Three directors elected at SSHF AGM

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame added two new Board members and re-elected a sitting Board member to another term at their Annual General Meeting on June 5.

Kelvin Ostapowich was re-elected to a third, three-year term, while Taylor Froehlich and Jennifer Leflar were each elected to their first, three-year terms.

The minutes from the 2024 SSHF AGM are now available here.

Froehlich is originally from Moose Jaw and grew up playing competitive fastball which she continues to play. After graduating from Mount Royal University in Calgary, she moved to Regina where she passed the Common Final Exam of the CPA program in 2019 and officially became a Chartered Professional Accountant in 2021. Froehlich works at The Corner Office as a Senior Associate, providing contracted CFO and Controller services to a diverse client base. She oversees more than 20 clients at The Corner Office, spanning across different industries, with a specialized focus on non-profit organizations.

Leflar is the vice president responsible for the enterprise change management team at SGI. Prior to her role as VP, she led one of the company’s busiest corporate functions, the communications, design and media relations teams. She also served as Director of Corporate Strategy in 2017 and 2018. Jennifer began her career as a radio and television news reporter, winning industry awards for breaking news coverage. Leflar holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Regina, with a focus on executive management. She lives in Regina with her husband and two kids. A lifelong baseball fan, she has visited many iconic ballparks and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Ostapowich was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 1986 Regina Rams national champion football team. He has been a long-serving member of the Rams’ Board. He works in the wealth management sector as a Portfolio Manager with CIBC Wood Gundy. Ostapowich sat as Chair of the Sport History Committee in 2023-24.

Both Tim Leier and Scott Kistner have finished their time on the SSHF Board and did not seek re-election.

Robb Elchuk returns to serve another year as the Chair of the Hall of Fame. Elchuk had served a two-year term as Chair from 2020 to 2022 and helped guide the SSHF through the pandemic before moving into the Past Chair role. Trent Blezy served as Chair for a two-year term from 2022-24 and led the Hall of Fame through a transitional time and the hiring of a new Executive Director. Blezy will now serve as the Past Chair. Karen Meban (Vice Chair) and Mike Babcock (Treasurer) retain their positions as Officers of the Hall.

During the AGM, Neal Fense from Virtus Group presented the independent auditor’s report and the financial statement for the 2023/24 fiscal year which is available here.

The 2024-25 SSHF Board of Directors:

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Chair – Robb Elchuk
Vice Chair – Karen Meban
Treasurer – Mike Babcock
Past Chair – Trent Blezy

DIRECTORS
Amber Day
Taylor Froehlich
Tenille Grimeau
Jennifer Leflar
Jeff Lightheart
Kelvin Ostapowich
Chris Weitzel
Cary Wessel

Get active with the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame!

Want something to do with your children this summer? Our Creating Active Champions summer program is the place to be for some fun and learning!  Choose one of these three options which best suits your needs! Our activities will be Olympic-themed this summer to coincide with the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. Get ready to compete!

Programming runs from July 2 – August 16

Book early to avoid disappointment!

All individuals and groups must pre-register

1) Bring your child or group for 90 minutes of fun both inside the Hall of Fame and across the street in Victoria Park.

For ages 4-12. A donation of $2 per child is requested. Adult chaperones must be present at all times. There is a maximum of 30 participants in each session.

The program is offered twice daily, Monday, Tuesday & Thursday:
9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

2) Drop off your child to spend a half day with us having fun and learning about STEM in sport. Each week will be a different theme sports day. For ages 5-12. A donation of $10 per child is requested. There is a maximum of 12 participants in each session.

The program is offered on Wednesdays:
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

3) Let us bring the programming to your centre! Pick a morning or afternoon that suits you and we will deliver our programming at your facility. Centres must have enough participants to run 2 group sessions per visit.  Limited to one visit per location during the summer.

For ages 4-12. A $30 donation per location is requested. Adult chaperones must be present.

