He's not one to take in a lot of credit, and he sure doesn't seem to want to take any when it comes to broomball but native of Sheho and current resident of Yorkton, Rod Merrit has a one-way ticket stamped for access to the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame.
Whether he likes it or not.
He likes it of course, and he wants to go, but towards the end of an interview with the newspaper on a warm and clear Friday afternoon in the garage, it kind of becomes clear he'd rather have one of his many teams inducted into the sport's Hall of Fame.
"Yeah, I am (excited/happy)," he said rather unconvincingly when asked if he was looking forward to this Saturday night.
"It's probably more of a recognition," he observed of his nomination. "I didn't do anything to deserve this. I'm more happy that the sport of broomball is being recognized," he added.Being elected into the Hall isn't anything new for Merrit, who's already been voted into two different Hall of Fame ceremonies; both if which were into Saskatchewan's provincial Hall.This one this weekend however has something the other two don't. He's going in on more of a personal/local level where he's spent a lot of time helping to get broomball noticed.It was never an easy thing to do, he said several times that afternoon.
Merrit's broomball career took him all over the place but he returned to Yorkton around 1980 and alongside John Sickel, Craig Grunert, Steve Piontek and other local broomball enthusiasts. The four of them, plus others, kickstarted an annual tournament just to keep the sport active, he said."Broomball started to die here," he told the paper. "There's too many other sports (now)," he said.He got his start in the sport back in 1958 when a group of his teachers got him going with it and talked a lot about how he's pretty much learned the geography of the nation while playing a sport he really loves to play.
The game took him to Manitoba, Alberta where he played on different teams, and captured five league title while playing as a member of the Brandon Hot Shots. Merrit also made stops in Saskatoon and Edmonton. Other claims to fame include being named the first president of the Alberta Broomball Association in 1976.
The ceremony for Merrit's induction into the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame will take place at the Gallagher Centre this Saturday and will also include three others.
Tickets are available at Hometown Source for Sports and the Yorkton Co-op at a cost of $30 each.