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Sports Heroes From Saskatchewan
 
 
Photo 1 of 14. | | |

Walter Boschuck

Walter Boschuck was the president of the Saskatoon Lions Speed Skating Club at 18. Only a few years later, he was president of the provincial organization.

Wally coached and started clubs across the province: North Battleford (1952), Saskatoon, Prince Albert (1966) and finally Moose Jaw (1968).

In addition to coaching, officiating, fundraising and starting skating programs, Walter Boshuck accompanied an international team to Holland and Norway.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 2 of 14. | | |

Clarence Downey

For 26 years, from 1932 to 1958, Clarence was involved with speed skating. For many years he was a participant, then turned his energies to coaching. Clarence was also a proficient barrel jumper. He was the Western Canadian champion in 1936 and appeared in many shows throughout the West.

In 1943, he took coaching very seriously and he and others formed the Saskatoon Speed Skating club. As its president the club began to grow, and competitive skating returned to the province and Clarence was known as "Mr. Speed Skating" in Saskatchewan. He wrote many articles on coaching and skating. His pamphlet "Helpful Hints on Speed-Skating", was published by the CCM company. Because of his coaching skills he was selected as coach and manager of the 1956 Canadian Olympic Speed-Skating team.

He was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1967. In 1986 he was inducted into the Saskatoon Hall of Fame.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers.


Clarence Downey over a period of 26 years (1932-58) was active in the sport of speed skating, first as a participant and later and more importantly as a teacher and coach of the sport.

By 1936 Downey was the barrel jumping champion of Western Canada. However, it wasn't until 1943 that his organizational and coaching ability came to the forefront. It was in that year he and others organized the Saskatoon Speed Skating Club. A year later he was its President and within a year competitive speed skating had returned to the province. This had come about largely through his untiring efforts. For the next 14 years, until the time of his death, Clarence Downey was "Mr. Speed Skating" in Saskatchewan.

He wrote training programs, articles on training hints and exercise charts for local use. As well he wrote a coaching booklet which was distributed nationally. Much of his writings became the impetus which caused speed skating to grow both in numbers of participants and in importance in the province.

His excellence as a coach and administrator was recognized by his selection by the Canadian Olympic Association as coach and manager of the 1956 Canadian Olympic Speed Skating team.

Installed in the Hall of Fame on May 22, 1967.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

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Photo 3 of 14. | | |


Henrietta MacKay Goplen

Henrietta Goplen

Henrietta has been a supporter of speed-skating for almost 50 years. She began skating in 1942 taking part in the girls under 12 event. From 1943 to 1948 she was city champion in her various age groups. She held indoor and outdoor titles in both Saskatchewan and Alberta. At her first Canadian meet in Sudbury in 1947 she was 2nd overall with a silver in the 440 yards and a bronze in the 220. When Henrietta entered University, she changed her sports to basketball and volleyball.

In 1955 she returned to speed skating and won city, provincial and Western Regional championships. Her final competition was in 1981 when she won the Senior Ladies championship. While she was skating, she began her administrative duties as secretary of the Lions speed - skating club in 1969. She has undertaken a variety of jobs including that of club historian.

In 1974, Henrietta began working for the provincial association and has assisted with the Canada Games, the Saskatchewan Winter Games, the Canadian Speed-Skating Association and Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. She owns membership in the University Sports Wall of Fame and was inducted into the Saskatoon Hall of Fame in 1988.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers.

Copyright information: Over 50 years old - order from the University of Saskatchewan Archives

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Photo 4 of 14. | | |

Eugene Hearn

Eugene Hearn was born in Odessa, Saskatchewan, in 1929. He moved to Saskatoon at an early age, played hockey and became involved in speed skating because the rink was virtually across the street.

He was a charter member of the Saskatoon Club in 1942 and among his souvenirs is a first-place certificate for the 440 yards in the Saskatoon speed skating championships of 1944. He was a member of a 1947 Lions Club team that included future Olympians Craig Mackay and Johnny Sands.

He was appointed coach of the Lions Speed Skating Club in 1956 and he was coach of the Saskatchewan team at the first Canada Winter Games held in Quebec City in 1967.

Eugene was secretary-treasurer and president of the Saskatchewan Amateur Speed Skating Association in the 1950s and, later in 1988, returned to the provincial executive as vice-president of officials.

