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Clare Drake began his coaching career at the Yorkton Collegiate Institute in the 1950s. Having had an early influence on the Yorkton Cardinals and the Yorkton Red Sox baseball teams, Clare eventually moved on to national and international achievement. For 28 years he served as coach of the University of Alberta Golden Bears. In 1967-68, he earned the unprecedented success of coaching two teams in two sports, football and hockey, to national championships in one year. He was the first Canadian coach to win 500 games, and only the third in North America to achieve that status at the time.
In 1975-76 he was head coach of the World Hockey Association’s Edmonton Oilers. In 1977-1979 he coached the Golden Bears hockey team to two championships at the Pacific Rim Tournament. The next year brought his appointment as one of three coaches to guide the Canadian Olympic hockey team, and his Canadian student team earned silver at Lake Placid. In 1981, the Canadian student national team led by Drake to the gold medal at the World Student Games in Jaca, Spain.
Clare Drake began his outstanding career in Yorkton, and through the sports of hockey, football, track and field, baseball, basketball and swimming became a well-rounded builder and exemplary coach of international acclaim.
He was inducted into the Alberta Hall of Fame in 1980, the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame in 1983,, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1989, and was twice named Edmonton Sportsman of the Year.
During his lifetime of 62 years, C.J. Drake made an outstanding contribution as both coach and mentor to the sports world. His community involvement as principal of Burke School in Yorkton, active roles in church and service groups, but especially his coaching influence made him a builder of sport in Yorkton.
As coach of girls’ softball for 40 years, C.J. had an incredible record: a 90% win statistic, and one run of nine years without a single loss in league games. He also coached senior men’s softball and in 1940 the Yorkton Allstars won the first Provincial Softball Championship.
C.J. Drake is perhaps best known for his greatest love, hockey. His Fighting Fifth produced many of Yorkton’s best hockey players, some of whom went on to professional careers (Bill and Metro Prystai, Vern Pachal and others). C.J. initiated seven man hockey competition on a public interschool level, thereby focusing on involvement as well as stardom. In addition to hockey, his organization of track and field competitions helped to develop local and provincial champions.
C.J. Drake displayed a strong character and a fine example for others. A quote from Rev. Jack Jones that appeared in a tribute on the occasion of C.J.’s early passing stated: “Not everyone agrees with C.J., but most of us know who he was and had a fair idea of what he stood for -- a fair deal, good sportsmanship, and upright living.”
Dr. Jack MacIntyre began his influence on the Yorkton sports scene as an Air Force Flying Instructor who flew servicemen who were senior hockey league players to game destinations. Deciding on a medical career, he graduated from the University of Manitoba with a medical certificate in 1953, and soon thereafter began a family practice in Yorkton.
Dr. MacIntyre was instrumental in organizing a minor sports executive, then an association of which he was the first president. His dedication to minor sports in Yorkton covered more than 20 years. In 1960 he managed the Yorkton Bantam Baseball team which won the provincial championship.
Dr. Macintyre’s greatest contribution to sport in Yorkton was in the hockey arena. Twenty years as the volunteer team physician for the senior teams, including the provincial champion teams of Senior Terriers during the consecutive seasons 1967 through to 1971 made him a familiar face to many players and fans. He served as team physician to all players during the Yorkton-hosted Western Canadian Allan Cup in 1971. Special recognition of service and dedication was given to Dr. MacIntyre in 1966 when he was named as the very first Yorkton Sportsman of the Year. For 40 years his quiet and humble presence mended both the bones and hearts of many in sports.
Vern Pachal’s contribution to sport showcases a lifetime. Vern’s early hockey efforts were rewarded with championships at the Pee Wee, Junior, University, and International levels. In addition to being a strong team player, Vern lead scoring races at each level of play as well. In 1947 he scored a record-setting three goals in 11 seconds, in 1950 he scored 50 goals and in 1951 he scored 52 goals. During his University of Alberta hockey career, Vern was captain and scoring champion for the Golden Bears hockey team.
Experience in Europe playing in the British Ice Hockey League was eventually replaced by a teaching career in the physical education departments at Yorkton high schools. During those years Vern was chairman of the Saskatchewan High School Athletic Association where he acquired a merit award, and on the Saskatchewan Men’s Curling Association Board of Directors. He founded the Yorkton Phys. Ed. Society and contributed to the establishment of the Yorkton Legion Track Club.
Vern’s community spirit was instrumental in the move to change the Yorkton Junior Terriers from a private to a community-owned franchise in 1984, a drive that saved the team from folding. In addition to hockey excellence, Vern also contributed much to the game of golf in Yorkton, having been a strong advocate for development of the course. He was a Blue Owl tournament winner in 1978, a hole-in-one achiever four times, gave years of service on the executive and organized junior golf development in the 1970s.
Vern received the Sportsman of the Year award in 1968. In 1994 the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame, a dream of Vern’s for some time, became a reality due to his dedication and commitment.