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  Prairie Gold:
Sports Heroes From Saskatchewan
 
 
Photo 1 of 36. | | |

Mary Baker

Mary Baker was born in Regina, July 10th, 1919. She has been actively involved in sport in our province since the age 13 when she started playing softball with local minor league teams.

In 1943 when P. K. Wrigley formed his All-American Girls Baseball League, Mary tried out and successfully wound up playing back catcher with the Blue Sox, one of four professional teams.

She proved to all that high-class femininity and high-class ball were a surefire combination. She was the league's most publicized player, often referred to as 'Pretty Bonnie Baker" by the press. She was three times all-star catcher, and later the only full-time woman manager of the Kalamazoo Lassies Ball Club in 1951.

The league emphasized female charm along with talent, and part-time model 'Mary' qualified in all respects.

Returning home after a lengthy career, Mary led the Regina Legion Team to Provincial, Western Canadian and finally World Ladies Softball honours in Toronto.

Mary Baker had the distinct honour of being the first female sports-caster in Canada when she worked for CKRM in 1964-65. She has rivaled men for years in sport endeavours and occupations and has to her credit many 'firsts'.

Installed in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame on June 22nd, 1985.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 2 of 36. | | |

Leonard Bath

Leonard H. Bath, "Doc" has spent 49 of his 85 years teaching, training and coaching many types of sports to juniors, adults and seniors in the city of Weyburn.

Mr. Bath was a champion track and field athlete in 1908 at Summerset, England where he won the mile, 880 and 440 events. In 1910 he won the six mile cross country Aldershot Command and the North India mile, 220 and six mile cross country in 1911. In 1920 he played soccer in army championships at Yorkshire, England, and was presented with a gold medal by the Queen mother.

In Canada Mr. Bath played soccer and participated in boxing and track and field events before turning to coaching. As a coach he has trained hockey, baseball and softball teams with outstanding success. Many teams he has coached have won local and provincial championships. The Weyburn Canadians were league champions from 1968 to 1972 when they also captured provincial and dominion championships.

Mr. Bath continues as a trainer with the Weyburn Red Wings hockey club and has helped almost all youngsters in sports and swimming, as well as the Old Timer's hockey club. His time and enthusiasm have been given freely.

Installed in the Hall of Fame on March 22, 1975.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 3 of 36. | | |

Dennis Beerling

Dennis has been involved in sport as an official, coach and administrator, devoting time to Softball and Track and Field. With 20 years as a coach in softball, Dennis has guided teams to five provincial championships and with the 1979 Bar K Junior Ladies, a trip to the nationals. Dennis has also been a registered umpire for over 15 years and has served on numerous boards and leagues in fostering softball both locally and internationally.

Dennis has received numerous awards in recognition of his contribution: Award of Excellence in 1982 and Outstanding Service recognition in 1978 from Canadian Amateur Swimming Association and 1981 from the Saskatchewan Amateur Softball Association. In Track and Field, Dennis has been coaching for 25 years along with officiating for 20 years including Olympics, Commonwealth Games and World Student Games duty. He has been involved with numerous other ventures, Saskatchewan Games; Western Canada Games; Sask. Sport; and National Coaching Certificate program.

Dennis was the Saskatoon Kinsmen Sportsman in 1982 and awarded the 100th century award as a builder also in 1982. He was named to the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 4 of 36. | | |

Bud Besse

While Bud was interested in all sports as a youngster he found his true calling by being an official in hockey and softball. From 1952 to 1980, he played softball then became an umpire, a coach and an executive member for both minor and adult leagues. He began refereeing hockey in 1955 in the minor leagues. In the 1960's and the early 1970's he refereed at many levels, junior, senior, university and semi-pro leagues.

Bud is a charter member of the Saskatchewan Amateur Hockey Association's referee division as well as the Saskatoon Referees Association. In 1971 he was elected referee in chief of the S.A.H.A , a position he held for three years. He served on the hockey committee when Saskatoon hosted the Canada Winter Games in 1971. He has acted as a supervisor of officials for the Western Canada Hockey League and has given much of his time to the Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association. Bud was honored as the 1985 Kinsmen Sportsman of the Year.

In 1986 he was inducted into the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 5 of 36. | | |

Muriel Coben

Muriel was considered by many to be the greatest softball pitcher in Saskatchewan. Her career started in 1936 when she pitched and won all her games as a member of the Tessier Millionaires.

