In 1964 the Yorkton Collegiate Institute Gridders team went undefeated on their way to the Saskatchewan High School Athletic Association 8-man football championship.
Although the team won the first ever 8-man high school championship in 1961 when there were 25 teams competing for the title, it was in 1964 when 43 teams competed for the title that the Gridders had their most successful season.
The team, made up of 14 veterans and 13 rookies, went undefeated. They easily defeated their opposition at the local league level, as well as during regional and provincial play-offs. In the provincial semi-finals, Yorkton defeated Broadview while Gull Lake defeated Lloydminster. The Gridders went on to defeat Gull Lake in the finals 30-0 and were awarded the Garvie trophy, emblematic of 8-man football supremacy in Saskatchewan. Counting all league games and the five provincial play-off games, the Gridders scored 309 points while giving up only 19. Four of their games were shut outs with three of those coming during the play-offs.
Most of the veterans on the 1964 team had played four consecutive years starting as rookies in 1961, and over this four-year period the team lost only four games. The talent displayed by this team and the success they had was quite amazing considering they did not have the opportunity to play minor football or club football in order to hone their skills before reaching high school age.
Although 12-man football was played in some of the larger cities during those years, Yorkton did not have the opportunity to participate in those leagues as is the case today. The speculation was that had they played in such a league they may have had success there as well.
All players on the team, who were either born or raised in or around Yorkton, committed to practice six days a week, adhering to their coach’s philosophy that success does not come without hard work. Although it is often said to be successful a team must have access to a large pool of talented players and often a significant number of coaches capable for developing that talent to the fullest, the l964 Gridder were obviously an exception to this rule.
The only pool of players available was from their own high school in Yorkton and their head coach, Ed Magis, was basically their one and only coach. A page from the 1964-65 high school yearbook stated, “Coach Magis spent countless hours molding together a body of men into a powerful machine for victory”!
Ed, who over his career has also coached 6, 9, 10, and 12-man high school football, stated all teams he coached were very special to him, but the 1964 team was extra special because they exemplified the meaning of the word “team” to the fullest! The fact they often coached one another and often practiced on their own was also quite exceptional for players of their age.
Members of the team were, back row from left: Larry Stubenberg, Alexander Torsky, Denis Laveck, Bob Achtemichuk, Bill Wright, Duve Lang, Tedd Wright, Jim Logan, Victor Glickman, Gordon Tamblyn, Wayne Rusnak, Ron Balacko, Coach Ed Magis; front row: Terry Stav, Dan Bush, Henry Fiege, Bill Haines, Dennis Shindle, Les Miller, Stan Len, Clare Zulyniak, Grant Martel; missing: Gord Gleason, Ron Hodgson, Gerald Novakowski, Ken Schutz, Wayne Eddy, Derryl Engel, Luba Magis.
The 2005-06 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) season was one to remember for the Yorkton Terriers, culminating with a berth in the national junior A championship game (then known as the Royal Bank Cup) in Brampton ON, televised nationally on TSN.
The Terriers finished the regular season with a 37-11-4-3 record, good for 81 points and the top seed in the Sherwood Conference, and tied for the most points in the league with the Nipawin Hawks and the Battlefords North Stars. In the playoffs they defeated the Weyburn Red Wings 4 games to 2 and then swept the Notre Dame Hounds to win the Sherwood Division title and move on to the Credential Cup league championship, where they defeated the Battlefords North Stars in five games to win their second consecutive SJHL championship.
With the league championship victory, the Terriers moved on to represent the SJHL in the Anavet Cup, where they would face the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) champion Winnipeg South Blues. The Terriers won the series in five games and advance to the Royal Bank Cup national championship in Brampton ON.
In round robin play, the Terriers defeated Joliette QC, but would fall to Burnaby BC, Fort William ON and Streetsville ON to finish at 1-3. But during the semi-finals the Terriers upset the top seeded (and home team) Streetsville Derbys 2-1 to move into the national championship final against the Burnaby Express. The Express, thanks to a hattrick by future NHLer Kyle Turris (who would be drafted third overall in the 2007 NHL entry draft) were crowned RBC Cup champions with an 8-2 victory, giving the Terriers the silver medal.
The Terriers, coached by Ed Zawatsky, were led during the season by Chris Korchinski, who was the SJHL MVP and won the SJHL regular season scoring title. Korchinski was also named the top forward at the RBC Cup, while Brett McRuvie was a Legacy Scholarship winner.
Several Terriers were named all-stars during the season, including Korchinski, McRuvie, Jason Wagar, Michael Holmes, Justin Menke, and Dustin Nehring. Brett Bothwell and Chad Nehring would represent the SJHL at the annual CJHL Prospects Game, coached by Zawatsky.
Although only being together as a unit for one season, many individuals continued on with their hockey careers, both collegiately and professionally in Canada and the USA.
Whether at the local level where she was an instructor at Kees Taekwondo in Yorkton, or whether travelling the world as one of Canada’s top certified international referees, Susanne Mitchell’s contribution to the sport of taekwondo is undeniably impressive. Susanne has almost two decades of international referee involvement, and it appears that there is no sign of slowing down in the near future.
