By T. Kent Morgan
The Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame will induct six players, seven builders and one official in the Fall of 2013. Three teams also will be honoured. The class of 2013 was announced April 15 at a media conference held at the Canad Inns Polo Park in Winnipeg.
Mike Ford, who was a member of two World Hockey Association Avco Cup winning Winnipeg Jets teams, and Western Manitoba’s Bill Mikkelson, who played in the NHL for three teams, are the defensemen being honoured. Both had played junior with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Winnipeg Jets. Four forwards were selected for induction.
Gerry James, who got his start at Sir John Franklin Community Club in Winnipeg’s River Heights area, won a Memorial Cup with the Toronto Marlboros and played for the Toronto Maple Leafs during the same period he was a star running back for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Vaughn Karpan from The Pas played junior in Brandon, at the University of Manitoba and then spent several seasons with Canada’s National Team that included playing in the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympic Games.
In 1985 while with the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Bill Watson from Pine Falls won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top collegiate player in the USA. He later played in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The fourth forward, Ed Hoekstra, will be inducted posthumously. Born in Winnipeg, he was a top scorer for the Weston midgets before moving East to play in St. Catherines. His professional career ran from 1958-59 through 1973-74 and included time in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers and in the WHA with the Houston Aeros. He died in St, Catherines on Nov. 10, 2011 at age 74.
Two builders, Wayne Chernecki and Wayne Fleming, also will be inducted posthumously at the induction dinner on Oct. 5. Chernecki, 63, died in Winnipeg on Feb. 11 and Fleming, 62, in Calgary on March 25. The Hall of Fame independent selection committee had made its choices for 2013 in January so Hall of Fame vice-president Don Kuryk, who chairs the committee, was able to participate in private ceremonies honouring them before their deaths. A product of Winnipeg’s North End, Chernecki was an outstanding player and leader from playground through junior hockey in Winnipeg. After a brief pro career, he turned to coaching where he had success at the bantam, midget and junior levels. Born in Snow Lake, Fleming’s coaching resume included stints at the U of M, Europe, the NHL and as an associate coach with Canada’s gold medal winning team at the 2002 Olympics.
Former Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association and Winnipeg Minor Hockey president Don MacKenzie; Tom Miller, president of the St. James Canucks of the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League for 35 years; Bruce Southern from Winnipeg’s Riverview area, who coached junior in the three Prairie provinces and scouted for four NHL teams; and Al Tresoor, whose 29 years behind the bench began in Elmwood and included provincial championships at the juvenile and junior level, also will be recognized as builders. Official Ian Heather, who has been a leader in the development of officials for Hockey Manitoba and Hockey Canada, also will enter the Hall in the builder category. Bob Thompson from Oak Lake, who began his officiating career of more than 25 years in Brandon in 1970 and attained a Level 6 credential that allowed him to work as high as international hockey, will be inducted as an official.
In the team category, the Ile des Chenes North Stars, winners of the Allan Cup emblematic of the Canadian senior hockey championship in 2003, will become that latest team to take its rightful place on the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame Wall of Champions in the MTS Centre. This exhibit honours Olympic, international, national and professional league championship teams from our province. The 1951 Winnipeg Monarchs and the 1972-73 St. Malo Warriors will have their names added to the Hall of Fame team honour list where a team is recognized either for a single-season accomplishment or for success over a specific period of time. Monarchs will be honoured for winning the Abbott Cup emblematic of the Western Canada junior championship while the Warriors had an undefeated season in winning the intermediate Hanover Tache Hockey League championship.
Mike Ford was born July 26 1952 in Ottawa, Ont. A product of a military family, Ford began to play hockey in Shilo, Man., later at Sir John Franklin and River Heights community clubs in Winnipeg. After junior with the Winnipeg Jets and Brandon Wheat Kings and two years with Port Huron of the IHL, he had a tryout with the WHA Winnipeg Jets. This resulted in two Avco Cups with the Jets with a short stint with Calgary Cowboys in between. Ford also played eight seasons in Europe.
Bill Mikkelson, born in Neepawa in 1948, played junior with Brandon Wheat Kings and the junior Winnipeg Jets. In the NHL, he was with LA Kings, New York Islanders and Washington Capitals. He also played part of seven AHL campaigns and was a member of champion Springfield Kings in 1970-71, his first pro season. A teammate on the Kings that season was another 2013 inductee, Ed Hoekstra. Bill retired at the age of 29. No doubt there is hockey blood in the Mikkelson family. Bill’s uncle Jimmy McFadden was the NHL rookie of the year in 1948. Bill’s son, Brendan, is an Anaheim draft choice and his daughter, Meaghan, just competed in the world championship with Team Canada.
