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INDUCTEE 2006 - BUILDER - Allister "Al" Arner


 


Builder, coach, sponsor...best fast-pitch softball teams in Alberta


If you lived in Wetaskiwin between 1946 ‑ 1985, you most likely knew Al Arner, his store, the Sport Shop, and his dime‑zapper connected to the Model‑T magneto. Al was raised just east of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. In 1939, he enlisted with the Saskatoon Light Infantry.  His main regiment was Princess Louise Dragoon Guards - his assignment was Communications Signal Corps -  and he attained the rank of Lieutenant.  Italy was the site of his most major and newsworthy wartime campaign.

Tall, strong and athletic, he excelled in boxing, volleyball, and baseball. Discharged in 1946 in Nova Scotia, he traveled by train to Calgary and headed northward on Highway 2 on a motorcycle. He stopped at each centre along the way and looked for a shop to rent or buy to set up a radio shop. Eventually, he found such a building in Wetaskiwin, but with radio shops in every centre, he reconsidered and opened the Sport Shop instead.  He retired in 1985.

Sponsorship

Al was a great supporter of sports in Wetaskiwin and sponsored many local teams.

1949 ‑ Bicycle Club
1949 ‑ Coach, Ladies Red Sox Softball Team
1949 ‑ 1953 Representative, Hockey and Ball ‑ Wetaskiwin Amateur Athletic Association
1949 ‑ 1958 Coach, Wetaskiwin Cubs Baseball Team
1960 ‑ The Gwynne Ski Hill and Club
1970's ‑ Intra‑Mural Volleyball and Volunteer at Hockey games
1961 ‑ 1980 Organizer, coach, sponsor ‑ Wetaskiwin Fast‑Pitch Softball
1980 ‑ Chickadee Hiking Trail

Team Championships (As a coach and sponsor ‑ 13 Championships & 2 Runner‑up achievements)

Jubilee League Championships ‑ Wetaskiwin Cubs Baseball 1955, 1956, 1957

Fast‑Pitch Softball Provincial Championships - 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975 ‑ (with new players)

1974 ‑ Sport Shop Juniors entered the Intermediate A Men's Playdowns at Grimshaw and won silver

1975 - Silver - Canada National Finals ‑ Saskatoon ‑ lost to Newfoundland, 2‑run homerun in 7th inning

Fast‑Pitch Softball Provincial Championships - 1976, 1977, 1979

1977 - Western Canada Fastball Championships

1979 - Western Canada Fastball Championships

 

RECOGNITION AWARDS

Al Arner received eleven awards in his lifetime ‑ three sports awards listed here

1983 ‑ AASA Sports Hall of fame

1993 ‑ City of Wetaskiwin ‑ Al Arner Ball Park

2005 ‑ Province of Alberta ‑ Centennial Special Award

 

Lieutenant Arner Coaching Approach

When it came to practices, techniques and strategies, Al Arner was a legend. He set high expectations for himself, and he expected no less from the players he coached. Al Arner was in the Armed Forces for six years and he coached teams in Wetaskiwin over three decades. He touched the lives of many, both in the military and in this community. Testimonials attest to this.

 

 







 
 

 

 

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