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  Prairie Gold:
Sports Heroes From Saskatchewan
 
 
Photo 1 of 11. | | |

Robert Ellard

Like many other sport builders, Bob Ellard began his association with rowing as an athlete, winning gold at the local, provincial, regional and national levels. As a Master athlete, he captured gold at the World Masters Games in 1985.

Ellard's contribution to the sport of rowing in Regina began upon his arrival in 1977. He had previously been active in the Winnipeg Rowing Club. Instrumental in the rebuilding of the Regina Rowing Club, Bob has coached the club every year since 1977 at all levels introductory to elite. His students have included Tony Zasada, Rob Currie, Ellen Gillies and Audrey Mowchenko; all of whom have represented Canada in international competition.

Bob has made countless contributions at the provincial level. In 1978 he established an annual regatta on Wascana Lake - the Regina Sprints Regatta - organizing and running the event for over 10 years. Since 1988, Bob has worked to develop the Regina Rowing Club Masters Program, making the sport accessible to a wider range of people and also founded the Canadian Masters Summer Sports Festival. While President of the Saskatchewan Rowing Association, a post he held three times, he was a founder of the Prairie Rowing Association. As Chair of the Saskatchewan Technical Committee, Ellard developed the basic training approach for athletes at the provincial level and was the Saskatchewan coach at four Western Canada Summer Games (1979-1990) and three Jeux Canada Games.

Nationally, Bob was elected to the executive of the Rowing Canada Aviron (R.C.A.) in 1982 and has contributed to its Board for over 14 years, serving as President in 1986/87. Ellard has served as an 'A' Director for the Canadian Olympic Association from 1990 to 1993 and was responsible for Canada's rowing team at the 1984 Olympics. As Chair of the Technical Committee for the R.C.A. he developed a technical plan to improve the competitive performance of our national teams and the results can be seen in the progressively improving results of Canadian rowers at the Olympic Games. Bob was named Technical Advisor for the Jeux Canada Games in 1985 and 1989 and was instrumental in establishing High Performance Training Centres in London, Ontario and Victoria, B.C.. Internationally, Bob has represented Canada at the FISA (Federation Internationale Society d'Aviron) Congress and four World Championships.

Recognition of Bob Ellard's enormous contribution to Saskatchewan and Canadian rowing have included the Sask Sport Volunteer of the Year award in 1988 and the following Rowing Canada Aviron awards: 1981 Coach of the Year; 1988 Executive of the Year; 1988 Centennial Medal; 1989 President's Award and the 1990 Award of Merit.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 2 of 11. | | |

Hank Hartenberger

The Hartenberger family immigrated to Canada from Poland when Hank was only a year and a half old. They moved to Weyburn in 1937 and Hank has lived there ever since, making a huge contribution to the city over the past 58 years. His interest in boxing began while serving in the army and R.C.A.F. during World War II. Later, he competed at the Olympic boxing trials in 1956, the same year he was named Saskatchewan Middleweight Champion.

For over 40 years, Hartenberger has been a boxing organizer and coach in Weyburn, promoting over 100 boxing cards and developing an equal number of provincial champions. Many of these provincial champions have gone on to compete and win medals at the national level, such as Morgan Williams, Kerry Fahlman, Dean Marr, Kelly Nelson, Don Grant, Tony Bouchard and Dennis Leys. In addition to boxing, Hank also worked with young track & field athletes. He operated a track & field club in Weyburn for seven years in the 1950s, coaching such stand-outs as Emmett Smith and Helen Metchuk.

While working out of his Soo Line Boxing Club in Weyburn, Hank was six times named the coach of the Saskatchewan boxing team that represented the province at Canadian championships.

A highlight of Hank's coaching career came in 1975 when, as the coach of Saskatchewan's boxing team for the Canada Winter Games, he witnessed six of the nine boxers from the province win medals - 1Gold, 2 Silver and 3 Bronze - and three of those boxers were from his club in Weyburn.

Hartenberger has served on the Saskatchewan Amateur Boxing Association Board of Directors for over 25 years and continues to do so, presently acting as 2nd vice-president. In 1980 and 1981, Hank was named to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Amateur Boxing Association.

Hank Hartenberger was inducted into the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991 and was only the second person to be made a life member of the Saskatchewan Amateur Boxing Association, the first being Ken Goff. He was named Saskatchewan Boxing Coach of the Year in 1988 and Zone 1 Coach of the Year in 1990.

