YORKTON - Ian Gordon will be among the first to enter the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame in eight years, when the organization holds its induction on Sept. 24.
Gordon, who grew up in Yorkton, will be one of five athletes, along with two teams, being inducted, following a long career in hockey.
“It’s very humbling obviously. When you play hockey, or coach in hockey, your goal or objective really isn’t to be honoured with something like this,” he told Yorkton This Week.
That said, Gordon said when you do get a call like this you do perhaps pause a little more to reflect on your time in the sport, which in his case is some 30 years now.
“It’s a long time . . . You get recognized in part for having a long playing career,” he said, adding it all “started in Yorkton.”
Gordon said he truly believes the foundation of his long pro career was laid in Yorkton in minor hockey when he was surrounded by other players who pushed him to be better.
“There were a lot of good players from around the area. We had good teams . . . You need that I believe to be better. Other people pushing you,” he said.
Not that it was easy. Gordon said he recalls his first game as a goaltender was against a team from Esterhazy.
“I gave up 19, or 20 goals,” he said.
Gordon played parts of three seasons in the Western Hockey League, starting in Swift Current and wrapping up in Saskatoon in 1994-95. While in the WHL he set records with Swift Current Broncos while winning the league championship.
From 1995-96 through 1999-2000 Gordon played in both the American and International Hockey Leagues.
Gordon moved to Germany in 2000, when he signed with the SERC Wild Wings. After three seasons, he transferred to the Frankfurt Lions in 2003, winning the German title with the Lions in his first season in Frankfurt, and remained with the team until 2010 when the Lions folded.
In 2010, Gordon signed with Ingolstadt, playing there until his retirement after the 2012-13 season.
When asked for a career highlight as a player it was a quick answer.
“When I won the championship in Frankfurt,” he said, adding he had been on winning teams before, but that year “I was the guy.”
“I’ve has so many other memorable moments, but the championship stands out.”
Among the memorable moments was suiting up with Hockey Canada teams seven, or eight times, and winning some tournaments,
“Representing the country was very special,” said Gordon.
It was playing on Canadian teams that helped Gordon play all over Europe from Germany to Italy, Russia, Finland, the Czech Republic and Italy among the countries he played in.
Gordon said he was able to leave playing on his own terms. He said while many players are forced from the game because of injury, he took time to look at his career after the 2012-13 season.
“That’s when I knew I was able to wrap up playing,” he said, leaving satisfied with what he had done on the ice. “. . . I retired because it was time.”
From his playing days Gordon moved directly into coaching, and has remained active in that capacity since in the Western Hockey League, most recently with Red Deer.
The inductions will take place at the Gallagher Centre on Saturday, Sep. 24, starting at 5 pm. There will be a reception with appetizers and a no-host bar, followed by the inductions at 6.30 pm.
The YSHF&M display on the second floor of the Gallagher Centre will also be available for viewing. Showcases contain some of the nearly 300 historic artifacts that have been collected by the organization over the years, and portraits of all previous inductees are on display.