Bruce Vance to be named Kinsmen Sportsman of the Year

Daily Herald File Photo, Bruce Vance (left) with his wife Liane acknowledge the crowd during the Prince Albert Northern Bears home opener.

Ever since the Vance family relocated from Lethbridge to Prince Albert, you would be hard pressed to not find Bruce Vance at a sporting event volunteering his time.

Vance has been named the 2024 Kinsmen Sportsman of the Year and will be honoured at the Kinsmen Sports Dinner on Jan. 20 at the Art Hauser Centre’s Ches Leach Lounge.

Vance says he is humbled to receive the recognition from the Kinsmen Club.

“It’s just a tremendous honour and I’m just thrilled to be the Sportsman of the Year. The Kinsmen Club has done such a tremendous job at our community, fostering sports and building sports throughout the decades and they’re so well respected and to be Sportsman of the Year among the many over the years it’s just truly an honour.”

It’s not the only recognition Vance has received this year. He was inducted into the Prince Albert Raiders Wall of Honour back on Oct. 20.

Vance has been a pivotal volunteer in the Prince Albert community and worked as the Raider Director of Marketing and Business Manager from 2001-2015.

Vance says he volunteered his time in the community in an act of love and passion for the community and never expected to receive recognition like he has in recent months.

“It’s pretty overwhelming and I’ve had some time to reflect and sat back and had a look at the body of work that we were able to do here over the 22 years my family has lived in the city and it’s just tremendous to see the recognition that I’m getting. You volunteer for the love of sport and the love of kids and to see everything grow and we’ve been blessed with success whether it be on the hockey side or on the softball side, community club involvement and many of the other events in the city and it’s such a vibrant and positive sports community to be named Sportsman of the Year in a great sports community like Prince Albert is a tremendous honour.”

One of Vance’s most major accomplishments was the “Bring Back The Magic” campaign that revitalized the Comuniplex into what it now known as the Art Hauser Centre back in the early 2000s.

Vance recalls how the community of Prince Albert stepped up to the plate when funds were needed to be raised to keep the Raiders in Prince Albert.

“I remember at the time walking around the old Comuniplex talking with the board of directors and saying ‘boy, we really need to upgrade our facilities here’ and there was pressure from the Western Hockey League.”

“The community stepped up big time as they always do in PA and then raised millions of dollars to make the facility very viable. We were pretty diligent in our planning that it’s been able to stand the test of time and it’s gone beyond the 10-year lifespan that we thought it would for sure have to keep the team here.”

“It’s still a great building to watch a hockey game in and with the improvements that we did, it just enhances it and to see the city respond and to have the outpouring of love for the Raiders and to make it really a gem of the city is very important.”

Despite all the time Vance has given to the Prince Albert community, he has been fighting a battle while he has done it.

Vance has had 53 rounds of chemotherapy and radiation during his battle with stage four cancer and stopped undergoing treatments in June 2023.

Vance says he wasn’t going to let the disease dictate what he was able to do and is thankful for the community support he was received during his battle.

“I’m naturally a very positive person. When you’re diagnosed with cancer, you can go one of two ways. You can hide in your shell and wait for it to eat you up or you can fight and be positive. I’ve put up a fight here for a long time against a disease. And through that, I’ve been able to keep involved with the community. Cancer has certainly taken its toll and it’s starting to really affect me these days, unfortunately. But we’ve put up a really good fight, I think. To have the people respond to me and also to help raise funds for cancer along the way with that (Northern) Bears tribute game back there in September is just also very special.”