UNITY — The Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2022 inductions includes St. Peter’s School principal Kelvin Colliar.
Colliar, previously inducted as a member of the North Battleford Junior Beavers team from 1978-80, is being recognized in the individual category.
"Baseball has been an important part of my life since as long as I can remember," Colliar tells the Press-Herald / SASKTODAY.ca.
"I grew up in North Battleford and attending Abbots Field and Beaver Lions Stadium watching the North Battleford Beavers play their home games. My father, Bob Colliar, coached junior baseball in North Battleford for over 40 years. At the age of nine, I began serving as batboy for the team. During that time, I met some of the most interesting characters that have become lifelong friends."
Colliar’s career in baseball spans decades and includes being a batboy for the1971 North Battleford Junior Beavers, who earned a bronze medal at Canadian championships and again in 1974, serving as batboy for North Battleford’s silver medal win at Canadian senior championships.
Colliar’s playing career included a bronze medal with the NB UCT Jr. Beavers at the Canadian Bison championship; fifth place at the same championship with the same team, bronze medal at Sask. Summer Games, gold medal at Sask. Bison championships, silver medal at Western Canadians, all with the NB Jr. Beavers.
The roster of the North Battleford Beavers included Colliar from 1982-86.
His playing career evolved into umpiring, and he has been a Sask. Baseball registered umpire since 1985. Colliar estimates he has umped well over 2,000 games at midget, junior and senior league levels. As a Level 5 umpire, he has been part of numerous provincial and western Canadian championships across the province from 1985 to 2015. He has also facilitated Level 1 and 2 courses throughout northwest Saskatchewan for a decade from 1996 to 2006.
Colliar was selected to ump at a number of national championships including a stint in 1992 in Czechoslovakia and Poland, as well as appearances in 1996, 1996, 1999 and 2000 at various Canadian championships across Canada.
Colliar continued to ump senior baseball from 1985 to 2022 in the North Saskatchewan River Baseball League.
His resumé doesn’t stop there. He coached and managed a bantam team in Spiritwood in 1990, starting the team from scratch and capping off the season by winning the Battle River Bantam Baseball League in 1991.
From 2000 to present day, Colliar serves as the league commissioner for the North Saskatchewan Baseball League.
Each experience from batboy to player to umpire and now leadership all are part of Colliar’s sports bag full of memories.
“My greatest accomplishments were being selected to serve as an umpire at Canadian championships in 1995 in Waterloo, Ont. at the National Selects Tournament, in 1996 at the Canadian senior baseball championships in Saskatoon, in 1999 in the national midget championships in Red Deer Alta. and in 2000 at the National Select Tournament in Stonewall, Man."
When umpiring took Colliar to Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1992 he conducted umpire clinics and umpired games between the North Battleford Junior Beavers and the national teams from Poland and Czechoslovakia.
"What a wonderful experience that was … again the experience was organized by my father Bob Colliar, a Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Famer."
Colliar says keeping baseball alive in the northwest is what he finds most rewarding.
“Although umpiring at a provincial, western Canadian or national championship can be very rewarding, the most rewarding part of my career as an umpire has been to serve in the senior and junior baseball leagues with all the players and managers that kept baseball alive in northwest Saskatchewan.
"It was through my early relationship with these teams that I gained an interest in helping to organize and look after the North Saskatchewan River Baseball League. My early support in the role as an organizer came from Dr. Ian Smith, and [North Battleford] Parks and Recreation Director Bernie Albers."
Growing up and living at a ball diamond, Collair's experiences developed a life-long love of the game.
Several folks offered their sentiments on Colliar and his career saying, "The enthusiasm and principles he enlists in his career as an educator also apply to his role in baseball. His personal reflection on how rewarding his career in baseball has been resonates into his actions, as Colliar likes to create a sense of excitement around baseball so players, coaches and fans have something to look forward to as well he uses his role and experience as an educator as an opportunity to impact the future of baseball in the area, and the province."
“For me, there is no better place to be on a summer night then on the ball diamond in Saskatchewan. My experience in baseball has been enriched through the many people that I have met through this great game."
Included in that group is his father and the teammates he played with.
"I was not a great ballplayer, but nobody ever told me that and everybody accepted me for who I was," Colliar says.
He also pays tribute to other umpires and organizers.
"I would like to extend a great deal of thanks to the players, coaches, managers and communities of the North Saskatchewan Baseball League they have supported the league for the past 20 years under my leadership. It is truly a job I enjoy and look forward to each and every each and every spring.”
Colliar took over the principal’s office at St. Peter’s School in 2020 He previously served as superintendent of the Light of Christ Catholic Schools from 2007-17, where he entered a brief retirement phase before coming to Unity. Colliar will retire from St. Peter’s in June of 2022.