The program is offered twice daily on Fridays:
One location per time slot
9:30 – 11:45 a.m.  (2 sessions: 9:30 – 10:30, 10:45 – 11:45)
1:00 – 3:15 p.m.  (2 sessions: 1:00 – 2:00, 2:15 – 3:15)

 

A special thank you to our sponsors:

POINTS TO REMEMBER:

  • Outside activities will only proceed weather permitting. During inclement weather, all activities will take place inside the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (SSHF) or your facility.
  • All group leaders/parents/guardians/chaperones must ensure their child is dressed for the weather and outfitted with sunscreen, bug spray and a water bottle. The water fountain in the SSHF building is off-limits other than to fill water bottles.
  • An adult chaperone must be present at all times with groups and individuals, except for the half-day sessions. We encourage their participation as well! For larger groups, we would appreciate a 1:8 chaperone/child ratio.
  • Donation fees for groups and individuals can be paid by cash, cheque or credit card. We do not have debit available at the location.
  • The SSHF reserves the right to cancel the program session if a minimum of 5 participants are not enrolled.
  • Pre-registration must occur a minimum of 24 hours in advance while programming space remains available.
  • We require at least 24 hours’ notice for cancellations.
  • The SSHF promotes admission by donation to its galleries on a regular basis. Summer participants are provided with a “donation pass” to encourage them to come back throughout the summer with their families to engage in our sport interactives.

SSHF will welcome seven new inductees in 2024 Class

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (SSHF) is pleased to announce the seven (7) inductees who will become the newest members of the SSHF this fall.

The Class of 2024 features three inductees in the athlete category, two builders and two teams.

The 2024 inductees are:

IN THE ATHLETE CATEGORY:

Ray Mitsuing (Loon Lake) – Rodeo

Carl Olson (Fir Mountain) – Rodeo

Chelsea Stone (Mazzei) (Regina) – Taekwondo

IN THE BUILDER CATEGORY:

Karen Howard (Melville) – Figure Skating

Wayne Hellquist (Saskatoon) – Volleyball

IN THE TEAM CATEGORY:

2018, 2019 & 2023 Sherry Anderson Senior Women’s Curling Rink

2003-04 University of Saskatchewan Huskies Men’s Volleyball Team

 

Members of the 2024 SSHF Induction Class pictured are Wayne Hellquist (back left), Nathan Johnson, and Brandon Needham from the 2003-04 University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s volleyball team, and Brent Klein, great nephew of Carl Olson; Anita Silvernagle (front left), Patti Hersikorn, and Sherry Anderson from the Sherry Anderson senior curling team, Karen Howard, Chelsea Stone (Mazzei), and Ray Mitsuing.

The 2024 Induction Dinner & Ceremony will be held at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina on Saturday, September 28, 2024. Tickets are now available by completing the form at the bottom of this page.

Karen Howard judged the women’s figure skating competition at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. She served as a judge and/or referee at three World Figure Skating Championships and four Junior World Figure Skating Championships. Closer to home she has been a judge, evaluator, and referee for Skate Saskatchewan for more than 40 years and continues to share her expertise to work with and mentor officials, skaters, coaches and parents.

Wayne Hellquist has served as a board member and executive at the national and provincial level in volleyball and was instrumental in the Canadian women’s national team being centralized in Regina during the 1980s. Wayne spent 14 years on the Board of the Canadian Olympic Committee, eight as vice president and he became the first person from Saskatchewan ever elected to serve as president. He also helped create the para-sport volleyball program and in 2000 he was Chef de Mission for the Canadian Paralympic team.

Ray Mitsuing competed as a chuckwagon driver for 36 years and qualified to compete at the Calgary Stampede for 36 consecutive years. In 1992 he won the Aggregate Championship at the Calgary Stampede and also earned the fastest time award there three times. He won the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association championship seven times during his distinguished career. He finished in the top-10 on the CPCA Tour in each of his last 12 seasons.

Carl Olson became the first Canadian-born cowboy to win a World Rodeo Championship in saddle bronc in 1947. Carl also won the first Canadian All-Around Rodeo title in 1945 and won again in 1948. He also won the saddle bronc national title three times and a national steer wrestling title. He was inducted into the Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1982 and passed away in 1983.

Chelsea Stone won 19 consecutive national championships in her weight class in sparring. She enjoyed an 18-year career as a member of the Canadian national team and served as team captain at five international competitions. In 2002 she was named the Canadian Taekwon-Do Federation International’s Athlete of the Year and the Sask Sport Female Athlete of the Year after winning four medals at junior worlds. She also medalled twice at the International Taekwon-Do Federation World Championships.

The 2003-04 University of Saskatchewan Huskies Men’s Volleyball Team won the school’s fourth men’s national collegiate volleyball title beating Alberta in five sets to claim the U Sports championship. The Huskies were the top-ranked team in the country after winning the Canada West title. During the pre-season they also beat Brigham Young University who would win the American NCAA volleyball title that year. Six of the Huskies starting seven-man rotation hailed from Saskatchewan and three members of the team won significant individual honours at season’s end.

