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Celebrating greatness: Two Battlefords families to be inducted into SJHL Hall of Fame

Well known and much admired influences in the Battlefords hockey community, the Smith family and the George family, were announced as upcoming inductees into the SJHL Hockey Hall of Fame

NORTH BATTLEFORD — Hockey History in the making as two Battlefords families were announced as upcoming inductees in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Hall of Fame, with induction ceremony to take place this summer in the Battlefords.

The Smith family and the George family are the pride of the Battlefords with their storied hockey history in the community.

SJHL HOF Inductee, the Smith family

To no surprise, the first name announced from the Battlefords North Stars was the family with Edam and North Battleford roots, the Smith family. The board of the North Stars helped provide some background on these two families, soon to be inducted.

The name Martin Smith is very familiar as he was a longtime North Star and franchise leader in goals, who is also a Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and North Battleford Sports Hall of Fame member. Smith was joined in a pre-game ceremony announcing the induction news and was joined by sister Fiona Smith-Bell and nephew Kian Bell.

For as long as the Smith family can remember, and those from the Battlefords, know that hockey, and the local junior A team has always included the Smith family.

Martin and Fiona are children of well-known doctor, Dr. Ian McDonald Smith, and his wife Gloria. The children were raised around the game where hockey would become an extended family and the rink would become a second home ensuring miles of memories were made.

A banner hangs proudly in the rafter at the North Battleford arena bearing the familiar name of ‘Doc’ Smith, who was previously recognized for his years of contributions serving as the North Stars president, SJHL league governor, and of course, team doctor.

Don’t discount the contributions of mom, Gloria, as neighbours can recall her flooding the outdoor rink for the kids to practice their skills from the earliest days of their hockey life. Gloria was also a billet mom and bingo volunteer who helped raise funds for the club.

Both Martin and Fiona acknowledge their parents’ influence in creating their passion for the game that included the values they hold on to today.

Residents and North Star supporters can attest to Doc’s community commitment that has continued with his children as they continue to give back as much as they can to the sport of hockey, as they seek to continue the family legacy at the rink and for the game.

Martin still holds a place in franchise record books, while it is sister Fiona who achieved a dream of playing for Canada for the Olympics. Her hockey resume is long and includes helping Team Canada win silver at the Olympic Games in Nagano. She is also a member of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and the North Battleford Sports Hall of Fame.

Martin said, “I got a call from North Stars president, Kyle Kellgren, to inform me of the induction a couple days before it was announced. It worked out really well as my sister, Fiona, and her husband Rob were here for the weekend to watch Kian. I was glad she was here for the announcement.”

Smith said he was totally surprised with the announcement, and felt emotional. “It means so much to our family, and with Mom and Dad no longer with us, I know how much it would have meant to them.”

“I think once you play for the North Stars, you are always a North Star. I was lucky enough to be an assistant coach for a couple seasons. While coaching the AAA Stars, I did go on the North Stars bench on a few occasions while the head coach was away. I have also served as the team’s play-by-play person when I came back from playing professional hockey and completed broadcasting school. I also served as the team’s colour commentator for a few years as well. I have always been a fan,” adds Smith.

The Smith family legacy continues with Fiona’s son and Martin’s nephew, Ian Bell, currently playing his second season with the SJHL North Stars. He is the first North Stars’ player, since Uncle Martin over 30 years ago, to score 50 goals in a season and is on pace in the SJHL points again this season. Kian, as homage to his uncle, wears #27 on the ice.

“The North Star organization has always been a huge part of our lives,” acknowledges Smith.

Kennedy Schmidt, Marketing and Office Manager, Battlefords North Stars Hockey Club affirms, “The 2024 SJHL Hall of Fame Induction ceremony will be held June 22 at the Access Communications Centre, following the team’s annual Annual Alumni Golf Tournament to open the weekend of June 21.”

Schmidt says this is the first time they have taken on the hall of fame event, as the SJHL usually lets a team do it every two years.

SJHL HOF inductee, the George family

The George family were also announced as another upcoming inductee for the SJHL Hall of Fame.

“The first generation of the George family we want to recognize are brothers William and Albert George. Better known as "Moe" and "Jeep". They founded, managed and coached the Beaver Bruins Junior hockey club for players 15 to 18 years old. This was the first junior hockey program provided in the Battlefords.”

The North Stars board also states that “In 1961, the Beaver Bruins were converted to a Junior B hockey club. Through tireless lobby efforts by Jeep and Moe, along with others in the community. The North Battleford Civic Centre opened in 1962. With their efforts it laid the groundwork for Junior A Hockey to later be established in the Battlefords.

David George is the second generation of the George family. David grew up at the rink following along with his father and uncle.

“These endless hours at the rink were translated into a successful Junior hockey career in the Alberta Junior Hockey, the Western Canadian Hockey League and finally his final season in the SJHL with the North Battleford Barons. That season David led the league in scoring with 161 points. This is still the single season points record for the Barons / North Stars franchise to this day. David would later move into a Head Coach roll for the North and has been involved with hockey in the Battlefords ever since.”

Yet another generation of Georges has influenced hockey in the Battlefords as David’s son, Michael, played minor hockey in the Battlefords with one year spent with the midget AAA Contacts out of Saskatoon. Mike moved on to join his hometown North Stars and made an impact in his rookie season, which translated the following year into an expanded role as he led the team in scoring and helped the team reach the SJHL finals.

The third-generation Battleford George player once again led the North Stars in scoring and a trip to the SJHL finals. Mike was a fan favourite for physical play and scoring efforts. His proud father notes that Michael was the team MVP two years in a row and top scorer two years in a row, as well as also earning league MVP one year.

In an interview with David George for, he says, “My initial reaction to the announcement was it was pretty cool. We’ve been around hockey a long time.”

George said people may or may not know that his Uncle Mo was the Chief Scout for the Boston Bruins, that’s why in the early days they were called the North Battleford Beaver Bruins as they were a feeder to Bruins via Estevan.

David’s dad worked for the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Blades and George says that they opened the civic centre up. Emil Frances was David’s dad’s best man, serving as coach and GM of the Rangers so he helped bring Willy O’Ree and the Los Angeles Blades for a game. David was a stick boy for that game.

David himself coached and managed the North Stars three different times as well as serving on the board once for a couple of years. He affirms that he was the one responsible for changing the colours to red, white and blue to replicate the Rangers. He was also in the role of director of player personnel in 1984.

David’s son Michael and his daughter Brittany were on hand for the induction announcement. Brittany officiates hockey, including in the CIS and once played for the U of S Huskies women’s hockey team. David was refereeing until last season when he broke his hip at a senior hockey game and he affirms, “We are a hockey family, through and through.”

Schmidt adds, on behalf of the North Stars organization, “The Battlefords North Stars are very excited to spend an evening celebrating the rich hockey history that we have in this community and more specifically through the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Our team wouldn’t be at the elite level we are at today without the early support of the George family & the Smith family. “

The SJHL Hockey Hall of fame is full of rich tradition that continues to build a strong future. Inductions that have taken place since 2009 can be found on The SJHL continues to salute its all-time greats from players to officials to builders as those who have helped make the SJHL the league of champions.