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Sports Heroes From Saskatchewan
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Val Hoffinger

Val Hoffinger will always be known as one of the most colourful athletes to come from Saskatchewan. Born on January 1, 1903, Hoffinger grew up in Salvador, Saskatchewan. Hockey coursed through his veins from an early age, and he became a stellar defenseman for the local Saskatoon Sheiks. He could be kept on the Saskatoon team for only two seasons as he was soon offered and accepted a call from the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League.

Due to various contract difficulties, Hoffinger was a veteran of many of the professional leagues of the day, to a point where he was considered, the "most travelled hockey player" of the day.

As proof of his adventurous nature, Hoffinger accepted an offer to coach the German Olympic hockey team that was to compete in the 1936 Olympics. Realizing the team needed better competition, he recruited some players from Saskatchewan and took them on a 50 game tour of Europe, and returned having lost only five games. Although he was paid well for coaching, he was not allowed to leave Germany with his salary, and therefore figured it would be in his interest to leave Germany with an education. Hoffinger studied chiropody while in Berlin and left the country with a promising career ahead of him. As an interesting note, while in Germany Hoffinger was one of the few foreigners presented to Hitler.

Upon returning to Canada in 1939 he began his practice of chiropody in Toronto. Hoffinger was the personal foot doctor to several movie stars including Danny Kaye. He later married Bernice Scholls, daughter of the famous Dr. Scholls, and together they inherited the Scholls company.

Text courtesy of Prairie Gold

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