UNITY — In the early part of the new millennium, several residents of Unity banded together to create a recognition system for those residents who have excelled and succeeded in the area of sports and recreation, founding the Unity Sports Wall of Fame.
“We had an induction event for five consecutive years, with the last one being held in 2007,” said committee member Melissa Sperle.
The founding committee included Don Robertson as chairperson, along with Bob Eltom, Sperle, Stan Weber and Carey Baker. There was initial assistance from James Wagner and Cindy Vanderlinde along with help on the induction banquets from many individuals throughout the years that included Pat Orobko and Scott Smith who helped on the high profile silent auction items. The current committee is made up of the existing founding members.
This year’s induction event is the largest one the committee has hosted so far. In the fall of 2012 the committee believed they may not have had enough inductees to proceed, however an explosion of team championships in the next few seasons quickly altered those plans
“Our committee seeks public nominations but also keeps track of championships and approaches teams and individuals regarding their eligibility,” explains Baker.
Sperle explains the qualifying rules are strict.
“Anyone can submit nominations and all are reviewed,” she adds “If anyone is unsure, ask and someone from the committee can explain the qualifications. We wanted only the highest levels and achievements to be inducted each session.”
This year’s event took place May 9 with 30 inductees recognized.
There are plans to construct a separating wall in the existing Wall of Fame room to provide space to reorganize and display the new inductees.
The 2015 inductee list included: 2007 Northern Provincial Softball; 2009 Senior Baseball Provincials; 2011 Squirt Softball Provincials; 2011 Pee Wee Hockey Provincial; 2012 Pee Wee Softball Provincial; 2012 Ladies’ Curling Provincial; 2012 Bantam C Provincial Softball; 2012 UK Royals Provincial and Western Canadian; 2012 Pee Wee A Provincial Baseball; 2012 Mosquito Provincial Baseball; 2013 Midget A Provincial Hockey; 2013 UK Royals Provincials; 2013 Pee Wee Baseball Provincials; 2013 Senior Baseball Provincials; 2014 Pee Wee Baseball Provincials; 2014 Mosquito Baseball Provincials; 2014 Squirt Softball Provincials; 2014 UK Royals Provincials and Westerns; 2014 Pee Wee Softball Provincials and Westerns; Brooke Robertson (individual); Scott Wagner (individual) ; JP Boser (individual) ; Adam Tuffs (individual); Scott Brownlee (individual) ; Greg Brown (individual); Curtis Brown (individual); Rhett Gordon (individual); Adolph Fischer (builder); Jim Lee (builder); Bob Burns (builder).
Curtis Brown was inducted for his hockey success in the WHL, NHL and international hockey.
Rhett Gordon was inducted for his years of hockey that included eight different leagues throughout the world playing on 12 different teams.
Brooke Robertson (Sillers) began ringette at age six as a Unity Starette. At 15 she made the Saskatoon Selects and played in nationals. She continued to represent Saskatchewan in 10 nationals, winning bronze in 1996, silver in 1997 and bronze in 2000. She also played internationally in 2008 as captain of the U.S. team, finishing fourth. She is one of few athletes who have played in both the Summer and Winter Canada Games, on the Saskatchewan Ringette team in 1995 and the Saskatchewan Softball team in 1997
Scott Brownlee played minor hockey in Unity until midget division when he moved to Saskatoon to play with the AAA Midget Contacts. With the Contacts Brownlee won a national championship. Following his time in Saskatoon, Brownlee went on to play in the WHL.
Adam Tuffs also played minor hockey in Unity while joining Brownlee on the national campion Saskatoon Midget AAA Contacts. After playing in Saskatoon, Tuffs went on to play with the Lloydminster Bobcats of the AJHL and two seasons in the SJHL with the Melville Millionaires.
Greg Brown was inducted for his multiple year career playing in several Allan Cup championships, winning two of them. Brown was also part of a Canadian team that travelled to Poland to play the national team.
Scott Wagner was recognized as he played Junior B with the Lloydminster Bandits for four years, won league three league championships and played in two provincial championships. With the Lloydminster Border Kings he advanced to three Allan Cups, winning in 2007.
JP Boser won a provincial gold medal in golf in the 75+ category in North Battleford in 2002 and went on to win a bronze medal at nationals. He also won a gold medal in golf in the 8 + category in 2012 in Saskatoon and won a Silver medal at nationals.
Jim Lee was the first of three individual builder inductions. Lee began his involvement in hockey when his son started playing 34 years ago. In 1990, Lee turned his attention to the Unity Miners who won the Senior A and Senior AAA provincial championships in the early 1990s. Lee was a member of the organizing committee for Unity’s hosting of the 1996 Allan Cup. He was part of the Miners for two league championships. Lee resigned in 2013 but his fingerprints were on the 2013-14 league championship as many of those players on the roster had played under Lees’s reign.
Bob Burns has spent 54 years as a firearms instructor. He was a valued referee for over 30 years. Burns was on the executive of the Unity Cardinals from 1962 to 1983, assisting to construct the current Unity Cardinals facility. He is also a founding member of the Unity Golf Club, starting work in 1952.
Adolph Fischer has contributed more than 30 years to hockey and ball in Unity. A founding member of the Unity Miner's hockey club in 1978, he served on the executive for many years and was league president in 1992 and in 2009. Fischer played ball, a member of at least eight championship teams. He became an umpire in 1985, contributing over 30 years. He has umpired at nationals, western Canadians, Saskatchewan Summer Games and international aboriginal games, estimating he may officiate between 150 and 200 games per season.