As an assistant taekwondo instructor with Kees Taekwondo since 1998, Susanne has been involved in mentoring many young local athletes and referees for provincial and national competitions. Susanne has served the sport provincially as the chair for the Saskatchewan Taekwondo referee committee since 2005, where she prepares educational seminars and mentors provincial referees. She is presently mentoring two higher level referees to transition to the role of chair of the provincial body to ensure a successful transition. In 2017, Susanne received the Sask Sport Official of the Year award.
Perhaps the most impressive of Susanne’s accomplishments is the number of provincial, national and international competitions that she has attended and participated in, where she is often utilized as a ring manager, charged with the smooth operation of the event’s proceedings and the managing and mentoring of referee team members.
She has participated in Commonwealth Championships in Brisbane, Australia and Winnipeg; World Taekwondo qualifications and championships in locales such as Sharm El-Shek, Egypt; Manchester, England; Chelyabinsk, Russia; Muju, South Korea; Hammamet, Tunisia; and Tashkent, Uzbekistan, as well as Olympic Games selection camps in London, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.
At international championships she has been awarded the Best Referee awards at the 2008 Commonwealth Championships in Winnipeg, 2010 World Military (CISM) Games, the 2014 First World Cadet Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, and the 2022 Best Poomsae Referee award at the Dominican Open in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Susanne joins her husband, Wayne Mitchell, in the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame, where Wayne was inducted for his contributions to taekwondo in 2009.
A hockey career that began at the age of five with the Yorkton Minor Hockey system drove Ian Gordon to a storied and decorated career that took him to international levels. Excelling as a goaltender at all levels of minor hockey in Yorkton, Ian went on to the Western Hockey League (WHL), playing with the Swift Current Broncos and the Saskatoon Blades. In the 1992-93 season Ian and the Broncos won the league championship and represented the WHL at the Memorial Cup. The following season, Ian recorded six shutouts and was named as the Broncos Most Valuable Player. In his final junior season, Ian was traded to the Blades and was named as the MVP in Saskatoon as well.
Following his junior hockey career, Ian signed his first pro contract with the NHL’s Calgary Flames and spent two seasons playing with their affiliated minor team, Saint John Flames, in the American Hockey League. He then went on to the International Hockey League and spent three seasons with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Utah Grizzlies, and Cleveland Lumberjacks. While playing with the Griffins he was selected to play in the IHL All-Star Game in 1998.
In 2000, Ian signed his first overseas contract with the Schwenningen Wild Wings of the Deutschland Hockey League, the German elite league. Ian would go on to play 13 seasons in the league, spending three seasons with the Wild Wings, seven seasons with the Frankfurt Lions, and three seasons with Ingolstadt ERC.
While with the Frankfurt Lions in 2004, they won the league championship. Ian also was selected as a league all-star in the 2008 and 2009 seasons. In 2013, Ian retired after playing more than 700 games in the German league, holding league records for most games played (712) and the most career shutouts (45).
After his playing career, Ian transitioned to a coaching career with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, who were the 2017 WHL champions and participant in the Memorial Cup. He also worked with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Spruce Grove Saints, and he is the Director of Goaltending and goalie coach for the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels. Ian has also spent time with Hockey Canada as the goalie coach for the Team Canada U-17 program.
Now residing in Edmonton, Ian owns and operates his own company, Ian Gordon’s Goaltending, and operates goaltending summer camps across Alberta and Saskatchewan.
In 1961 Vic Kreklewetz was the playing coach of the Yorkton Terriers senior hockey team when he lost his life in a tragic car accident while travelling to Saskatoon to play in a league game. Hundreds attended his funeral or sent their condolences to the family and community, confirming Vic was one of the most respected and talented local athletes ever.
An editorial in the Yorkton Enterprise called him “a natural leader, a dynamic competitor and an all-around top performer. These same qualities made him an equally outstanding husband, father and representative of his community and country.”
Although a very accomplished golfer and softball player, Vic’s greatest recognition came through hockey. From 1945 to 1947 he was a star player with the Moose Jaw Canucks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, and again with the Flin Flon Bombers from 1948 to 1950. While with the Canucks Vic played alongside Metro Prystai, who soon moved to the NHL.
From 1950 to 1961 Vic alternately played in the Elite British Hockey League and the Saskatchewan Senior Hockey League as a Yorkton Terrier; most years as player and coach. In 1952 Vic joined the Stracham hockey team of the British league. He soon became a fan favourite and according to the local press it was here that he met and “married a pretty Stacham girl - Sylvia.” In December of that year Vic was named to the Ice Hockey World magazine allstar team and his team was named Team of the Coronation Year.
In the 1954-56 seasons Vic was playing coach and captain of the Harringay Racers in London, where he was heralded for not only being the top scorer but also for successfully being able to play every position except goal!
In 1955 Vic was the top scorer in the league championship tournament and later that year his team did what 17 other teams failed to do in a Canadian-European tournament involving the highly-ranked Canadian representatives, the Trail Smoke Eaters: “They beat Canada at their own game – speed, skating, power play and scoring,” the British media reported.
