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Hockey, broomball, soccer and media make the HOF

The 2010 installment of the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame Induction ceremony was held over the weekend as four local individuals received formal admission into the Yorkton Sports Shrine.
From left, Alfredo Bermudez (soccer), Darryl Spelay (ice hockey), Terry Struthers (media) and Rod Merritt (broomball) were each formally recognized at the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony Saturday at the Gallagher Centre.

The 2010 installment of the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame Induction ceremony was held over the weekend as four local individuals received formal admission into the Yorkton Sports Shrine.

Rod Merritt, Alfredo Bermudez, Darrell Spelay and Terry Struthers all were received into the Hall in front of a packed house at the Wellington Room of the Gallagher Centre Saturday evening.

Among the sports that were honoured were soccer (Bermudez), broomball (Merritt), hockey (Spelay) and media-broadcasting (Struthers).

Last year, the Hall welcomed to the family a taekwondo master who was said to be the first of his sport to be honoured.

This time, the sport of broomball received formal admission for the first time and according to those involved, was well-deserved and also long time overdue.

"It shows how diverse the sports are in Yorkton," points out Jerry Kobylka, chairperson of the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame following the final induction of the evening which went to Struthers.Kobylka went on to explain that broomball was among the sports that have not been inducted into the Hall however the list of those inducted includes al lot of other sports that haven't been inducted in a long time.

"It's a big achievement," he says. (It's) all about how successful Yorkton's people (have been).""Broomball is a first here tonight," he noted.

He went on to say he was happy for Merritt and his various accomplishments in broomball, including numerous league championships.

"He feels like he's representing broomball," says Kobylka of Merritt.

He added that there's one quality that the athletes all seem to have in common and that can work to their advantage when it comes to admission and honours such as the Hall of Fame, said Kobylka.

"A lot of them have the same quality - they're humble."

In the case of Merritt, who was in the company that night of several of broomball highest standing committee members including a chief referee, wasn't one to take credit for the sport and pointed out again that he wasn't interested in any of the accolades that come with admission into Yorkton's sports shrine.

"It does," commented Merritt after he received his plaque, but curiously added "for the sport (it does)."

"This means an awful lot to all of us."

Merritt told Yorkton This Week that a referee in chief made the trip to the Gallagher Centre that night departing from Saskatoon earlier that day.

As well, the founded of Saskatchewan and Canadian Broomball had also been in attendance as Merritt accepted his plaque.

"It's good for the sport," Merritt reflected.

Broomball had died off in Yorkton some time ago, Merritt explained even though attempts to get it back going in the high schools didn't go anywhere.

Both Kobylka and Merritt acknowledged that a feeder system is needed, similar to the hockey and baseball players to develop their skills at a young age.

Merritt told the paper that there are currently only two small towns in Saskatchewan that currently boast a feeder system for young broomball players, one in Bruno and another in Odessa.

"We don't have enough people," admitted Merritt in a hint of frustration in his voice. We tried in the high schools but they wouldn't let us."

A point Kobylka also referred to that evening.

"There's no kids playing broomball in the high schools (but) it's a sport that most can play."There's a lot of skill to it, Kobylka said, adding that it took a long time to get Merritt's nomination put through.

Bermudez, who has been involved in soccer in Yorkton on almost every level, also received his admission into the Hall, spent much of his time following the ceremony being photographed alongside family and friends.

"It's unbelievable"" he claimed .