Known nationally and internationally as a fair and honest man who is dedicated to his sport, his students and his city, Hank Hartenberger has influenced hundreds of young people over the years and they freely admit that their success in sport, and in life, is a direct result of the time they spent as a youth under the guidance, leadership and nurturing of Hank Hartenberger.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 3 of 11. | | |

Rene Marleau

Rene Marleau was born in Tisdale January 24th, 1931. The family moved to Saskatoon in 1939 and he completed his elementary education at St. Paul's school before entering high school at City Park. While in high school he played on the inter-collegiate teams in hockey, soccer, football, tennis and track and field.

Rene joined the Saskatoon Playgrounds Association staff in 1956 and remained with the city until his retirement. In the mid 1950's his interest in speed skating grew and he became a director of the Saskatoon Speed Skating club. After refereeing several local, provincial, Canadian and International Speed Skating championships he was invited in 1967 to Quebec City to assist in organizing the speed skating events at the first Canada Winter Games. He assisted with the 1971 Canada Winter Games and is a past-president and past commissioner of the Canadian Amateur Speed Skating Association.

He holds an honorary life membership with the Saskatoon Speed Skating club and was placed in the Canadian Speed Skating Hall of Fame in 1981. In 1988, he refereed at the Olympic Games in Calgary, the first Canadian to do so. He was inducted into the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.

Text courtesy of Ned Power

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Photo 4 of 11. | | |

Timothy Molnar

Football, Wrestling B.Sc. (Adv.) '80, B.Ed. '81

Tim Molnar graduated from Thom Collegiate in Regina and entered the University of Saskatchewan in 1974.

He was a member of the Huskie Football team for five years. An outstanding two-way player at fullback and linebacker, Tim was selected to the WIFL All Star Team on two occasions.

He competed on the Huskie wrestling team for five years during which time he captured CWUAA gold and CIAU silver medals. While a student at the University, Tim represented Saskatchewan at Canadian Senior, Canada Winter Games and Olympic Trials competitions.

His athletic career was highlighted in 1978-79 when he was awarded the E. Kent Phillips Trophy as the University's outstanding male athlete.

Text courtesy of the University of Saskatchewan Wall of Fame

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Photo 5 of 11. | | |

Howard Nixon

Born in 1928, Dr. Nixon has spent most of his adult life in the service of others He was an excellent athlete in high school, a four letter athlete at the University of British Columbia and a Varsity coach in seven sports. His administrative skills were put to the test many times.

He chaired and organized the Canadian wrestling championships and Olympic trials and also aided in staging the Pan-American Gymnastic championships. Howard was on the board of directors of the 1971 Canada Games. When the Saskatoon Participaction movement needed a push, Dr. Nixon was right there. As its Vice-chairman in 1974, he co-ordinated the great "Ga Lunka Lop" when Saskatoon twinned with Umea, Sweden. In 1979, Nixon acted as Vice-president and sport organizer for the Western Canada Summer Games.

Regardless of the activity, whenever a national sporting activity comes to Saskatoon, Howard is not far away. He was selected the 1974 Kinsmen Sportsman of the Year. In 1986, he was inducted into the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame and the following year into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 6 of 11. | | |


Saskatchewan Women's Cycling Team

Saskatchewan Women's Cycling Team

Saskatchewan Women's Cycling Team, bronze medalists in the team time trial, 1989 Canada Games, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Pictured are: Heinrick, Gail; Thompson, Charisma; Mathies, Erin; Craig, Delaine.

Date: 1989

Photographer: Kinash, Ed

Copyright information: Kinash, Ed

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Photo 7 of 11. | | |

The Saskatoon Blue Angels

Many of the players on the Blue Angels played together through minor softball and then surfaced as Saskatchewan junior girls' champions and gold medal winners at the 1972 Saskatchewan Summer Games.

They won the Saskatchewan Junior title in 1973. Seven teams played in a Saskatchewan playoff to determine a representative for the Canada Summer Games at Burnaby, B.C. The Blue Angels won the honors, taking the deciding game, 9-2, against Moose Jaw Grads.

The Blue Angels played seven games at the Canadian tournament, winning five and losing two and scoring 55 runs. They beat Alberta 7-5, in the semifinal game and British Columbia, 6-4, in the final. One of the spectators at the semifinal against Alberta was Governor-General Roland Michener who shook hands with all of the players on the two teams.

In the deciding game against British Columbia, Saskatchewan trailed 2-1 after the fourth inning and 4-3 going into the bottom of the sixth. Winning pitcher Marvel O'Donnell started off the sixth with a walk, Carol Bertsch singled, Carol Rayburn singled to drive in the tying run and Pat Harrison singled to drive in the winning run. It was a sweet victory because one of their early defeats was at the hands of British Columbia. A crowd estimated at 10,000 people watched the final.