He has officiated at a number of world events, including the Canada Cup in Regina. During the 1980s, he was chief starter at the men's all-round championships in Hammar, Norway, chief starter for the world junior championships in Quebec City in 1986, and chief starter at the women's championships at Milwaukee in 1987. He was also an official at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

Eugene has been honored on many occasions, including the Sask Sport Volunteer Award, Softball's Distinguished Service Award and the Dairy Producers Foundation Volunteer Award and his peers in the Canadian Speed Skating Association presented him with an award of excellence in 1987.

His work with the Special Olympic athletes in the 1990s was a continuation of the coaching he had started with prominent deaf skaters, like Norma Jean Taylor and Farley Kellett, and his work with the handicapped children.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 5 of 14. | | |

Robert Hodges

Bob Hodges was born in Saskatoon in December, 1943, attended King George School, Bedford Road Collegiate, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Alberta. Although he participated in football, swimming and track and field, it turned out that speed skating was his prime sport. In 1964, he held outdoor provincial records in six different events and from 1965 through 1967, held records in seven events. Bob was a seven-time Canadian champion, intermediate champion in 1960 and 1961 and senior champion in 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1969.

He represented Canada in a number of international events, 1965 through 1972, and competed in three world championships in 1968, 1970 and 1971. His first appearance at the Winter Olympics was at Grenoble, France, in 1968 where he raced four times - the 500 metres, the 1,500 metres, the 5,000 metres and the 10,000 metres. He was 23rd and had a personal best in the 10,000 metres. He made the team again in 1972, training in New York where he took postgraduate studies and then going to Sapporo, Japan, for the Games where he was 23rd in the 1,500 metres with a clocking of two minutes, 12.3 seconds.

He coached Canadian junior teams at the world championships in 1973 and 1976, coached the Canadian team at the world sprints in 1973 and managed Canada's team at the Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, in 1980. He was also vice-chairman and chief of competitions at the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary.

Bob was also race director for the 1990 women's world skating championships and for the 1994 world sprint championships, both held in Calgary.

Bob lives in Edmonton where he is a professor of biochemistry at the University of Alberta. He and his wife have four children.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 6 of 14. | | |

Craig MacKay

Craig joined the Saskatoon Speed Skating club in 1943, and one year later won city championships then went on to capture provincial titles. For the next 15 years, he compiled an impressive list of city, provincial and Canadian records that eventually resulted in being chosen to several Canadian Olympic teams.

In 1947, Craig won his first Canadian medal capturing the Senior Men's three-mile event. His outstanding showing in the Canadian championship lead to his being selected to represent Canada in the 1948 Olympics at St. Moritz. He placed 14th in the 5000 metre and 13th in the 10,000 metre. In the World championships in Sweden, MacKay placed 7th in the 500 metre and 9th in the 1500 metre.

Craig went to the 1952 Olympics in Oslo placing 15th in the 500, 16th in the 1500, 23rd in the 5000 metre and 24th in the 10,000. He was named as an alternate for the 1956 and the 1960 Olympics. He was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1973 and was inducted into the Saskatoon Hall on 1986.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers.


Craig MacKay joined the Saskatoon Speed Skating Club in 1943 and won the city and provincial championship a year later. During the next 25 years he compiled an impressive list of provincial and national records and achieved a standard in Olympic competition that no Canadian skater has yet equaled.

In 1947 Craig won his first national medal, winning the Senior Men's Three Mile event. In 1948 he represented Canada at the Olympic Games in St. Moritz, placing 13th overall. Two years later he placed 7th in the 500 metre and 9th in the 1500 metre races at the World championships in Elskilstuna, Sweden. In 1952 he again represented Canada at the Olympics in Oslo, placing 11th in the 5000 metre and 13th in the 10,000 metre races. He was an alternate on the 1956 and the 1960 Olympic teams. Craig's competitive career ended at the 1967 Canada Winter Games even though he was in his late thirties at the time.

For these accomplishments and for his contributions to speed skating at the local, national and international levels and because of his enthusiastic encouragement and training of young speedskaters, Craig MacKay has been named a member of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

Installed in the Hall of Fame on March 31, 1973.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

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Photo 7 of 14. | | |

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 8 of 14. | | |

Margaret Robb Mueller

Margaret (Peggy) Robb Mueller was the first of Saskatoon's speed skaters who achieved international stature during 1956 and 1960.

