COLUMN: Dave Leaderhouse — Feb. 8, 2014

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Dave Leaderhouse
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The new Prince Albert Hall of Famers were greeted after a ceremonial faceoff prior to the Prince Albert Raiders game on Tuesday by the two captains, Josh Morrissey of the Raiders and Colby Cave of the Swift Current Broncos.

This is always such an exciting time of the year for myself because it is when Prince Albert’s rich sporting history takes centre stage and past accomplishments are acknowledged.

Such was the case earlier this week when the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2014 class of inductees and what a group it is.

Going into the hall in the athlete’s category are Amanda Dunn, Ryan Roznowsky and Josef Tesar Jr. while the builder’s category will grow by two with the inclusion of Pat Regel and Bob Coffin. Ward Howat gets the nod for meritorious service to sport and the 1972 West Hill Flyers are entering the shrine in the team category. The Prince Albert Sports Council will be feted as the association of the year.

This crop of athletes, volunteers and groups represents a great cross-section of what Prince Albert delivers in the sporting world on a yearly basis. Everyone assumes that hockey is the epicentre of the sporting community and while it is a major player and always will be, so many other sports produce talented individuals and it brings a smile to my face to see them get the recognition they deserve.

Take Amanda Dunn for example. Then known as Amanda MacDonald she was dominant in racquetball for nearly two decades winning five straight Canadian junior titles from 1993-97 and also representing Canada at world events for three of those years.

Then there is Josef Tesar Jr. I remember going to the Prince Albert Wrestling Club workouts to do stories on his father and through the years the younger Tesar developed into an elite athlete in his own right winning 10 provincial championships and capturing his first national title at the tender age of 12. Tesar Jr. has four national titles to his credit and also won a gold medal at the 1998 Canadian university championships.

Roznowsky holds a special place in my heart because I got to watch this talented swimmer and bowler grow up as his father was my first boss in the newspaper industry many, many years ago. Ryan never let his handicap get in the way of living life to the fullest and as a result won almost 20 medals in provincial Special Olympics competitions over a span of 20 years.

Another honouree with whom I have had a long association is Ward Howat. We grew up in the same neck of the woods and played some minor hockey together as kids, but it was when Ward donned the referee’s uniform that he excelled. Ward was a common fixture at the arenas in Prince Albert and surrounding area for nearly three decades and has been even more active off the ice as a co-ordinator or evaluator with both the local and provincial officiating associations. He still is involved in the officiating aspect of the game as he is often a video replay judge at the Prince Albert Raider home games.

When I got back into the newspaper business a couple of years ago one of the newer attractions was minor football. There was none of that my first go around, but one name that kept popping up in my efforts to provide coverage of the sport was Bob Coffin. This man has been involved in almost every level of the game in Prince Albert and has been a big reason for its popularity in the last decade. Bob is also heavily involved in local track and field competitions, which is another sport that has taken off in recent years.

The inclusion of Pat Regel into the hall of fame also brought a smile to my face. For years I have had dealings with her husband Dale and I often heard that Pat was an accomplished skater and instructor, but never had the opportunity to meet her. Until last week! While trying to secure information for a story on the local skating club I had the pleasure of finally meeting Pat and within days came the announcement of her being honoured for a long history in the sport. I have heard that numerous hockey players over the years have benefited from her power-skating instruction and the she, along with the other coaches of the Prince Albert Skating Club, have developed a program that is the envy of the province. It was nice to finally meet her and with her husband already enshrined in the hall of fame it is a proud moment for the Regel family and rightfully so.

Not a lot is known about the West Hill Flyers team other than they were dominant in winning both city and provincial titles in 1972. Ditto for the Sports Council although I am a bit more familiar with that group as they have benefited numerous organizations over the years both financially and in other supportive measures.

It will be fun doing feature stories on everyone in the days leading up to the induction banquet, which is slated for April 26 in the Ches Leach Lounge at the Art Hauser Centre.

This banquet is always so much fun as the board of directors does an incredible job of honouring their guests. The rich sporting history of Prince Albert is the centre piece of the evening and this year’s class certainly brings the Hall of Fame to another level. Congratulations to everyone and I can’t wait to sit down and talk to you individually.

 

Dave Leaderhouse is a reporter with the Prince Albert Daily Herald. His column runs every third Saturday.

Organizations: Prince Albert, Prince Albert Sports Council, Special Olympics Art Hauser Centre

Geographic location: Canada

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