The senior women’s curling foursome of Sherry Anderson, Patty Hersikorn, Brenda Goertzen, and Anita Silvernagle formed in 2016. They won six consecutive provincial senior curling titles, five consecutive national senior curling championships and three World Senior Curling Championships – each of which is a record. Based out of the Nutana Curling Club in Saskatoon, the Anderson foursome won their first senior world title in 2018 and repeated as champion in 2019 before winning again in 2023. This past year the rink was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.

The Atlas Hotel (4177 Albert Street, Regina) is the host hotel for the 2024 Induction Dinner & Ceremony.

  • Guests can book their accommodations online, by contacting the hotel directly at 1-306-586-3443 or by emailing [email protected] and quoting the following Block Code: 092724SHF.
  • The Room rate is $159.95 (plus 11% tax & 3% Destination Marketing Fee) for a double room (2 Queen beds). Maximum occupancy of 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:

  • 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 30, 2024. Individuals can still reserve rooms but now it will depend on availability and may be at a different rate.

Tickets for the 2024 Induction Dinner & Ceremony are $120 per person and include a charitable receipt. Tables of eight are also available for $960. New this year is the option to purchase an MVP table for $1,200 which includes six tickets for your party and two tickets that will go to a previous SSHF inductee and their guest who will join you for the dinner and ceremony. For more information on the MVP table, please call us at 306-780-9232.

Tickets may be purchased below or by calling the Hall of Fame.

Saskatoon exhibit celebrates province’s female sport stars and pioneers

The U Sports national women’s hockey championship begins Thursday at Merlis Belsher Place in Saskatoon.

The theme of the tournament is ‘See Them, Be Them’ and the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame is proud to have a display upstairs in the arena celebrating the history of women in sport in Saskatchewan with an emphasis on hockey and athletes from the University of Saskatchewan.

The province has been home to numerous women’s sport pioneers and trailblazers like Ethel Catherwood, Pat Lawson, Mary Baker, and Shannon Miller. In addition, former Huskies like Joyce Gamborg, Diane Jones Konihowski, and Donna Veale went on to be standouts in their sports. Artifacts honouring their accomplishments are part of this display.

So too are photos and artifacts celebrating hockey players like Hayley Wickenheiser and fellow multi-gold medalist Colleen Sostorics along with current national team members Emily Clark and Sophie Shirley who have helped solidify Saskatchewan’s reputation for being a hotbed for hockey talent.

This exhibit honours Saskatchewan’s great sporting legacy as the next generation of talent vies for a national championship.

The host University of Saskatchewan Huskies open the tournament Thursday at 7 p.m. local time.

Free Brownridge book for all children who visit Hall this winter

This winter the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame is celebrating the season with a special offer featuring the work of a Hall of Fame inductee.

Any family with a child aged 10 or under who visits the Hall of Fame before March 31 will receive a copy of the book A Prairie Boy by William Roy Brownridge. Four of Brownridge’s prints are currently on display as part of the SSHF’s A Winter’s Warmth: Celebrating the Joys of Winter Sports exhibit.

Brownridge was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2022 as a builder in the sport of hockey for his work as an artist, author, and designer. A renowned artist from the hamlet of Vawn, Bill Brownridge grew up in the 1930s with spina bifida but still managed to get on the ice and play pond hockey in his boots or moccasins. His love of sport, particularly hockey, and the province’s natural environment have been a source of inspiration in his career as an artist ever since.

Brownridge’s work has been extremely popular in the hockey community with a number of National Hockey League players, coaches and executives owning his work.

A Prairie Boy is Brownridge’s latest children’s art book. Highlighted by his distinct style of art, the book tells the story of a young Métis boy named Tony who lives on his grandparents’ farm and dreams of making his local hockey team.

“I find great enjoyment in watching children at play,” Brownridge said. “Their joyous laughter, enthusiasm, and naivete are a source of endless fascination – especially when the setting is a hauntingly beautiful prairie or foothills landscape.”

Few artists or authors have captured the beauty and culture of winter in Saskatchewan quite like Brownridge.

The Hall of Fame is proud to maintain an accessible and open museum for all residents of Regina, operating on an admission-by-donation basis. We are pleased to be able to make this offer as part of our mandate to share the stories of Saskatchewan’s sport history.

