2017 Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame Dinner
The 2017 Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame Induction dinner was a rousing success with over 700 attendees acknowledging some of Manitoba's hockey greats.
Held at the CanadInns Polo Park on Saturday, October 7, the event was hosted by Winnipeg radio/tv favourite, Joe Aiello. Hall President Don Kuryk greeted the evening's guests before Vice-President Jordy Douglas stepped to the mic and explained the two new Induction categories; the Dynasty Program for teams that have had success over consecutive years with the same core group of players; and the Veterans Category, for those teams or Individuals prior to 1965 that have either never been nominated, have somehow been overlooked or their achievements simply lost over the years.
Jordy also explained that nominations for the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame come from the public. Nominations for the 2019 Induction class are open now. Forms can be downloaded at; http://www.mbhockeyhalloffame.ca/nominations_2019/
Director Murray Allen announced the $10,000.00 2018 MBHHOF Community Award for Manitoba communities looking for assistance with anything hockey-related. Offered in partnership with Sigfusson Northern (www.sigfusson.ca) Rink improvements, equipment upgrades, improving registrations, whatever a community wants to pitch will be considered. Application forms are available at; http://www.mbhockeyhalloffame.ca/mbhhof-community-award/
During dinner a brief tribute to the Honoured Members that have passed away since the 2015 dinner was played followed by the first two inductees, showcased on the video screens; The 1920 Selkirk Jr. Fishermen, Memorial Cup finalists and Barney Holden in the Veterans Category.
From that point on, the video screens were kept busy telling the stories behind the 1950-54 Big Six Intermediate Hockey League Dynasty Inductee Dauphin Kings, NHL referee Rob Martell, the MMJHL's Barry Bonni, Winnipeg Maroon Ross Parke, former Jet Laurie Boschman, former MJHL Commish and long-time MBHHOF member Gary Cribbs, former Chicago Black Hawk Murray Bannerman, 5-time Provincial champion Assiniboia Residential School, International player Jennifer Botterill, the WHA's Jim Benzelock, the NHL's defenceman Lew Morrison, coach Barry Trotz, and forward Pat Falloon, journalist Vic Grant and former Winnipeg Jets owner Michael Gobuty.
Some of the dinner highlights; Jim Benzelock telling a tale from his hockey career about a scuffle with Mark Howe of the Houston Aeros in the 1974 WHA finals. Seems, father Gordie skated by the penalty box and looked in. Benny was quick to ask if the old man "wanted some to?" Immediately realizing his mistake, Benny offered a quick prayer in hopes Gordie would not remember.
Michael Gobuty told a hilarious tale of himself and Ulf Nilsson joining Bobby Hull for breakfast and somehow getting cajoled into helping Hull herd 200 head of cattle down a road one morning, while in their Gucci shoes and cashmere sweaters.
Ross Parke's former teammate, Reg Abbot sent a message reminding Ross that the only time he and Fred Dunsmore didn't play on the same line with Parke was in an International hockey tournament in Geneva. Abbot and Dunsmore were both injured and watched from the stands as Parke scored 6 times! Abbot asked if Parke had considered how successful his career might have been if he hadn't been stuck with those two!
A poignant moment came when team captain George Kakeway of the Assiniboia Residential School introduced the 1960-1964 team members, winners of 5 straight Provincial titles in their "final victory".