2019 Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame induction class announced

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame president Ellen Grewcock announces the 2019 induction class during a press conference Friday morning.

There’s a common thread among those that are part of the 2019 induction class into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame.

In addition to be involved as athletes, they’ve all given back to the community through volunteering or coaching.

“I think the spirit of being involved and helping others is something that we are all passionate about,” Derek Smith said.

“Everyone that’s inducted here have been part of the community for many years and they are all committed to growing the sports they have been involved with so we can continue to move them into the future.”

Smith was announced as one of the inductees into the Hall’s 29th class Friday morning, along with Blair Hoffman, Brad Bibby, Don & Ethel Hlewka, Paul Roy, Mark McElligott, Blake Edwards and Luc Robin.

The Hall will also recognize the Prince Albert Gymnastics Club as the Sports Organization of the Year during its induction banquet, which will take place at 6 p.m. in the Ches Leach Lounge on Saturday, April 27.

“It’s a huge honour for everyone involved with the club,” executive director Mike Amouri said. “Since I moved here in 2010, one of our goals has been to build the club and work towards having the chance to be recogninzed for something like this.”

“It’s been highly rewarding for us to see the kids come in when they are very young and work towards the senior level,” board of directors president Tammy Gillis added. “We’ve started to offer different programs to Prince Albert, such as the Special Olympics program a few years ago, and we plan to keep doing that in the years to come.”

According to Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame president Ellen Grewcock, Smith is believed to be the first person to be enshrined in three individual categories as he’ll inducted in the athlete, builder and meritorious service wings.

“I was pretty surprised to find out that I had been nominated for all three categories,” Smith said.

“Being a local boy, I was involved in sports growing up and I started to move in to the coaching side of things as I got older, which is something that I have always had a passion for.”

One of the top softball players in the city, Smith would later work behind the dugout for PA Minor Softball and was also the co-chair for the 2018 WBSC Junior Men’s Softball World Championship.

He’s also a coach for the Smashing Bananas volleyball program and is the president of the Prince Albert Community Basketball Association.

Hoffman, who will be inducted in the athlete and meritorious service categories, has been playing hockey and baseball in Prince Albert since 1960.

He also worked as a Recreations Coordinator and a Director of Parks and Recreation with the City of Prince Albert from 1975 to 2005, where he was involved with the upgrade or construction of venues such as the Art Hauser Centre, Prime Ministers’ Park and the Dave G. Steuart Arena.

Bibby, who will be enshrined as an athlete, has been a catcher in softball for two decades and has played for numerous teams at national championships.

In the winters, he’s taken his talents to the curling sheet where he’s skipped in the Econo Lumber Super League at the Prince Albert Golf & Curling Club.

He was also part of the 1989 Under 16 Juvenile provincial championship rink and the 2011 Saskatchewan Travellers Club Championship provincial winning team.

McElligott, Roy, Edwards and the Hlewkas will all enter the hall as builders.

Don Hlewka and his late wife Ethel took over the operations of Minto Bowl in 1968 and have watched on as 68 provincial champions and 19 national medalists all bowled out of the facility.

McElligott and Roy have worked together to help build rugby in Prince Albert since they moved here in the 1980’s, as they’ve put together the Rivers Dragons and Whiskey Jacks programs, along with Prince Albert Mini Rugby.

Edwards was a founding member of Ringside Fitness Centre, which helped to revive boxing in Prince Albert as their R-U-Tuff Enuff competition took the Prince Albert Boxing Club out of financial difficulties.

Robin, who will enter the hall in the meritorious service category, has coached hockey for 33 years and has also coached softball teams in the city for 12 years.

He was honoured with the Hockey Canada Century Tour’s Canadian Tire Heroes of Play Award in 2014 and also received the Prince Albert Minor Hockey Presidents Awards that same year.

Tickets for the induction banquet cost $50 each and are available at the Community Services department at City Hall.