This offer would not be possible without the partnership and support of Bill Brownridge and the Brownridge family. The SSHF thanks them for their support of the Hall of Fame and for supporting children’s literacy.

SSHF offers free two-hour program during February school break

Kids out of school and don’t know what to do? Come hang out and have some fun at the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame!

From February 20-23, you can experience Saskatchewan’s great sport history with our School’s Out program. Book a time at either 10:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. to receive a formal tour of the SSHF galleries, active play on our adaptive curling rink, STEM Gallery, and multisport simulator and then we’ll take it outside for some fun in the snow (weather permitting) in Victoria Park. Programs are two hours in length and there will be time at the end to warm up with hot chocolate and cookies in our boardroom after the fun is over. The program is free thanks to a Winter Initiatives Grant from the City of Regina. This program is best suited for children 4-12 years of age.

There is a limit of 25 participants per session (children and adults).

To book a time for you and your children, visit our home page and in the “Make Your Reservation” widget at the top of the page, select “School’s Out!” from the drop-down menu under ‘Select an Event Type’ and fill out the date and time you would like to sign up.

Questions? Please email our Education Coordinator Vickie Krauss at [email protected] or call 306-780-9232.

Parents are expected to stay with their children and are welcome to participate as well. Water bottles are recommended as the water fountain is not available to the public. Please dress appropriately for the weather outside.

If you need to cancel your booking, please email [email protected].

Breakfast of Champions taking place Sunday, Feb 4

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame is excited to partner with the Frost Downtown hub for the Breakfast of Champions on Sunday, February 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the tent at Pat Fiacco Plaza in Victoria Park.

This free pancake breakfast will feature six Hall of Fame inductees who will be cooking and serving pancakes as well as playing some crokicurl in the park – weather permitting.

Our special guests include Jan Betker, Marcia Gudereit, and Anita Ford from the Sandra Schmirler curling team, 1998 Olympic gold medallists, as well as Kenda Richards, Lorne Lasuita, and Frank Macera.

Heavy Metal Curling features 19th century stone

One of the oldest items in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame’s collection is a 60-pound iron curling stone from 1890. The stone is part of our new Heavy Metal Curling display. The iron stone is currently on display behind glass, but a 60-pound kettlebell is also on display to give you a sense of the heft needed to curl in the 19th Century. The iron curling stone is next to a modern granite stone for an easy comparison of the evolution of the curling stone.

Granite is both lighter and better suited to the environments where curling is played. All of the granite for curling stones comes from two places, Ailsa Craig, an island in Scotland, and the Trefor Granite Quarry in Wales. Kays of Scotland has been making stones from the Ailsa Craig granite since 1851.

While granite stones have always been the standard in curling, there was a time in Canada when granite wasn’t as accessible. To meet the need, stones made of iron were developed in Montreal as an alternative with Canada being the only country known to have used them. Iron stones were notably heavier, weighing between 60-80 lbs. (27.2-36.3 kg) compared to modern granite stones which are 44.1 lbs. (20 kg). Iron stones were also less than ideal due to their propensity to rust during exposure to ice and water.

Our Heavy Metal Curling display also features historic photos and information from the early years of curling in Saskatchewan.

Winter Fun coming at Pop-Up event on Nov. 25

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (2205 Victoria Avenue in Regina) will be hosting a free Winter Fun Pop-up event on Saturday, Nov. 25 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

This event is supported by the City of Regina and we are excited to offer a fun afternoon of activities for the whole family.

The day will start inside with a short tour of the Hall of Fame along with some indoor games on our multi-sport simulator, adaptive curling rink, and in our interactive STEM Gallery sponsored by SaskTel. After an hour we will head outside (weather permitting) to play some games in Victoria Park to try out some snowshoes for another hour. The snowshoes will be provided for free.

After playing outside everyone is welcome to come back to the Hall of Fame for some hot chocolate and snacks in our boardroom. Guests can continue to play inside the Hall of Fame on their own as well as we will remain open until 4 p.m.

Visitors to the Hall of Fame can test their vertical jump, their balance, their strength, their standing long jump, their flexibility, and their grip strength at our STEM Interactive Gallery stations. The multi-sport simulator is a popular favourite that allows visitors to test their sporting skills in a variety of virtual games like baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, and more. Our four-rock adaptive curling “ice” allows visitors to slide their stones down the ice either from their knees or with an adaptive stick that affixes to the stone.