Gerry James, born in Regina in 1934, grew up in Winnipeg and played sports at Sir John Franklin Community Club. He was, of course, better known in football. He played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers while still in high school and went on to become one of the best ball carriers in the country. But the Toronto Maple Leafs liked his hockey skills. While still a juvenile player he participated in the 1951 Memorial Cup final with the Winnipeg Monarchs. He was also part of the Toronto Marlboros 1955 national junior championship team and later played in the1960 Stanley Cup final with the Leafs.
Vaughn Karpan was born in 1961 in Flin Flon and grew up in The Pas. He played junior with the Brandon Wheat Kings and New Westminster Royals and scored 98 goals and 169 points in 102 games with the U of Manitoba Bisons. Karpan played 213 international games for Canada including in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo and the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. He has been a scout for a number of NHL teams and presently is a pro scout for the Montreal Canadiens.
Ed Hoekstra born in 1937, played minor hockey in Winnipeg and then followed his older brother, Cec (2001 HOF player inductee), to play junior for the St. Catherines Teepees where he scored 102 goals in four seasons. Hoekstra played one season for the Philadelphia Flyers and 97 games for Houston Aeros of the WHA. He was a journeyman who chalked up 833 points in 965 games in places such as Quebec, Cleveland, Buffalo, Denver and Springfield. He died in 2011.
Bill Watson, born in Pine Falls in 1964, played junior for Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL and joined The University of Minnesota-Duluth for three seasons. In 1984-85 he scored 46 goals and added 60 assists for 109 points. This earned him the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the outstanding player in US College hockey and first-team All-American honours for the second consecutive year. Watson passed up his final year of eligibility to sign with Chicago Black Hawks where he played 115 games. He was an assistant coach with his alma mater in 2010-11 when they were NCAA Division 1 national champs.
The late Wayne Chernecki would likely have received consideration from the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame as a player or a builder. A star from playground through junior and a Detroit Red Wing draft choice, he played 263 games for the AHL Springfield Kings and Providence Reds. He then returned to Winnipeg and put to use the commerce degree he had completed while playing for the Winnipeg junior Jets. As a coach he won the Western Canadian AAA bantam championship with the Winnipeg Hawks in 1992 and two league championships with St. James Canadians of the MJHL in 1996 and 1997.
Wayne Fleming was an assistant coach in the NHL with Phoenix, Philadelphia, Calgary, Edmonton, The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay. He started it all as the Manitoba Bisons head man and also coached in Russia, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland. Fleming worked with head coach Dave King when Canada won a silver Olympic medal in Albertville, France in 1992. He was a member of the coaching staff when Canada won Olympic gold in 2002 in Salt Lake City. He also was associate coach at the 2006 Games in Torino, Italy.
Don MacKenzie started coaching minor hockey at Isaac Brock Community Club when he was playing junior for the Winnipeg Rangers. He served as a director and then president of the Winnipeg Minor Hockey Association in the 1970s. At the provincial level, he spent 10 years on the executive of the Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association and was president from 1980 to 1984. Over the years he was involved in the organization of a numerous championships including the Air Canada national midget championship and the IIHF world junior championship. In 2055, his leadership role in events such as the 1990 Western Canada Summer Games and the 1999 Pan Am Games as well as hockey earned him induction into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame as an all-round builder.
Tom Miller is sometimes called ” Mr. Hockey in St. James” He became the founding president of The St.James Canucks of the MMJHL in 1978-79 and he is still in the job. They also call him the general manager, fund raiser and team psychologist. Tom always thought area players deserved to have the opportunity to play and while he could have had stronger teams by bringing in players from outside the area he has stayed true to their original idea. It is said that Tom once went into surgery with fundraising tickets taped to his chest so the doctor had to buy them before the operation began.
Bruce Southern has been involved in hockey as a player, coach and scout for 45 years. Bruce coached the Fort Garry Blues to three MMJHL titles and also coached St. James Canadians and St. Boniface Saints of the MJHL. He was also coach of the WHL Winnipeg Warriors and assistant coach at Calgary and Swift Current of the same league. Bruce was an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets from 1984-89 and scouted for Ottawa, San Jose and Minnesota Wild and was director of player personnel for the Manitoba Moose in both the IHL and the AHL.
When Al Tresoor coached at East Elmwood and then moved to Kelvin Community Centre, he coached winning minor teams at every level. He later went on to coach junior hockey with Kildonan North Stars and St. Boniface Saints. who he led to a Manitoba/Saskatchewan title in 1970-71. Tresoor coached for 29 years. He learned wherever he could – skating tips from Harold Snell, an Ice Capades clown, advice on goaltending from his baseball coach, Terry Sawchuk, and help from Carl Brewer, Anatoly Tarasov, the great Russian coach, and when he lived in Toronto, Lloyd Percival.
