The Art Hauser Centre was packed on Friday evening for the 2014 Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The Hall honoured four players, three builders, one official, one grassroots volunteer and two teams as they were inducted on Friday, with Winnipeg Jets broadcaster Dennis Beyak and Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett hosting the event. Herald photo by Andrew Schopp
Joining the likes of hockey legends such as Bernie Federko and Johnny Bower, the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame officially inducted the 2014 class in a ceremony on Friday at the Art Hauser Centre.
The Hall honoured four players, three builders, one official, one grassroots volunteer and two teams as they were inducted on Friday, with Winnipeg Jets broadcaster Dennis Beyak and Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett hosting the event.
Tippett, who played for the Prince Albert Raiders from 1979-81 in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, said good memories always flow through his head when he comes back to Prince Albert and enters the doors of the Art Hauser Centre.
“It’s always special,” Tippett said of returning to Prince Albert. “Just walking back into this building, there’s memories of everything from minor hockey to winning championships with the Raiders.”
One of Tippett’s teammates with the Raiders was Peter Anholt, who gave the NHL bench boss a call asking him to come speak at Friday’s ceremony, which included an impressive crop of inductees.
Inducted into the Hall were players Brian Propp, Brad McCrimmon, Johnny Gottselig, Jim Neilson and builders Terry Simpson, Wayne Kartusch and Emile Francis.
On the team side of things, the 1982 Prince Albert Raiders and the 1972 Rosetown Redwings received nods and joined the individual inductees in the Hall, along with official Wes Smith and Bruce Clements in the grassroots category.
Simpson, one of the most revered bench bosses in Prince Albert Raiders history, coached the 1982 squad being inducted to seven consecutive Anavet Cups and four Centennial Cups before joining the WHL where he led them all the way to a Memorial Cup championship in 1985.
“We had a lot of good teams through the years and this is one of them,” Simpson said of the 1982 Raiders squad, who finished the regular season with a 57-3-0 record. “It’s a pretty remarkable record. It’s just a continuation of the heritage that was developed here in those years.”
Simpson went on to coach 338 games in the NHL for the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets.
He said his fondest memory coaching the Raiders is the team’s historic run at a national championship just three years after making the transition from the SJHL to the major-junior ranks.
“It was three years of hard work,” Simpson said. “We went from 16 wins, to making the playoffs and then the third year we went all the way. It was a major accomplishment.”
Given the tremendous staff involved with the Raiders organization, Simpson said coaching the squad was easy.
“Our teams always played hard,” he said. “We had a great scouting staff and we always seemed to get character players. We established a program and it just kept going from year to year.”
Tippett, who left the Raiders one year prior to the 1982 season to play for the University of North Dakota, said he too was thoroughly impressed with the 2014 induction class.
“When you lose three games in a whole season, that’s a heck of a hockey team,” Tippett said of the 1982 Raiders. “We had some special teams back then that were not just good hockey players, but good human beings.”
The Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame is located in the Credit Union iPlex in Swift Current and has been in existence for three years.
Last year’s induction class included players Federko, Clark Gillies and Eddie Shore.