This event will go forward regardless of the weather. We have extra indoor activities planned if the weather proves to be too cold and if there is no snow for snowshoeing we will adjust accordingly. We ask that visitors arrive a little before 12:30 p.m. so they can take their winter coats off and settle inside the Hall of Fame so we can begin on time. We ask that children be accompanied by an adult for the duration of their visit.

Residential school survivors made lasting mark in Sask. sporting world

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th honours the children who never came home and the survivors of the residential school system as well as their families and communities.

The commemoration of the history and ongoing impact of the residential school system is an important part of the reconciliation process. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was established in response to Call to Action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada which called for a federal statutory day of commemoration.

At the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, we are committed to following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 87th Call to Action that calls on sports halls of fame to provide public education that tells the national story of Aboriginal athletes in history.

In that spirit, we are commemorating this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by sharing some of the stories of inductees who had great athletic achievements despite what they suffered as children in the residential school system. We share them here as part of our learning and reflection on our shared history.

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

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.

Sasakamoose wrote vividly and candidly about his experience at the residential school in his 2021 autobiography Call Me Indian: From the Trauma of Residential School to Becoming the NHL’s First Treaty Indigenous Player. He suffered horrible abuse at the school as well as dehumanizing treatment along with the other students.

Despite all that he suffered 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.

Before he reached the NHL, Sasakamoose starred as a junior player in Moose Jaw being named the Most Valuable Player in the Western Canadian Junior Hockey League in 1953-54. His junior career almost didn’t happen. Such was the pull of home after being taken from his family, Sasakamoose began walking the 400 kilometres back to Ahtahkakoop after two weeks in Moose Jaw before being convinced to stick it out and stay.

Sasakamoose would come home and 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.

Alex Decoteau

Alex Decoteau was born on the Red Pheasant First Nation in 1887 and was of Cree and Métis descent. His father Peter Decoteau fought beside Plains Cree Chief Pîhtokahanapiwiyin (Poundmaker) at the Battle of Cut Knife during the North-West Rebellion. Peter was an employee of the Indian Department when he was murdered. Alex was four years old at the time and he and his four siblings were sent to the Battleford Industrial School.

When it opened in 1883, the Battlefords Industrial School was the first residential school in Canada. Two more schools opened a year later and the Davin Report – which called for the “aggressive assimilation” of Indigenous children through the use and expansion of these new residential schools – was submitted to the Federal government.

After his time at the Battlefords Industrial School, Decoteau moved to Edmonton where he became the first Indigenous police officer in Canada in 1911. He was also a world-class distance runner. He became the first Saskatchewan athlete to compete at the Olympic Games when he ran the 5,000-metres in 1912.

He served in the 202nd Infantry Battalion and the 49th Battalion during the First World War and was killed during the Second Battle of Passchendaele in 1917.

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame currently has 10 individual athletes who identify as Indigenous and have been inducted. Those athletes and builders are: Paul Acoose, Colette Bourgonje, Tony Cote, Alex Decoteau, David Greyeyes, Jacqueline Lavallee, Jim Neilson, Claude Petit, Fred Sasakamoose, and Bryan Trottier.

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

Ken Moore

Kenneth Moore, from the Peepeekisis Cree Nation, was inducted into the SSHF 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 born in 1910 as the third of eight siblings. His two older brothers had been taken to the Brandon Indian Residential School in Manitoba – more than 300 kilometres away. The two older Moore brothers died at the Brandon Indian Residential School with no details or cause provided to the family. Kenneth would have been forced to attend the school when he turned seven. Instead, the Moore family fled the Peepeekisis First Nation in the middle of the night.

The family settled in Regina, which was still more than 100 km from their home, but the younger Moore children were able to avoid the residential school system.

Ken Moore would star as a right winger on the Regina Pats junior hockey team. In 1930, the Pats met the West Toronto Nationals in the Memorial Cup final. Moore would score the game-winning goal with 40 seconds left which gave the Pats the series win 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.

Moore later joined the Winnipeg Hockey Club and helped them 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. Canada won five games and tied one to earn their fourth straight Olympic gold medal in hockey.

These stories from our inductees are just a small example of the countless ways the residential school system impacted the Indigenous population.

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame is proud to be physically located in Treaty 4 territory, which is home to the Cree, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, 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, Nakota, and Saulteaux people since time immemorial and are the traditional homelands of the Métis Nation.

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.