She was third in the North American championships at West Allis, Wisconsin, in 1956 and was a member of the Canadian team, participating in the 500, 1,000, 1,500 and 3,000 metre races at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley, Calif.

The trip to the Olympics capped a career in which she won Saskatchewan championships four times, Alberta titles five times and Canadian championships at various levels and in various age groups seven times.

Robb Mueller was also an outstanding athlete at the university of Saskatchewan, winning a major athletic plaque in 1964 for participation on six inter-varsity teams and the Spirit of Youth award, also in 1964, recognizing her leadership, sportsmanship, academic ability, character and all-round physical fitness.

At the university, she was a four-year starter for the Huskiettes basketball team and was a second team all-star in a 1963 tournament at Lethbridge.

She was also Saskatchewan's diving champion, 1960 through 1962, and during her high school days at Nutana collegiate, won the Evans trophy, emblematic of sportsmanship, leadership and academic achievement as the top graduating female in 1960.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 9 of 14. | | |

Johnny Sands

Johnny Sands, a four-time Canadian senior speed skating champion, scaled Olympic heights twice, racing for Canada at the 1956 Games in Lake Misurina, Italy, and the 1960 Games at Squaw Valley, California.

Sands grew up in the Mayfair district, was skating in the Saskatoon Lions club at the age of 12 in 1946 and dominated in his age classes for 11 years.

He won his first Canadian title as a 13-year-old at 440 yards at Sudbury, Ontario, in 1947 and within seven years, was skating with the best in the senior division. He shared the Canadian men's overall title with Frank Stack in 1953, won it on his own in 1955, 1957 and 1958. Twice he held Canadian senior records, once at 220 yards and once at 440 yards.

He qualified for the Canadian Olympic team in 1956, falling in the 500 metre sprint and finishing 45th with a time of 2:20.17 in the 1,500 metres.

Then at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley, he was 27th in the 500 metres in 42.8 seconds and was 43rd in the 1,500 metres in 2:28.4.

Sands moved to Montreal just before the 1960 Olympics, appeared in a number of international meets in New York state, and in 1962, held the unofficial North American record for 220 yards with a clocking of 17.9 seconds at Saranac Lake, N.Y.

He quit competitive skating in 1968, started two clubs in the Montreal area and continued to work in the sport.

Sands also won national recognition in junior football, starring as a halfback with the Saskatoon Hilltops. In 1951 and 1952, the Hilltops lost in the western final but in 1953, they became the first Hilltop team to win a Canadian championship, beating Windsor AKO in a game in Saskatoon.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers.

Date: 1955.

Photographer: CFQC Staff.

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Photo 10 of 14. | | |

Eleanor Van Impe

Born in 1909, Eleanor began skating in Conquest, Saskatchewan. She spent a couple of years in Regina before joining the Saskatoon speedskating club in 1931. For eleven years Eleanor set local and provincial records and competed in the national and North American championships. Her specialties were races from 220 yards to 3/4 of a mile.

In 1932, she missed the 3/4 mile world record by 2/lOths of a second. Eleanor took part in races that were often part of winter carnivals and hockey games. She did some coaching with the Saskatoon Lions club after her competitive days were over. An outstanding athlete, Eleanor also excelled in softball, bowling, curling and golf. She also found time to be a figure skating judge. From 1928 to 1939, while a speed skater, she amassed 55 first place finishes and ten second place finishes.

She was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1984 and joined the select group in the Saskatoon Hall in 1986.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers

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Photo 11 of 14. | | |

Brenda Webster

Brenda was born July 21, 1961 and grew up in Regina. During her high school years at Sheldon Williams Collegiate, she spent most of her time training for provincial, national, and international speed skating competitions. Brenda is one of only a few skaters who has experienced success in both long track and short track speed skating. This is evident in the fact that she skated in an unprecedented four World Championships in one competitive year, 1979. These meets were the World Junior, the World Sprint, the World, and the World Short Track Speed Skating Championship for Ladies.

From her earliest days, Brenda was successful in speed skating. During her career she held almost all Saskatchewan records in all distances in each age category. This inductee also held many Canadian records, including the Olympic Style Junior 1000, 1500, and 3000 meter distances and the Olympic Style Senior 500 and 5000 meters.

