The Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame will bring its latest cast of all-star celebrities to a Saskatoon dinner site for the first time.
The hall has maintained an exhibit site in Swift Current since 2012, but its organizers reach out to different cities, on a rotation basis, as hosts of the annual induction ceremonies. The dinner will be held July 6 at Prairieland Park.
Among the inductees in the players’ categories are three from Saskatoon, each of whom has played on Stanley Cup-winning teams. They are Ed Van Impe, a defenceman who won the cup with the Philadelphia Flyers in back-to-back years — 1973-74 and 1974-75; Brian Skrudland, a centre who won cups with Montreal Canadiens in 1985-86 and with the Dallas Stars in 1998-99; and Curtis Leschyshyn, a defenceman who won a cup with the Colorado Rockies in 1995-96.
The Brodsky family will be honoured in the builder category. The ownership group consisted of father Nate and his children, Rick, Jack, Bob and Debbie.
They were majority owners of the Saskatoon Blades from 1976 until 1980 and then took over full ownership from 1980 until 2013. Twice in the family’s time, they hosted the Memorial Cup, the first in 1989, when they lost the final in overtime, and again in 2013.
Brad Watson, who came out of the Western Hockey League, will be inducted as a referee, having worked more than 1,000 National Hockey League games and officiated in seven Stanley Cup finals.
Jim McIntyre and Joe Bloski, both of Saskatoon, will be recognized for grassroots development. Two teams, the Saskatoon Contact midgets of 2004-05 and the Saskatoon Centennial midgets of 1966-67, will share moments on the podium.
Since the Hockey Hall of Fame is still in relative infancy, there is a gradual catching-up period of honouring the greats of the past and at the July ceremonies, six who are now deceased will be remembered.
Among the players are Bert Olmstead, who came out of Sceptre and Moose Jaw to win four Stanley Cups; Fernie Flaman, a stalwart defenceman with the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs; and Keith Magnuson, a standout defenceman with the Chicago Blackhawks and later their coach.
Magnuson was killed as a passenger in a car accident in December 2003, and the NHL Players’ association created a Man of the Year award in his name.
Among those entering in the builder division are Murray Armstrong, who coached the Regina Pats into four Memorial Cup finals before building an American college hockey dynasty at Denver; Max McNab, who came out of Saskatoon to become general manager of the Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils; and Bill Thon, who was a pioneer in developing women’s teams in Saskatchewan.