In 1958-59 Vic joined the Edinburgh (Scotland) Royals, again as player/coach. The Royals included eight Canadians, including his close friend Vern Pachal and Melville’s Ed Famulak. Throughout these years Vic and Vern were often selected to play on the league’s allstar team that would compete in international tournaments.
The newspapers labeled Kricky, as he was known in the hockey world, as one of the most respected and versatile players to ever play in the British Hockey League. He received a silver medal from Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, for this role in the great Royal Night of Ice Hockey, played at Wembley Stadium in 1952.
“Build it and they will come” is most likely a fitting description of Larry’s thoughts and dreams as he spearheaded the development of the Yorkton slo-pitch diamonds at York Lake Regional Park. Once these diamonds became a reality the fledging local league went from 10 teams to 45 teams with more than 1,000 players.
Larry’s involvement with the slo-pitch league began in 1977 and continued for over 20 years. He served as president of the league from 1979 to 1986 and as secretary-treasure for the next 10 years. He also served as regional representative for slo-pitch on the Saskatchewan Zone 4 Sports Council and as provincial representative on the slo-pitch national association in 1985 where his primary responsibility involved promoting the game at the local and provincial level and acting as a resource person for leagues throughout the province.
Perhaps Larry’s greatest contribution to the game of slo-pitch in this part of Saskatchewan was his involvement with the actual construction of the multi diamond facility at York Lake. Many in the community contributed to this project but none more than Larry.
Larry was the main spokesperson when it came to negotiations regarding acquiring a building site at the park. He negotiated a five-year deal with the Kinsmen who gave the league $30,000 to develop the project with the understanding the league raise the remaining funds. Consequently Larry spent countless hours organizing and actively engaged in every aspect of these fundraisers. By 1978, with the funding in place and the actual construction of the diamonds started Larry once again spent countless hours ensuring the project would be completed. Larry took the lead in negotiating a deal with SaskPower for the installation of lights for two of the four diamonds. The entire construction project was completed in three years rather than five. By the mid-90s the $400,000 facility was debt free and with Larry at the helm the league became one of a few in western Canada which owned and operated its own four diamond facility.
After the York Lake diamonds were fully operational, Larry was instrumental in bringing many provincial championship tournaments to Yorkton. These included provincial qualifying slo-pitch tournaments as well as the Western Canadian championships. Others were the provincials for SaskPower, SaskTel, the Royal Bank, SGI, and Dairy Producers. The provincial bantam baseball and the senior B fastball championships were also played at the slo-pitch diamonds.
In 1988 Larry received a special Certificate of Merit award that read: "The government of Canada proudly salutes Larry Renton in grateful recognition of your contribution to your community." The inscription says it all.
Larry’s contribution to the promotion of local sports and sport organizations through his involvement with the Kinsmen Club, the Associated Canadian Travellers (ACT), the Yorkton Sunrise Lions and the York Lake Golf Club cannot be underestimated, but his leadership and efforts in promoting slo-pitch in Yorkton and around the province is his legacy.
Randy has served as a radio sports announcer for 36 consecutive years; 25 of those years with CJGX Radio in Yorkton, three with CFQC in Saskatoon and the past eight with The Rock FM in Yorkton. During this time Randy has done about a thousand play-by-play broadcasts of various sporting competitions locally, provincially or nationally involving eight different sports.
He has spent many hours far and beyond those expected of a sportscaster. Randy is known for taking that extra time to thoroughly research the sport or sporting events he was broadcasting and has taken every opportunity to interview athletes and coaches at every level from local to national who have done well in their sport, thus promoting not only those individuals and their sport but also the community from which they came.
Randy’s play-by-play broadcasts included hockey games involving teams from Yorkton at the minor, junior and senior levels, as well as games played in the Yellowhead, Triangle and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey leagues. He has also broadcast the Anavet Cup finals, the Centennial Cup, the Purolator Cup, the RBC Cup, and games involving Saskatchewan teams in the Western Canadian Hockey league.
Outside the world of hockey Randy’s play-by-play included action from other sports such as the 1981 Canadian Junior Football Championships, the 1991 Canadian Snooker Championships, the 2005-06 Western Canadian Pee Wee, Bantam and Midget baseball championships and the Saskatchewan Provincial Ladies curling finals in 2006. His versatility and interest in other sports also resulted in him broadcasting softball, football, basketball, billiards and horse racing.
Randy’s interest in, and knowledge of sport in general along with his bubbly and positive personality has made him a favourite when sporting organizations went looking for just the right person to be their master of ceremonies for their year-end celebrations and awards ceremonies. Fifteen years as MC for Snowarama, 20 years for the Kinsmen Terriers Sportman’s Dinners, eight years for Football Night in Saskatchewan and 11 years as MC for the Yorkton Sport Hall of Fame inductions bears this out.
Randy has mentored a number of young sports broadcasters, teaching them the ropes and instilling in them the importance of promoting sports throughout our community and province.
Thank you to AccessNow TV for the video of the 2022 induction.
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