PA Sports Hall of Fame to induct Al Dyer

Submitted photo Al Dyer (left) and Bruce Vance (right) pose for a photo on the ice at the Art Hauser Centre prior to the 2023 Esso Cup

With any sports organization, there are always volunteers behind the scenes to make sure things operate smoothly.

Al Dyer has been a volunteer in Prince Albert for many years being involved with the Special Olympics, the Prince Albert Northern Bears and the Nordale Community Club, among others.

Dyer will be inducted into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame in the Meritorious Service category as part of the 32nd induction class banquet in April.

“At the end of the day, (I don’t) believe that I’ve been anything extraordinary.” Dyer says. “I just stepped up to work on some projects and work with some amazing people. I’m extremely humbled by it. I don’t think that I have done anything any different than dozens of other people who haven’t been inducted into the Hall of Fame. I’m very appreciative of the nomination and the award and I guess in some sense it’s just a reflection of all the people that I’ve worked with.”

Dyer began work with Special Olympics in Prince Albert back in 2000 and helped organize the successful 2002 Special Olympics Summer Games in Prince Albert. He joined the Saskatchewan Special Olympics board in 2004 and held various positions including chair up until 2017. He traveled all over the country thanks to his duties with the organization.

He received several awards for his time with Special Olympics. In 2014, Dyer received the Saskatchewan Sport Volunteer Award, the same year he chaired the Special Olympics Saskatchewan Winter Games. In 2015, Dyer received the Harry ‘Red’ Foster award from Special Olympics Canada. The award is presented to ‘“an individual, Special Olympics Chapter staff or volunteer who best exemplifies the sport, philosophy and goals of the Special Olympics movement and has contributed significantly in the develop, awareness and success of Special Olympics in Canada.”

The awards would not stop there as Dyer was honored at the Special Olympics 50th anniversary special gala in Toronto in 2019. He was recognized as one of the top 50 builders for all of Special Olympics Canada.

“The awards that I received from the Special Olympics were totally unexpected.” Dyer recalls. “In some ways I feel maybe not deserving of them simply because I was part of a group of people who did a lot of really good things. There’s been a number of awards that I’ve received but at the same time I have never been involved to receive awards. I’ve always been involved because it’s interesting and it’s valuable and it is worthwhile work. I’ve never considered it to be work even, I consider it activities that I could be part of that I enjoy doing.”

One highlight for Dyer was organizing the Special O Power Breakfast that was run alongside the Prince Albert Raiders. The event raised funds for both Special Olympics and the Raider Education Fund.

The inaugural Special O Power Breakfast was the first event held in the Ches Leach Lounge when it first opened after the renovations to the Art Hauser Centre. ‘Jungle’ Jim Hunter was the guest speaker and sold out the event. The Power Breakfast events would continue to be hosted for the next decade.

Dyer says the event would not have been possible thanks to the efforts of countless other volunteers.

“We were pretty fortunate to raise over $100,000 to be split between the two organizations. That was something you could say was the labor of love because we did something that was enjoyable and worthwhile and very rewarding for both organizations. We got to work with some amazing people and volunteers and I think that’s the key element of doing any of these things is you always get to work with other amazing people who work hard and do it for no reason, and it’s something that they like doing.”

While he was organizing the Power Breakfasts, Dyer would work closely alongside Bruce Vance, who was working as the business manager for the Raiders at the time.

Vance says Dyer enjoys volunteering and always seems to have solutions for any problems they faced.

“He is just a passionate, dedicated volunteer. I think back to his years with Special Olympics. He was pretty much the go-to guy for seeing Special Olympics Saskatchewan and Special Olympics Canada. He’s just so dedicated and comes up with good ideas. He’s also very connected within the province too, that is just a huge asset to the organizations and he brings a lot to the table.”

Another area of sport in the Prince Albert community that Dyer has been involved with for many years is female hockey. Dyer currently sits on the board of directors for the Prince Albert Northern Bears as the Financial Advisor. He can often be found working the front gate for Bears home games.

“My daughter (Jamielyn) played hockey from the age of about five or six and up until she was 16.” Dyer says. “I’m a sporting guy and I really enjoyed being part of her hockey career. When she was done and decided that she didn’t want to play hockey anymore, I was looking for something to do to keep me involved with the game of hockey. Female hockey is something that I hold fairly closely to my heart simply because it’s such a worthwhile program for young girls and women to be part of a game that they love.”

Dyer served on the host committee for the Esso Cup, which was hosted in Prince Albert in 2023. The event was supposed to be held in 2020, but was canceled just weeks prior due to the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite numerous cancellations and reschedules, the core of the host committee, including Dyer, stayed together to see the event through fruition.

“That’s kind of a microcosm to how the volunteer community in Prince Albert works.” Dyer says. “We started the bid in 2018 with a group of people and virtually all of that group from the beginning bid were still involved when we finally hosted the event last year. There was a little bit of turnover from here and there, but for the most part, the people stayed on and they hung with the program, and we were very frustrated, of course, with COVID and all the impacts and the challenges that presented, but we stuck to it and ended up hosting a great event that’s leaving a legacy, a financial legacy and I think also a legacy of visibility within the community of female hockey and the quality of the game of hockey that the Bears play.”

Dyer also spent 25 years as a member of the board for the Nordale Community Club serving in a variety of roles, including as the President.

When asked about Dyer, Vance says he is more than deserving of the honour.

“He’s one of the reasons that the PA Sports Hall of Fame exists to honor people that are behind the scenes and don’t get recognition. People that put in thousands of hours to better sports and better our community and he’s one of the guys that has done so much. From Special Olympics, SaskSport to the Esso Cup, his commitment and involvement is tremendous. He really fills the bill for meritorious service in that category. (He’s) a guy that gets very little recognition, but does so very much behind the scenes.”

Dyer will be honoured at the 32nd annual induction banquet of the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame on April 27 at the Ches Leach Lounge. The event begins at 6 p.m.