Marvel O'Donnell, Terry Nelson and Leila Berg were the pitchers. Lynne Fuller was the catcher. Chris Gervais, Carol Bertsch, Ann Tkachuck, Bev Mazurkewich and Kathy Messner were the infielders. Irene Glazier, Carol Rayburn, Bonnie Skeoch, Debbie Dionne, Pat Harrison and Sherry Wright were the outfielders. Frank O'Donnell and Andy Messner were the coaches.

The Blue Angels are the only Saskatchewan team ever to win the women's softball gold medal at the Canadian Games.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 8 of 11. | | |

Patti Sebestyen

Patti Sebestyen was born in Saskatoon in 1949 and since her grandfather had helped build St. Mary's Hall and her dad was interested in gymnastics, it was no accident that Patti would follow the family tradition.

Although she also competed in track, basketball and volleyball, gymnastics was the natural attraction. She and her sister Glenna dominated the Canadian junior championships, unique because Glenna won the crown in 1962, Patti won in 1963 and Glenna in 1964, the only times that sisters had dethroned each other. With their dad as coach, the Marian club often travelled to national events and she shared in team victories while competing from 1961 until 1970. Patti was a silver medallist on Saskatchewan's team at the First Canada Winter Games in Quebec City in 1967 and also competed for the University of Saskatchewan.

Patti showed natural instincts towards coaching, traveling to North Battleford and Prince Albert and the Northwest Territories to teach their young as well as devoting 28 years to the Marian gymnastic club. She was technical chairperson for Saskatchewan women's gymnastics from 1967 until 1973, judging chairperson in Saskatchewan from 1976 until 1983; and was on the national committee from 1976 to 1988. She is the only Saskatchewan woman ever to attain an international brevet judging honor - the highest possible status - and she has been a judge or a guest coach in England, Hungary, United States, China, Romania and Yugoslavia.

All of her children, Marcie, Jeremy, Jason and Jordan, have been involved in gymnastics at one time or another and all are still active in sports.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 9 of 11. | | |

Ennis Waldner

Ennis has dedicated much of her adult life to the service of others. She is truly an active volunteer par excellence. Once her children were settled in school, she began her volunteer and professional service. In 1966 she accepted a position as a swimming instructor at the University of Saskatchewan and was aquatic co-ordinator until her retirement in 1982. She has also been a swimming instructor for the city of Saskatoon and has coached and officiated at numerous swimming and synchronized swimming competitions. When Saskatoon hosted the 1971 Canada Winter Games Ennis was technical director for synchronized swimming.

For over 38 years Ennis has been a volunteer instructor for the Red Cross; represented Saskatchewan at the National Water Safety Committee and has served as an instructor and examiner of the Royal Life Saving Society. Recognition awards have been presented to her by the University of Saskatchewan, the Royal Life Saving Society, Sask Sport and Century Saskatoon. Ennis was one of two Canadians to first receive the Order of the Red Cross in 1984.

She was inducted into the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 10 of 11. | | |

George Ward

George Ward, an outstanding leader in the development of sport and recreation. George Ward's many contributions to the development of sport and recreation span more than 40 years as an administrator, official, and organizer. George was involved in swimming, speed skating, softball, hockey, track and field, and diving. He was the founding member and the first president of the Canadian Amateur Swimming Association, Saskatchewan Section, and held a life membership in that organization. He was also a founding member of the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association and held a life membership in that organization. He was cited for outstanding achievement from the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association as well. Known as a 'doer', George was invited by the President of the United States in 1960 to sit on the Presidential Council on Youth and was instrumental in 1971 in assisting in acquiring the Canada Winter Games for Saskatchewan.

In Saskatoon, his name lives on through the "George Ward" Swimming Pool and the George Ward Citizenship Trophy.

Installed in the Hall of Fame on March 24, 1979.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

Date: 1968.

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Photo 11 of 11. | | |

We hope that you have enjoyed reading about some of Saskatchewan's sports heroes.

If you have a photograph of someone or a team listed in Prairie Gold that we do not have a photo for and are willing to donate it, please contact us.

Due to their nature and sometimes ambiguous origin the photographs seen here and those on file at the Local History Room are continuously being updated with new information. Some of this information comes from dedicated research done by Local History staff. However some of the biggest 'breaks' have come from the public... Those that remember the people, places and events in the photo are our biggest informational resource and we ask that if you have any information about the photos to contact the Local History Room at lhstaff@saskatoonlibrary.ca or phone (306) 975-7578.

Come and visit the Local History Room the next time you are at the Frances Morrison Library.

Thank you.

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