From 1938 to 1945 she performed for the Saskatoon Pats. She did, however, take one year off in 1943 to play for the South Bend White Sox of Chicago in the All-American Girls Glamour League. In 1946 Muriel joined the Saskatoon Grey Cab Ramblers. She helped the club win three successive Saskatchewan championships in 1946, 1947 and 1948, and two Western champion ships in 1946 and 1947. In 1950, Miss Coben moved to Edmonton, joined the Mortons ball club and aided them in winning the Canadian championship over a very strong Toronto squad in 1952.

She returned to Saskatoon, again starred with the Ramblers until her playing days were over. Muriel was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1979 and the Saskatoon Hall of Fame in 1986.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers.


Muriel Coben began her softball pitching career in 1936 and won all games of that season for the Tessier Millionaires. From 1938 to 1945 she was pitching for the Saskatoon Pats, with the exception of one year in the professional American Girls' Glamour League, with the South Bend Whitesox in Chicago. In 1946 she pitched for the Saskatoon Ramblers for a number of years before moving to play for the Edmonton Mortons in 1951. In 1952 she pitched the Mortons to the Canadian Championships, which they won over the Toronto Ace Queens in Toronto. Returning to Saskatoon, she finished off her playing career with the Ramblers.

After retiring from softball in 1959, Muriel played lead for the Joyce McKee curling rink. in 1960, they captured the first National Ladies Curling Championship held in Oshawa.

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

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

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Photo 6 of 36. | | |

Grey Cab Ramblers

Western Canada Champions, 1946

Back row : Bobby Reid (trainer), Mary Elliot, Liz Hnatiuk, Dot George, Gil Strumm (Coach), Archie Edwards (Coach), Frankie Hummason, Muriel Coben, Betty Rann, George Nesbitt (Manager/Sponsor).

Front row : Pete Russell (equipment manager), Peggy Kerr, Mabel Mainland, Norma Munro, Lil Van Haerlam (scorekeeper), Dora Shero, Louise Vawter, Ada Lambert.

After a tough series in their own league the Ramblers took the first step on their way to the Western Canadian Championship by winning a series with the North Battleford team, 2 games to 1. The Provincial final was a best-of-five series against the defending Western Canadian Champions, the Regina Caps. Saskatoon won the first two games at home, but Regina bounced back to win a double header in Regina. The series came down to a final game - a tough battle- which Saskatoon won behind the two-hit pitching of Muriel Coben. The Western Canadian Championships in Edmonton included teams from each of the four Western Provinces. In the early rounds the Ramblers defeated the Medicine Hat Regionnettes 6-1, and the Winnipeg St. Vital Tigerettes 9-5 but lost to the Vancouver Ballards 4-1. In a second meeting with the Vancouver team the Ramblers were the victors, 2-0. They then went on to defeat the St. Vital team in a best of three series, 16-4 and 2-0. Since there were no national championships in those years the Ramblers had won the highest honours available to them. Inducted 1989.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers.

Date: 1946.

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Photo 7 of 36. | | |

Grey Cab Ramblers

Western Canadian Senior Ladies Softball Champions, 1947

Players: Lil Van Haerlem, Liz Hnatyk, Frankie (Hummason) Schoen, Thelma (Grambo) Hundeby, Norma (Munro) Wallace, Peggy (Levins) Kerr, Martha Caudle, Muriel Coben, Ruth Larson, Jackie Reid, Louise Vawter, Dot George, Hazel (Smith) Stevenson and Betty (Wilson) Rann.

Coaches: Archie Edwards, Gil Strumm (Head Coach) and George Nesbitt (Manager Sponsor).

The 1946 Ramblers continued to have success in 1947 behind the pitching of Muriel Coben and Louise Vawter. After winning the city championship in Saskatoon the Ramblers defeated the Regina Eilers Vics, 3 games to 1 in the provincial playoffs. Then they boarded the train to travel to Winnipeg to play the C.U.A.C. Blues in a best of five series for the Western Canadian Championship.

Saskatoon won the opener then lost the 2nd game to the Blues 6-3, but came back to win the third game 4-0 behind the pitching of Coben and the hitting of Thelma Grambo and Dot George. The Ramblers retained the Western Canadian title when they won the fourth game in the 13th inning. A single by Martha Caudle gave pitcher Louise Vawter a 2-1 victory before 2800 fans. The team was inducted into the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 8 of 36. | | |

Roly Howes

Roly was born in 1897 at Indian Head. Later he moved to Saskatoon and became owner and manager of Birney's hardware. For years Birney's was the favorite gathering spot for sportsmen. He is best known for his community service and contributions to amateur sport development. In recognition of his many contributions, Roly was made an honorary Life member of the Saskatchewan Amateur Softball Association, and the Saskatoon Hilltop football club.

