Some of Saskatchewan’s greatest to ever lace up a pair of skates will be celebrated right here in Meadow Lake.
Hockey Saskatchewan’s 2023 Ted Knight Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame (SHHOF) induction ceremony takes place tomorrow evening (Aug. 25) in Meadow Lake. The event gets underway at 5 p.m. at the Meadow Lake Golf Club and will serve to highlight the careers and accomplishments of the five inductees and one team deemed worthy of such a prestigious achievement.
“This marks the first time in nearly three years we have the privilege of announcing a new group of exceptional individuals for induction into the Ted Knight Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame,” noted Hockey Saskatchewan general manager Kelly McClintock when the 2023 inductees were revealed earlier this year. “We are very excited to be bringing the Induction Class of 2023 and this event to northern Saskatchewan for the first time since the SHHOF’s inception in 2012.”
The Class of 2023 inductees include Meadow Lake’s Jeff Friesen, Goodsoil’s Ron Greschner and Wade Redden in the player category, the King family (Dayna King, DJ King, Dwight King and Danene Kopperud) in the builder/grassroots category), Mark Wheler in the official category and the 2005-06/2007-08 Meadow Lake Stampeders in the team category.
According to Regan Beck, the City of Meadow Lake’s recreation manager, the original plan was to host tomorrow’s induction ceremony at Lions Park. This, however, was later changed to the local golf course.
“We changed the venue to the driving range at the Meadow Lake Golf Club,” Beck reiterated. “The main reason is it gives a little more space and more open, flat ground to set up the large tent. Also, it’s less distractive because the park can be quite the busy place and this event would have occupied quite a large space out there. For simplicity sake this seemed like the best option, and Brent Assman at the golf course was kind enough to offer the lcation to us, so it worked out really well.”
Beck went on to say it’s a very big compliment to the City of Meadow Lake to have Hockey Saskatchewan reach out to the community to host this event. Meanwhile, proceeds from the event are split evenly amongst the host community and Hockey Saskatchewan. Meadow Lake’s share of the money will go toward the new arena project currently underway on the city’s east side.
“They obviously saw the need in our community with the loss of our (previous) rink, thought this would be a great way to promote hockey and to help raise a little but of money to put toward our new facility,” Beck said.
This was echoed by Dwight King.
“That would be my only arena, here in Meadow Lake, I played minor hockey in,” the two-time Stanley Cup champion noted in a recent Hockey Saskatchewan news release. “That’s where all my memories were made in all my childhood games and practices. In general, there’s just a lot of history, a lot of good memories for myself personally growing up there. … It’s been tough, to be honest, especially for the kids. One rink for our size of a city and surrounding area is stretched pretty thin.”
Tomorrow night’s banquet will also feature TSN sportscaster Darren “Dutchy” Dutchyschen who will serve as emcee for the night’s festivities.
“I expect we will sell out at 500,” Beck said. “We’re getting close to that number right now and I am sure there are people out there who are waiting until the last minute… There aren’t too many seats left.”
Tickets range from $50 for an individual seat to $350 for a table of eight. The City of Meadow Lake, meanwhile, provided complimentary tickets to members of city council including a plus one for each.
“The easiest way to get tickets is to contact the Aquatic Centre,” Beck said. “The staff there can assist with the purchase of tickets. There are also posters around town that feature a QR code. By scanning this code with their smart phones, individuals are taken to a website where tickets can be purchased.”
Beck, meanwhile, is also among this year’s inductees having played with the Meadow Lake Stampeders in the mid-2000s.
“When I first moved to town in 2005, I played for the Stamps for about 10 years,” he said. “I was really fortunate to move to town at a time when they had a really strong team. We had quite a run there… both very special teams and an amazing time for me personally. I’m sure this (induction) means even more to the other guys who were already here. I was fortunate to be rolled into a juggernaut when I got here. Before my time, those guys put in some real work to make sure the Stampeders kept going. It’s really nice to see those teams celebrated.”
The Ted Knight Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame opened its doors in 2012 which coincided with Hockey Saskatchewan’s 100th-year celebration. The SHHOF is located in Swift Current at the InnovationPlex. For more information, visit www.saskhockeyhalloffame.com.
“I am really looking forward to the evening,” Beck concluded.
by Phil Ambroziak