in the slot and slid it home with 40 seconds left in the third period to give the Pats a 3-2 and their third Memorial Cup in six years. He also attended Campion College and Regina College on a scholarship where he captained the hockey and rugby teams. 

He joined the Winnipeg Hockey Club and they would go on to beat the Hamilton Tigers in two straight games to claim the 1931 Allan Cup, the national amateur hockey championship. As Allan Cup champions, Winnipeg also earned the right to represent Canada at the 1932 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York. Canada won five games and tied one to earn their fourth straight Olympic gold medal in hockey. Moore scored one goal in the tournament as Canada won Olympic gold.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame recently launched their Indigenous Heroes  educational website that features Boungonje, Decoteau and Trottier and many other Canadian Indigenous sporting legends.

These are but a few of the many stories of both Indigenous athletes in Saskatchewan and also the experience of residential school survivors.

Following the discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the Marieval Indian Residential School at the current site of Cowessess First Nation — along with seven other sites in Canada to date — the importance of learning about the history and impact of residential schools has only increased.

The staff at the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame acknowledges the impact and enduring legacy of the residential school system in Canada. Today we reflect on that history, but each day we are dedicated to listening to and learning from the First Nations as we commit to moving towards reconciliation.

To that end, here are some other useful resources to learn more about the history of the residential school system and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The film We Were Children is available from CBC Gem and is available for rent from the National Film Board of Canada.

Here is a list of 150 acts of reconciliation penned for Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Learn the history behind Phyllis Webstad’s residential school experience which led to the creation of “Orange Shirt Day”.

The University of Alberta is offering Indigenous Canada, a  free, 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course from their Faculty of Native Studies.

You can also read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls To Action and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation offers numerous resources.

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame is located on Treaty 4 land which is situated on the territory of the Anihšināpēk (Saulteaux), Dakota, Lakota, Nakota (Assiniboine), Nêhiyawak (Cree), and the homeland of the Métis Nation.

The SSHF’s mandate is to share the sport history of the land that is also located on Treaties 2, 5, 6, 8 and 10 territory. Those territories are also the traditional lands of the Anihšināpēk (Saulteaux), Dakota, Denesuline (Dene/Chipewyan), Lakota, Nakota (Assiniboine), Nêhiyawak (Cree), and the homeland of the Métis Nation.

 

Sask. government’s new vaccine requirements go into effect Oct. 1

Effective Friday, October 1, 2021, as per the Government of Saskatchewan’s Public Health Measures, the SSHF is obliged to ask all visitors for proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test received within 72 hours of their visit. This policy applies to all visitors 12 and older, with no exceptions.

Acceptable proof of vaccination includes:

  • Complete COVID-19 vaccination record in a printed or electronic format from eHealth Saskatchewan with a QR code,
  • Your eHealth Saskatchewan QR Code on a mobile phone,
  • Your printed eHealth Saskatchewan QR Code,
  • Or the wallet card you received at the time of immunization. Photo identification will also be required to match the guest to their proof of vaccination. Vaccinated youths between the ages of 12 and 17 do not need to show ID if accompanied by a vaccinated adult.

Acceptable documentation for a negative test result includes a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or a rapid antigen test provided by a certified healthcare provider from within the previous 72 hours. A list of locations and labs offering testing services is available here. Self-administered take-home rapid antigen tests (e.g. pictures of negative tests) will not be accepted as valid proof of negative COVID-19 test results.

Anyone declining to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will be denied entry to the Hall of Fame.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the proof of vaccination or negative test requirement. If the attending adult cannot meet the vaccine/negative test requirement any children under 12 would also be denied entry.

As has been our policy since re-opening, all visitors must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth while inside the Hall of Fame.

We thank our visitors for their patience and understanding as we navigate these changes and we thank you for your patronage.