His organizational ability was evident in the success of the annual Saskatoon Exhibition Baseball Tournament during the 1940's, 1950's and the early 1960's. Not only was he generous with his time, but also his money. Roly was the recipient of the first Kinsmen Sportsman of the Year award in 1961. In 1974, he was selected to the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and in 1985 was inducted into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 1986 he entered the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers.


Roly Howes is best known for his community service and his contributions to the development of amateur sport in Saskatchewan. He has served as President of a number of community and sport organizations and is an avid supporter of the Saskatoon Hilltops Football Club, the Saskatoon City Police Boys Rifle Club, and the Fish and Game League. Mr. Howes is also an Honorary Life Member of the Saskatchewan Amateur Softball Association and the Saskatoon Optimist Club. The success of the annual Saskatoon Exhibition Baseball Tournament during the forties, fifties and early sixties can be attributed to his dedication to that sport.

Well known for his generosity and influence, Mr. Howes was able to provide assistance and a number of scholarships to a great many teams and individuals, and it is in recognition of these accomplishments that he has been made a member of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

Installed in the Hall of Fame on March 30, 1974.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

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Photo 9 of 36. | | |

Hub City Ramblers

Western Canadian Senior Women's Champions, 1955

Back Row: Mac McKee (Coach), Marlene (Gartley) Farrell, Anne (Heshka) Luchanko, Jean (Heshka) Yaremko, Elenor Callow, Shirley Coben, Grace Jasper, Gil Strumm (Head Coach).

Front Row: Donna McKee, Beth (Britton) Brack, Sylvia Fedoruk, Lila Green, Joyce McKee, Audrey (Campbell) Coben, (missing - Hazel Miner).

In 1955, the Ramblers after capturing the Saskatoon title went on to the Northern Playoffs and beat Prince Albert. In the provincial championship, Shirley Coben won two games and relieved the third game, as the Ramblers beat the Regina Govins in a series that went the full five games.

Saskatoon hosted the Vancouver Kerrys for the right to go to Winnipeg for the Western Championship. Ramblers won both games with scores of 12-3 and 12-0. In Winnipeg, Saskatoon lost the opener, 7-6, Then made a spectacular comeback with a 4-0 score in the evening series. The Ramblers went on to win game three with a score of 12-5. They trailed in game four, until the ninth inning when the Ramblers rallied to win the game. This victory earned them the series and the Western Canadian Title. They were inducted into the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers.

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Photo 10 of 36. | | |

Clifford Hulme

Porky Hulme has been involved with softball for 45 years as a player and a coach. He played on ten city championship teams, ten provincial championship clubs and one Western Canadian championship team. In 1942, while stationed in Victoria he helped a Navy team win the B.C. championship. Porky has had two special nights held in his honor, in 1953 after 20 years of contribution to softball and again in 1963.

He has also been a coach and assistant coach for many years and helped coach the Saskatoon Imperials in 1970 to the Canadian Senior Ladies' title. He was an assistant coach for the Saskatoon Jacks from 1973 to 1980. An all-around athlete, Porky was a very talented hockey player. In the spring of 1930 he helped Princess Alexandra to the Saskatoon Public School championship. He moved up to the Saskatoon Wesley Midgets, then to the junior squad and also played in Prince Albert and Regina. He coached hockey in Swift Current, Victoria, B.C. and Saskatoon.

Hulme was inducted into the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 11 of 36. | | |

Daisy Junor

Regina born Daisy Junor was one of the cities top track and field athletes from 1930 to 1935. She was a member of the City All-Star Basketball Team playing against the world famous Edmonton Grads.

In 1945 as a member of the Provincial Ladies Fastball Team "The Regina Caps", she was scouted by the All-American Professional Baseball League to play with the South Bend Blue Sox Team in Indiana. 1946 through 1949, Daisy performed admirably, she was an all-star fielder and power hitter.

Returning to Regina Daisy excelled in numerous sports. She was a team member representing our Province in the Western Canada 5 Pin Bowling Championships 3 times.

In golf Daisy won 5 Club Championships, 2 City Championships and a Provincial Senior Ladies title. She has been a member of the team representing Saskatchewan at Canadian level 5 times.

Junor has served in various administrative capacities in the Ladies Golf Association and has been instrumental in junior development programs. Wintering in the sunny south finds her still involved in golf in Phoenix.

