© Herald Photo by Dave Leaderhouse
The Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame celebrated the rich sporting history in the city and surrounding area on Saturday when the newest class of honourees were inducted into the local shrine at a gala banquet and presentation held in the Ches Leach Lounge at the Art Hauser Centre. Entering the hall are Sherry Anderson in the athlete‚Äôs category, Ron Horn, Dwight Bergstrom, Wayne Simpson and Barry Mihilewicz as builders, Malcolm Jenkins and Darren Whitehead for meritorious service to sport, the 1948 Royal Hilltops fastball team and Prince Albert Minor Softball as the inaugural association of the year. Shown in the photo are the inductees or their representatives. Front row, from left, Darren Whitehead, Judy Mason and Brenda Anderson on behalf of Sherry Anderson, Calvin Beddome for the Royal Hilltops and Malcolm Jenkins. In the back row, from left, are Dwight Bergstrom, Wayne Simpson, Felix Casavant for Prince Albert Minor Softball, Barry Mihilewicz and Ron Horn.
Laughs were aplenty, but the focus of the evening was never lost when the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame welcomed its 2013 class of inductees into the local shrine on Saturday.
Master of Ceremonies Neil Headrick once again did a fabulous job of keeping the program lively as he took his usual licks at government officials and he had even more ammunition this year when the weather outside continued its prolonged obscenity, but his passion for Prince Albert‚Äôs rich sporting heritage shone through when he introduced each of the inductees.
After Saskatchewan Party MLA Darryl Hickie congratulated the inductees and marvelled at Prince Albert for its accessibility to great facilities and a vast northern playground, Headrick reminded him we still have just one bridge to get to that area.
Headrick also lamented on the fact that summer falls on a Saturday this year inferring that we might be lucky to have that one day of pleasant weather this year considering how late the spring thaw is taking.
Malcolm Jenkins, an inductee into the hall for meritorious service to sport, also had an opportunity to bemoan the dismal weather when responding on behalf of the inductees he opened with a commercial promoting the sale of winter tires at his Canadian Tire store.
All kidding aside, the capacity crowd was there for one reason and that was to salute the inductees for their contributions to sport and in the words of Barry Mihilewicz, an inductee in the builder‚Äôs category, ‚Äúsports teaches our children valuable life lessons.‚ÄĚ
Among the 23rd group of inductees going into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame were: Sherry Anderson in the athlete‚Äôs category, Mihilewicz, Dwight Bergstrom, Wayne Simpson and Ron Horn as builders, Darren Whitehead and Jenkins for meritorious service to sport, the 1948 Royal Hilltops fastball team and Prince Albert Minor Softball as the inaugural recipient of the association of the year award.
Anderson, who could not be at the ceremony due to her participation in a major curling event in Toronto this week, has been in 20 provincial Scott Tournament of Hearts and was victorious on four occasions ‚Äď 1994, ‚Äô95, 2002 and 2004. She has been in 11 provincial finals including the last three as a member of the Stefanie Lawton rink.
Mihilewicz earned his spot in the hall for his work as a football official and in particular for his leadership in the formation of an association to help build a stronger group of local officials.
Bergstrom and Simpson go in to the hall together for their work in the sport of downhill skiing and for their efforts in raising money for the construction of the Kinsmen Ski Hill located in Little Red River Park.
Horn is a leader in two sports as his contributions have made cross-country skiing and cycling premiere sports not just in Prince Albert, but in Saskatchewan as well.
With six of the members present at the banquet, the Royals Hilltops received a standing ovation for their 2-1 ninth-inning win over the Riverside Royals in the deciding game of the Prince Albert Men‚Äôs League softball championship final 65 years ago.
Whitehead has spent the last 30 years working with Special Olympics at the local, provincial and national levels and during that time has gone to four World Games, five national championships and 20-plus provincial events. He was also feted for his formation of the Power Breakfast that raises funds for both Prince Albert Special Olympics and the Prince Albert Raider education fund.
Jenkins has, and continues, to make Prince Albert a better place through his philanthropy as he has been a huge supporter of the arts and sports in Prince Albert for more than two decades. Jenkins was the lead donor for the Alfred Jenkins Field House, which is named after his late father, in addition to the E.A Rawlinson Centre, Victoria Hospital Foundation, Kinsmen Skateboard Park among many others. His leadership in rallying the city to get behind a cause has been instrumental in numerous projects being completed.
Finally, the selection of Prince Albert Minor Softball as the first association of the year, was based both on merit and historical value as the sport has been present in the community for more than 80 years and continues to bring provincial, Western Canadian and national events to the city.
In addition to Hickie speaking on behalf of the province, other key-note addresses were made by Saskatchewan Party MLA Victoria Jurgens, city councillor Martin Ring, Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame president Hugh Vassos and Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame president Ellen Grewcock.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs an incredible honour and on behalf of all the nominees we want to thank the nominators,‚ÄĚ said Mihilewicz after he and Jenkins kibitzed through several gags. ‚ÄúIt is a wonderful thing when you are recognized. We are all honoured to be part of the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame.‚ÄĚ
Planning for next year is already underway and the first step in the process of building on the tradition that has been established is to get nominations submitted. Anyone wanting to nominate an athlete, builder, team or someone for meritorious service to sport can stop by the Community Services Department at City Hall and get the appropriate paperwork.