Ian Heather has been a long-time referee and was referee-in-chief for WMHA 1973-78 and later served in that role for the Winnipeg High School League from 1987-1994. Most of his support, however, referred to his work in referee development which is why he enters the Hall as a builder. Ian was supervisor of officials for the 2003 CIS women’s championship and the 2005 Royal Bank Cup and was involved in the 2007 under-17 tournament in Selkirk in 2007 and the World Under-17 championship in Winnipeg in 2011. And that’s just naming a few.
Bob Thompson from Oak Lake refereed 3000 games in 25 years in southern Manitoba. He began by officiating 75 games in 1970 in Brandon. By 1972 he was a linesman in the Western Junior League and at the University level. He obtained his level 6 papers in Toronto and officiated at the World Junior Championships in Brandon and the Western Canadian university finals in Regina. As a registered MAHA clinician, he conducted officiating clinic across the province from the 1970s through the 1990s.
2003 Ile des Chenes North Stars
Ile des Chenes began its run to the 2003 Canadian senior hockey championship by winning a three-team tournament in Manitoba that included La Broquerie Habs and the Warroad (Minn.) Islanders. The North Stars then travelled to Lloydminster and swept the hometown Border Kings three straight to earn the right to represent Manitoba and Saskatchewan at the Allan Cup playdown in Dundas, Ont. The four-team competition included the host Real McCoys, Stony Plain Eagles representing Alberta and B.C. and Lancaster ThunderCats for the East. After winning the Atlantic Canada title, the ThunderCats from New Brunswick eliminated Cambridge, Ont. in the Eastern Canada playoff. In round-robin play North Stars beat Lancaster 6-3 and Stony Plain 6-2, but lost 5-3 to Dundas. The 2-1 record put North Stars into the national final while Stony Plain earned a spot by shutting out Lancaster 3-0 in a sudden-death semi-final. The Manitoba team won the Canadian title with a 3-2 victory in double overtime. Although registered in Manitoba as an independent senior team, Ile des Chenes had been a dominant team in intermediate league play for many years and won six Hanover Tache Hockey League championships in the previous decade. The team’s only previous trip to the Allan Cup came in 1998.
1951 Winnipeg Monarchs
The 1951 Winnipeg Monarchs had a very difficult road in order to win the Abbott Cup emblematic of the Western Canada junior hockey championship. First of all, Monarchs had to beat the two-time defending champion Brandon Wheat Kings in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League final that went six games. Next up were the Thunder Bay champion Port Arthur Bruins. In that back-and-forth series, Monarchs won game one 4-3, lost the next two 1-0 and 8-4, went up three games to two with 6-4 and 1-0 wins, and saw Bruins tie the series with another 1-0 shutout. In game seven played at the Winnipeg Amphitheatre, Monarchs led 3-0 and held off the Bruins for a 3-2 victory.
The Regina Pats from the Western Canada Junior Hockey League were the Monarchs’ opponents in the Western Canada final for the Abbott Cup. The first three games were played in Regina with Pats winning the first game 2-1, the teams playing to a 5-5 tie, and Monarchs taking the third 2-1. Back home, Winnipeg won 2-0 and 5-2, but the Pats refused to give in and tied the series with a 2-1 victory in game six and a 4-3 win in game seven. In the eighth game, Monarchs came out flying and led 3-1 after the first period and 7-1 after two en route to an 8-4 win. In the Canadian final for the Memorial Cup that was played in Winnipeg and Brandon, Monarchs lost four straight to the powerful Barrie Flyers whose lineup included several future Boston Bruins.
1972-73 St. Malo Warriors
The intermediate Hanover Tache Hockey League was established in January 1958 to provide an outlet for local players from smaller communities in southeastern Manitoba. Six teams played in the initial season and St. Malo entered a team for the first time in 1963-64. In 1970-71, the Warriors finished first in the league’s south division, but lost to Mitchell in the semi-finals. The next season the third-place Warriors defeated the first place Mohawks in the semis, but then lost to the eventual champion Grunthal Red Wings. In 1972-73 it all came together for the youthful St. Malo team. Warriors went through the regular season undefeated winning 18 straight games. They then capped off a perfect year by winning eight more in the playoffs and the team’s first Hanover Tache title. Now 40 years later, the St. Malo Warriors are being recognized by the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame for their single-season accomplishment in 1972-73.
Tickets for the 2013 induction banquet cost $120 per person and tables for 10 are available for $1100. A charitable tax receipt is included as part of the ticket. Reception at 5 p.m., Oct. 5, with dinner at 6 p.m. Tickets can be ordered from the Hall of Fame office, 43 Dickens Dr., Winnipeg R3K 0M1, through the website: www.mbhockeyhalloffame.ca or from President Gary Cribbs, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 204-837-4159.