A member of Cooperstown's Baseball Hall of Fame, an active participant, a worthy administrator, an all round athlete truly an outstanding individual. Welcome to Saskatchewan's Hall of Fame Daisy Junor.

Installed in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame June 17, 1989.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 12 of 36. | | |

Sheryl Kleckner

Basketball BEd'82

Sheryl Kleckner graduated from Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon and entered the University of Saskatchewan in 1977.

Sheryl was a member of the women's basketball team for five years serving as co-captain one year. She was selected to the Canada West All Star team in 1982 and 1983. Over her five-year career, Sheryl was selected a tournament all star at a number of invitational basketball tournaments.

While a student at the University, she was a member of the Harmony Centre women's softball team that captured the Canadian Senior Ladies Championship in 1981.

In 1983, Sheryl was awarded the Bob Staynor trophy as the University's Outstanding Female Athlete.

Text courtesy of the University of Saskatchewan Wall of Fame

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Photo 13 of 36. | | |

R. C. Livingstone

Scotty was born in Regina, on June 7, 1920. He received his education here participating in softball, soccer, baseball and hockey while still in school. Prior to the war he played 4 years junior hockey for the Regina Abbott Generals, and attended the New York Rangers Hockey Camp.

Scotty was discharged in 1945 as a Naval Lieutenant, and unfortunately his playing years were over due to a serious war disability.

Coaching hockey and softball was his next step. In 1953, the Wascana Kiwanis Club organized high school football, and being a member, Scotty immediately became involved. In 1961 he joined the Ram organization as the season ticket chairman. By 1962 he was president, planning and re-organizing and laying the groundwork for today's organization. Under Scotty's leadership they set aims and objectives, developed philosophy, attracted many young athletes, provided scholarships, enhanced their skills and prepared them for further sport endeavors.

Over the years he has chaired every Ram football committee at least once, and in 1970 he was given a life membership. He has also been a Director of the Roughriders for 16 years, and a football delegate for many national events. In 1971 Scotty was the first Executive Director for Sask Sport.

Installed into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, June 11, 1983.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 14 of 36. | | |

Laura Malesh

On August 4th, 1931 Laura Malesh arrived. She played many team games with brothers and sisters on their farm in Stonehange. Laura retired as manager of a professional softball team.

The Assiniboia belles were the first softball team she played for before joining Regina' s Govins where her catching career began. "Yogi" tasted all-world honours at her first nationals - 1953.

Vancouver gave the all-round athlete greater competition, curling, basketball, field hockey and softball, the favorite. Laura went south to play for top teams in the U.S.A. 1962, California's Lionettes; 1963-65, Connecticut' s Brakettes, then back to California where Laura took on more challenges. She managed, coached and played for her own Santa Clara "Laurels", ten years later turning pro with the San Jose' s Sunbirds, managing them to west-division champions.

Laura retired after 29 years - 18 as a player, 9 player/manager, 2 manager. Her career batting average is .322 - 13 nationals (champions twice, finalist 4 times). An all-American catcher 3 times.

Malesh played softball in parks across U.S.A., Canada and Australia (world games), in Holland, India and China.

A popular decisive manager who believed in fairness to her players, a superior leader, a smart defensive player, we honour Laura Malesh.

Installed in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame June 13th, 1987.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 15 of 36. | | |

Mildred Marion McAuley (Warwick)

Mille showed early promise as an athlete and on several occasions was chosen Most Outstanding Athlete while still in high school. Her professional career began with the Rockford Peaches in Illinois. She was a prime mover and player with the 1951 dominion Champion Edmonton Mortons. Mille was spectacular at third base and a consistent power hitter throughout her playing years 1938-51. Regina and Saskatchewan are proud to place this sporting family in their provincial place of honour - the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

For the first time in the history of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, a family of athletes is honoured: Five members of the famous Warwick family - Grant, Bill, Dick, Claude (deceased), and Mille. They represent boxing, hockey and ladies softball. This unique family have to their credit six Canadian championships and three World titles. In the difficult years 1930-40, this colourful and athletic family were blessed with talent, enthusiasm and a fighting spirit. They were motivated to excel and reach the highest pinnacles of success in sport.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 16 of 36. | | |

Joyce McKee

As an athlete Joyce excelled in softball and curling. In the early 50's Joyce played on softball teams that won city, provincial and Western Canadian championships. She was a member of the 1955 Saskatoon Hub City Ramblers that won the Western Canadian championship. That team was inducted into the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.