Consistently, Brenda was a winner for Saskatchewan. Among her many achievements, she won the 1977 North American Junior Class Championship in Long Track and Short Track. That year, she also won the World Short Track Championship in Grenoble, France. At the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, Brenda placed eleventh in both the 1500 and 3000 meter distances and nineteenth in the 1000 meters. After completing two years of university she was back in competition. In 1983, she placed tenth in the World Sprint Championship at Helsinki and sixteenth at the World Championship held in Karl Marx Stadt, East Germany.

Installed in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and Museum on June 15, 1991.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 12 of 14. | | |

Craig Webster

Craig was born November 23, 1957 in Regina. He attended Sheldon-Williams Collegiate and was involved in numerous activities such as football, volleyball and basketball; but Craig's keenest interest was in speed skating. During his career in this sport he became known as an accomplished competitor, placing extremely well in all levels of competition.

This inductee broke many Saskatchewan Olympic Style and a number of Canadian records. At the provincial level, he held records in both the Junior and Senior Olympic Style at 500, 1000, 1500, and 5000 meters and broke the record for the Junior Olympic Style in the 3000 meters. Nationally, he has held records in the 1500 meters in the Junior Long Track and the 600 and 800 meters Short Track. In addition, he broke records in the Canadian Olympic Style at 500, 1500, 3000, and 5000 meter distances.

Craig won medals in several distances at the Canadian Long Track Championships in Junior Class (1973), Intermediate Class (1975), and at the Canadian Short Track in Senior Class (1976). After joining the Canadian National Team in 1977, he made his mark internationally. Craig placed fourth in the 1978 World Junior Championship in Inzell, West Germany and the next year won international meets in Madona, Italy and Davos, Switzerland. In 1980, Craig qualified for the Canadian Olympic Team and finished twenty-seventh in the 1000 meters, twenty-third in the 1500 meters and twentieth in the 5000 meters in Lake Placid. Later that year, he was the only Canadian skater to compete in the World Championship at Herenveen, Holland.

Installed in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and Museum on June 15, 1991.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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Photo 13 of 14. | | |


Kenneth Dale West

Kenneth Dale West

Dale West was an outstanding athlete excelling in football, track and field, speed-skating and baseball. Following an outstanding high school football career at Bedford Road, Dale went to the University of Arizona on an athletic scholarship where he lettered for the varsity team. He returned to Saskatchewan, attended University and was named to the Western Conference All-Star team.

In 1962, West joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a flanker. In 1963, he was named all -star safety and was the Western nominee for the Most Valuable Canadian Player. He earned All-Star rating again in 1964 and 1965. 1966 brought a Grey Cup Victory to the Riders. In track and field, Dale's specialties were the 100 and 220 yards, the broad jump and the hop, step and jump (now the triple jump). In the late 50's he also competed in the shot-put and the javelin. In speed-skating, Dale was the Bantam Boys speed-skating champion in 1951 and was selected as the first alternate on the 1960 Canada Olympic team.

A double winner, Dale was first named to the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in June of 1988 and the Saskatoon Hall in November 1988.

Text courtesy of Ned Powers.


Dale West was born August 11, 1941 in Cabri, Saskatchewan. He moved to Saskatoon at an early age and his sport interest grew. By age 10 he was Canadian Bantam Boys Speed Skating Champion. He held the City of Saskatoon Age Class Championship title for 8 years, and was named an alternate for the 1960 Olympic Games.

Track and Field benefited from West's talents. He held High School titles in 100 yd and 220 yd sprints, triple jump, long jump, discus and javelin; a very versatile athlete. This led to accolades at the provincial and national level. West was again an alternate, this time for the Pan American Games.

At 17, West headed south to Tucson, Arizona on a football scholarship. Upon graduation the Saskatchewan Roughriders claimed him. Considered one of the finest rookies of 1962, he was a Western Conference All-Star, 1963-65 inclusive. West was a Western Schenley nominee for most valuable Canadian in 1963 after intercepting 10 passes that season. He has fond memories of the 1966 Grey Cup win.

West retired after 7 years and has been a promoter of sport in the public school system, giving his expertise to the athletes of tomorrow. Thank You Dale West.

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

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

Copyright information: University of Saskatchewan

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Photo 14 of 14. | | |

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.

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