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

Come meet the Class of 2023 on Sept. 23 at our open house!

In conjunction with the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame’s Induction Dinner & Ceremony, we will be hosting an open house and autograph session with the Class of 2023 on Saturday, September 23 from 1-2 p.m. at the Hall of Fame (2205 Victoria Ave. in Regina).

This event is open to the public and admission is by donation. The SSHF will also have autograph sheets available.

This year’s Induction Class features seven great individual inductees. The four athletes heading into the Hall of Fame are Jaime (Cruickshank) Boyer (Saskatoon – Multi sport), Ryan Getzlaf (Regina – Hockey), Joan McEachern (Lanigan – Soccer), and Hayley Wickenheiser OC (Shaunavon – Hockey). The three builders being enshrined are Lorne Lasuita (Wynyard – Multi sport), Bernadette McIntyre (Bethune – Curling), and Noreen Murphy (Saskatoon – Softball).

Due to her commitments as the Assistant General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs during training camp, Hayley Wickenheiser is not expected to be able to attend. However, the other six inductees will all be on hand to meet fans and supporters during the hour-long open house. We also respectfully ask that visitors limit themselves to one or two items to be signed.

In addition to the autograph session, this will be the unveiling of the exhibits of the seven new inductees as part of our Dedication to Sport exhibit.

The Hall of Fame will be open for its regular noon to 4 p.m. hours on the 23rd.

Acoose: the province’s first great champion

In the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 87th Call to Action, the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame marks National Indigenous Peoples Day by celebrating Indigenous excellence and achievement in sport and sharing their stories.

At the same time, the SSHF also looks to spotlight the challenges and hardships that the SSHF’s Indigenous inductees overcame in achieving their goals. The SSHF currently has 10 individual inductees who identify as Indigenous. Each of those inductees has a unique story, but the ability to overcome hardships and a passion for giving back to their communities is a common thread with each athlete or builder.

The SSHF’s current featured exhibit Grit celebrates great athletic determination so it was only natural that the stories of Indigenous success are highlighted.

Paul Acoose’s story is featured as part of the exhibit. A gifted Nakawē (Saulteaux) distance runner from the Zagime Anishinabek (previously known as the Sakimay) First Nation, Acoose came from a long line of distance runners. His grandfather Quewich gained renown for his abilities as a hunter. While others rode horses while hunting buffalo, Quewich would shoot his arrows while pursuing the buffalo on foot. Paul’s father Samuel Acoose was also a highly esteemed runner in his own right.

Accose’s competitive running career was short, but remarkable all the same.

Acoose was the first winner of The Standard Marathon Trophy, emblematic of the 10-mile championship in the province of Saskatchewan. He won that first championship by more than eight minutes on July 1, 1908 in Regina, as he dominated the best runners in the province. His name is engraved prominently as the first provincial champion. The Standard Marathon Trophy is featured as part of Grit which is currently on display.

At the turn of the 20th century, match races were a popular spectator sport with opportunities to run professionally. After an impressive showing during a sports day in Grenfell, Acoose was offered a chance to become a professional in 1909. While that made him ineligible to compete at the upcoming 1910 Summer Olympics in London, Acoose accepted the offer.

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.

While match races drew notable crowds, they also drew plenty of interest from gamblers. When Acoose and Appleby met in a rematch in Winnipeg, gamblers were suspected of being the culprits of throwing tacks on the track. Appleby was unaffected in his rubber-soled shoes, but Acoose ran in moccasins that were easily penetrated by the tacks. He bravely carried on for two more miles in bare feet before having to bow out of a race he had been winning before being sabotaged.

Acoose’s biggest victory came against famed Onondaga runner Tom Longboat. Acoose had wanted to test himself against Longboat who had risen to fame after winning the Boston Marathon in a record time in 1907 and was considered the greatest marathon runner in the world. They met on March 30, 1910, in Toronto in a duel that Acoose won.

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

Paul Acoose was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1983.

While The Standard Marathon Trophy is currently on display, the SSHF has partnered with the University of Saskatchewan to ensure that the majority of the artifacts in our collection honouring Indigenous athletes are on permanent display. A display case and video kiosk celebrating Saskatchewan Indigenous athletes and their achievements are on permanent display in the Physical Activity Complex at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Kinesiology in Saskatoon.

