YORKTON - For the first time in eight years the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame and Museum held an induction ceremony.
The event, held Saturday at the Gallagher Centre, saw the Hall of Fame welcome two teams and five individuals.
The induction, the first since 2014, saw a number of firsts.
It was the first time an inductee would join his father, brother and niece as members; Randy Atkinson – his father Howard inducted in 1994 in the builder category for baseball, brother Ken inducted in 2001 as member of the 1969-70 Senior Terrier hockey team, and niece Rhyna Atkinson inducted in 1998 as a member of 1988 Midget girls Blitz Volleyball team.
It was the first time for posthumous inductions; Larry Renton and Vic Kreklewetz.
It was the first time for an induction of a team from 50 years ago; the 1964 Yorkton Collegiate Institute Gridders eight-man high school football team.
The inductees, or family each had an opportunity to present to the full house, and in each case they were humbled and proud to be recognized.
For Susanne Mitchell who was inducted as a builder in the sport of taekwondo hearing her accomplishments summarized in the induction presentation was almost surprising.
“When you hear it . . . It seems like a lot,” she said, adding she became as involved in the sport because of family. “. . . I wanted my youngest son to get involved in something . . . I think sport is important for everybody.”
Mitchell even had some words of encouragement for those in attendance.
“Always remember to do your best to be your best,” she said.
Ian Gordon who was inducted as an athlete in hockey spent most of his playing days outside the city, but related how his foundation was laid in Yorkton.
“A huge thank you to Yorkton Minor Hockey because this is where it started for me,” he related.
Gordon said the kids he grew up playing with really helped him grow as a player.
“We spent so much time together we just wanted good things,” he said.
Vic Kreklewetz was inducted posthumously as an athlete in hockey.
“In 1961 Vic Kreklewetz was the playing coach of the Yorkton Terriers senior hockey team when he lost his life in a tragic car accident while travelling to Saskatoon to play in a league game. Hundreds attended his funeral or sent their condolences to the family and community, confirming Vic was one of the most respected and talented local athletes ever.
“An editorial in the Yorkton Enterprise called him “a natural leader, a dynamic competitor and an all-around top performer. These same qualities made him an equally outstanding husband, father and representative of his community and country,” noted the induction program.
His widow, now Sylvia Gay, said he would have been happy he was remembered by the induction, calling him “just a diehard hockey enthusiast who persevered through thick and thin for the love of hockey.”
The 1964 Yorkton Collegiate Institute Gridders eight-man high school football team, had a year to remember.
“In 1964 the Yorkton Collegiate Institute Gridders team went undefeated on their way to the Saskatchewan High School Athletic Association 8-man football championship. Although the team won the first ever 8-man high school championship in 1961 when there were 25 teams competing for the title, it was in 1964 when 43 teams competed for the title that the Gridders had their most successful season,” detailed the program.
“The team, made up of 14 veterans and 13 rookies, went undefeated. They easily defeated their opposition at the local league level, as well as during regional and provincial play-offs.
“In the provincial semi-finals, Yorkton defeated Broadview while Gull Lake defeated Lloydminster. The Gridders went on to defeat Gull Lake in the finals 30-0 and were awarded the Garvie trophy, emblematic of 8-man football supremacy in Saskatchewan. Counting all league games and the five provincial play-off games, the Gridders scored 309 points while giving up only 19. Four of their games were shut outs with three of those coming during the play-offs.”
Stan Len spoke on behalf of the Gridder team. He said the team was a special one where “everybody was treated as equal.”
Len also quickly pointed to coach Ed Magis for much of the team’s success.
“Coach Magis is the heart and soul of the Gridders,” he said. “He taught us a lot about life on, and off the field.”
Len said the players gathered are proud to have a legacy now, their picture in the local hall of fame showing they were “one helluva good football team.”
Larry Renton was a builder in slo-pitch. His involvement with the slo-pitch league began in 1977 and continued for more than 20 years.
“’Build it and they will come’ is most likely a fitting description of Larry's thoughts and dreams as he spearheaded the development of the Yorkton slo-pitch diamonds at York Lake Regional Park,” detailed the program. “Once these diamonds became a reality the fledging local league went from 10 teams to 45 teams with more than 1,000 players.”
“I just know dad would be so proud,” offered his daughter Laurie Renton. She said her father always seemed to know “. . . when to step up, when to step in.”
Randy Atkinson, long time radio broadcaster was inducted in the media category having served as a radio sports announcer for 36 consecutive years; 25 of those years with CJGX Radio in Yorkton, three with CFQC in Saskatoon and the past eight with The Rock FM in Yorkton.
Atkinson said when he was first asked to do colour commentary for a hockey game in radio, the $20 fee was only a bonus.
“It didn’t matter to me. It was the door opening to broadcasting,” he said, and what has followed is a long career including doing play-by-play for more than 1000 games in eight sports.
The 2005-2006 Yorkton Junior A Terriers were the second team inducted.
The 2005-06 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) season was one to remember for the Yorkton Terriers, culminating with a berth in the national Junior A championship game (then known as the Royal Bank Cup) in Brampton ON, televised nationally on TSN, finally losing to the Burnaby Express, thanks to a hat trick by future NHLer Kyle Turris (who would be drafted third overall in the 2007 NHL entry draft) were crowned RBC Cup champions with an 8-2 victory, giving the Terriers the silver medal.
Terrier Captain Brett McRuvie said the team still “holds a special place not only in my hockey career, but in my life,” adding it was “. . . a special team (players are) always looking back on with amazing memories.”
The YSHF&M has displays on the second floor of the Gallagher Centre. 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.
Over the winter the artifacts will be going online as a virtual museum as well.
Potential inductees must be nominated by members of the community, and forms for the next round of inductions will be available in January.