In curling, she was tops in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Canada. She won eight Saskatchewan Ladies' titles, five as a skip and three as a second. She has six Canadian championships to her credit including three as a skip in 1960, 1961 (first year of the Diamond D Competition) and 1969. She co-authored a book with Ernie Richardson and participated in a film called "From Hack to House". She was named Saskatoon's Sportswoman of the Year in 1969. In 1984 she was added to the Curl Canada Honor Roll and was named to the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 1975.

All of the six Saskatchewan teams that have won Canadian championships have been inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. Joyce was inducted into the Saskatoon Hall of Fame in 1986.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 17 of 36. | | |

Gene McWillie

McWillie was born in Humboldt and lived for a time in Watson before moving to Saskatoon as a youngster. He started playing softball as a student at Thornton school, but he commenced as a center fielder. When he got a chance to pitch, he did just fine and has been tossing balls and strikes (mostly strikes) ever since.

Gene has recorded so many perfect games, no hitters and one hitters that no one can come up with the exact figure. As soon as he moved up to the senior level he was picked to play with the Weyburn Canadiens in 1987. Weyburn went on to win the Canadian championship. That team has been enshrined in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. Locally he has performed for the Merchants, Molsons, Rempel Brothers, the Jacks of the Old Western Major Fastball league and Allomatic A's. He was honored in 1986 at a "Gene McWillie Day" by his many friends. He has appeared in Canadian championships and World championships and gained a gold medal at the Pan-American Games.

McWillie was inducted into the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers.

Date: June 14, 1986.

Photographer: Saskatoon Star Phoenix.

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Photo 18 of 36. | | |

Ken More

Born in South Qu'Appelle, May 25th, 1907, Ken More received his advanced education in Regina, returning to smaller communities to teach school. During these years he was actively participating in baseball, hockey, curling and tennis.

In 1927 he entered into the business world. Moving to Regina, his sport involvement flourished and he began coaching softball at a local level as well as placing his name high in curling circles. Following this Ken turned his energies to executive duties. In 1949 he was President of the Saskatchewan and the Western Canada Softball Associations, and is today an honorary member of these groups.

More was instrumental in the formation of the Western Junior Hockey League in 1948 and served as President of the Regina Pats, a position he held for five seasons. He resigned as President of the Saskatchewan Amateur Hockey Association in 1958 to become a Member of Parliament for Regina City.

Ken's sport involvement stretches from the 1925 era to the late 1960's. He is a true volunteer, and an excellent leader, a quality many Saskatchewan groups benefited from. He is an honorary member of the SAHA, and was honored for his devotion to community affairs in 1979.

Installed in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame on June 22nd, 1985.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 19 of 36. | | |

Arleene Noga

New Years Day, 1924, marked Arleene's arrival in Ogema. Her sport participation began in High School. By 1944 she was starting at 3rd base with the Meadows Diamonds in Regina. 1945 saw her leave Central Park for Chicago, and try-outs with the All American Girls Professional Baseball League.

The Fort Wayne Daisies claimed Johnson her first professional year, then she became a Muskegon Lassie setting a league fielding record for third base at .942, playing all 112 league games, and winning the League pennant in 1947. Following 4 successful years, Arleene elected to marry and returned home to amateur ranks.

Over the next 30 years, her softball involvement included playing on 9 Provincial Championship teams and 5 Western Canadian Championship teams. She participated in the amateur softball World Championships in Toronto in 1953. Arleene also gave many years to softball as a coach.

Arleene bowled her way to numerous titles in the early fifties, then took up the game of curling. She represented the Ladies Caledonian Club in district playdowns 5 times, winning the Regina Grand Aggregate in 1960.

A member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame, we proudly recognize this petite lady.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 20 of 36. | | |

Vera Pezer

Vera is another athlete who specialized in curling. However she also showed her prowess on the ball diamond and was a member of the Saskatoon Imperials that won the Canadian women's softball championships in 1969. She was with the Imperials when the club won provincial titles from 1963 to 1969.

In curling, Vera won her first Canadian Ladies' championship in 1969 as a 3rd for Joyce McKee. But winning was already a way of life for Vera as she won many intercollegiate titles as a member of the U. of S. team. In 1971, Vera began skipping and for three years in a row, led her teams to three successive Canadian ladies championships. In 1968, she was honored as Saskatoon's Sportswoman of the Year. She is in the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.

Her 1969 Saskatoon Imperial squad and her Canadian curling championship teams of 1971, 1972 and 1973 have been inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the Saskatoon Hall in 1986.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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