You can learn more about the other Indigenous inductees in the SSHF – Colette Bourgonje, Tony Cote, Alex DecoteauDavid GreyeyesJacqueline Lavallee, Jim Neilson, Claude PetitFred Sasakamoose, and Bryan Trottier – on the SSHF website.

For the past year, the Hall of Fame has offered an outreach program titled, Indigenous Legacies in Sport, to schools across the province. The program 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 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.

Pride and perseverance: Miller stood up and fought as hockey trailblazer

Shannon Miller has been a trailblazer throughout her sporting life.
The 2021 Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame inductee not only broke new ground as a coach in women’s hockey, but she also did so while being openly gay. As we celebrate Pride Month, the Hall of Fame celebrates the successes and challenges overcome by our LGBTQ2S+ inductees like Miller.
After growing up playing hockey in Melfort, Miller was an inaugural member of the University of Saskatchewan’s women’s hockey program. She and two other women spent two years fighting red tape and discrimination to create a girls’ hockey league in Calgary. There, she also launched and directed the first high-performance training program for female hockey players at the Olympic Oval.
At the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, Miller was the head coach of the national team as women’s hockey made its Olympic debut. She was the only female head coach at the tournament.
“There was a lot of difficult stuff that happened that year. When you’re the first woman and you’re openly gay – I was just a target,” Miller said. “I felt like a deer running through the forest during hunting season.”

Shannon Miller at the 1997 IIHF World Championships with Nancy Drolet.

Miller had worked her way through the ranks to earn the national team job. She had helped coach Alberta to the first women’s hockey gold medal at the 1991 Canada Winter Games. She became an assistant coach for the Canadian women’s national team when they won the worlds in 1992 and 1994. Miller was named the head coach and she guided Canada to the 1997 IIHF World Championship in overtime against the United States.
Despite the on-ice success and a proven track record of building programs, it wasn’t smooth sailing.
“I felt like I was in a war against almost everybody. Especially the media attacking me. That really wore on me and my team,” Miller said.
“Every day I would put my shield of armour on and decide well I’m the first woman in the world to do this and I’m openly gay. And the media, they don’t like it. That was uphill and against the wind to say the very least. But I loved working with the players and I loved working with the staff. I mean when you coach it is so much about passion and vision and commitment to the process and commitment to each other and so no matter how difficult it was, it was still great.”
After losing the gold medal game to the Americans at the Olympics to claim silver, Miller moved on to build the women’s hockey program at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
The Bulldogs won three of the first four NCAA national championships and ultimately won five under Miller.
“When I was there and had the support of the president and the athletic director before they both left, we were budgeted about middle-of-the-pack… but we were winning. And we were so proud of that. We were the little engine that could,” Miller said.

Shannon Miller speaking at White House.

That support for the program waned. Despite losing ground to their fellow Division I programs in terms of their resources, the Bulldogs remained competitive. In total, the team made 10 NCAA tournament appearances in her tenure.
Minnesota Duluth had won 12 of their previous 13 games heading into Christmas break and were ranked sixth in the NCAA when Miller was told her contract wasn’t being renewed. They said she could stay on for the rest of the season, but it would be her last. Miller said she just about fell out of her chair when she was told.
No coach in NCAA women’s hockey had more national titles (5) or Final Four wins (11) than Miller did at the time.
“I knew what was going on. I’m not stupid,” Miller said. “I had so much support, I immediately called my own press conference and said I was going to sue them.
“I sued them for Title IX sex discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination. And I won a Federal lawsuit. It was really difficult, but it was very important to do it.”
Miller’s dad died when she was 13, but she had strong family support, including both sets of grandparents. She described them as grounded, humble, and hard-working people.
“I will never forget the lessons they taught me,” she said of her grandparents who can be seen sitting directly behind the Canada bench during the 1998 Olympics. “I know those are my roots and that is my foundation. When you go back inside yourself and really remember who you are and where you came from, it’s not difficult to be strong and to rise up and to fight when you need to and to support others and lift others up.”
Miller lives in California with her partner Jen Banford and is back being involved in hockey as the vice president of branding and community relations for Acrisure Arena and the American Hockey League’s Coachella Valley Firebirds who are in the Calder Cup finals in their first season.
She remains as resilient and passionate about hockey as ever.
“I think I can credit the fact that I grew up in Melfort with that support,” she said. “My dad died. I had a difficult life anyway, I just got stronger and stronger as my life went on and I had no fear.
“When somebody wrongs you like that. The only right thing to do is to stand up and fight. And I did. And I won.”