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2009 Inductees
Emmerling
Greene
MacKay
Roberts
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Sabres 1956




 
INDUCTEE 2009 - ATHLETE BUILDER - Ron Emmerling


 


Hockey, Baseball, Softball-Coach Wetaskiwin Colonels  
Hockey School Organizer and Instructor 
Executive and Committee Member


Ron Emmerling moved to Wetaskiwin from a farm west of the city when he was eight years old.  Sports have always been part of his life and Ron excelled in hockey, baseball and fast-pitch softball.  He competed in these sports and also contributed to our sporting community by coaching, instructing and serving on various committees. During his youth, Ron participated in Wetaskiwin’s minor hockey program.  Because of his hockey skills he was selected to the All-Star teams at the bantam, midget and juvenile levels playing in inter-league and provincial play-offs. 


 Hockey Highlights as Athlete

In 1955, after Juveniles, Ron was invited to attend the try-out camps of the New York Rangers and the Junior ‘A’ Medicine Hat Tigers.  Choosing to stay in Wetaskiwin, Ron started playing for the Colonels.  During the time that Wetaskiwin had no arena, Ron played hockey for the Ponoka Stampeders (1955-56, 1956-57) and the Camrose Maroons (1958-59, 1959-60).  When the Colonels were re-organized after the opening of the new arena in 1962, Ron once more played with the Colonels and in 1963-64 they won the League Championship. He retired in 1970 after the team again won the League Championship and also the Provincial “C” Championships.  He resumed playing hockey with the Old-Timer Relics from 1975-1983.  The Relics participated and won in tournaments played in Holland, Lethbridge, Victoria, Camrose, Vancouver and Los Angeles. 

Baseball, Softball Highlights as Athlete

            Ron began playing softball at Dundonald country school at the age of seven.  When he moved to town he played softball at Alexandra School.  Their team was outstanding and when he was in Junior High they beat the High School team.  Ron began playing baseball in 1955 in the Alberta Jubilee League which was established to celebrate Alberta’s 50th year as a province.  His team, the “Wales Hotel Cubs” was coached by Al Arner and competed against Camrose, Bashaw, New Norway and Leduc.  For the three years that the league existed (1955,’56’57), the Cubs were League Champions.  When the league folded Ron played for two years in Ponoka (1958, 1959) and then two years for the Red Deer Dodgers (1960, 1961) in the Edmonton City League.  Although Ron played all positions throughout his baseball career, he was most adept at catching.  It was while playing in Ponoka that Ron caught a game for the “legend”, Satchel Paige.  When baseball faded in popularity and most centers switched to softball, so did Ron and his Wetaskiwin teammates.  Their softball team, the “Sportshop Cubs” won several league championships.  After softball, Ron played Slow Pitch with the Legion’s Team.

Leadership Role for Emmerling

"Coaching, unquestionably, was one of the major contributing  factors in the Colonels' championship successes."

In 1965, while Ron was playing hockey for the Colonels, he attended the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association Hockey Leadership Course held in Calgary.  The intensive, seven day program was instructed by Clare Drake, Father David Bauer and Al Rollins and Ron learned a lot.  After the clinic, Ron agreed to act as Player-Coach for the Colonels during the 1965-66 season.  Ron found the dual capacity too much and stepped down after one year.  When Ron retired from playing in 1970, he once more became the Colonels Coach and remained so for the next five seasons.  During his tenure, Ron coached the team to two League Championships (1971-72 & 1973-74), one North-Am Championship (1973-74) and two Intermediate “B” Provincial Championships (1971-72 & 1973-74).  The last Colonels team that he coached (1974-75) was considered to be the best of the era but, due to injuries to key players during the playoffs, the Colonels were runner-up finalists in both League and Provincial Finals.  The following quote appeared in the Colonels’ hockey program. 

“The Colonels have provided Wetaskiwin with an excellent brand of hockey entertainment.  Coaching, unquestionably, was one of the major contributing factors in the championship successes.  Ron Emmerling brings an aggressive, fiercely-competitive attitude to the team’s leadership.  Along with his demonstrated coaching ability, these characteristics have resulted in utmost success for the Colonels.”

…a real tribute to Ron’s coaching method and achievements

Ron did coach hockey for three more seasons: 1993-95, 1995-96 and 1997-98, when he was the assistant coach for the Junior “B” Wetaskiwin Icemen. 

Emmerling's Hockey Clinics Fantastic Success

After attending the Hockey Leadership Course that was held in Calgary in 1965, Ron felt similar clinics should be held in Wetaskiwin.  The opportunity presented itself when he became coach of the Colonels in 1970.  He organized and conducted hockey clinics in Wetaskiwin under the umbrella of the Recreation Department every year from 1971 until 1975.  In 1983 and 1984 he did the same in Alder Flats.  Instruction was provided in skills, on-ice drills, systems, rules, safety and psychology.  The results were fantastic, as many as 75 players enrolled each year in Wetaskiwin and the small hamlet of Alder Flats had 35 kids both years.  A number of coaches involved in minor hockey also attended to pick up ideas on drills and coaching.  Players from the Colonels and the Relics assisted.  These clinics helped to align minor hockey in Wetaskiwin under a similar style of play.  Almost immediately, results were seen when minor leaguers moved up to intermediate hockey making it unnecessary to rebuild the Colonels every year.  The team was merely “re-tooled” with local players and that is why the Colonels were so successful.

Emmerling Shines Beyond the Bench

As a member of the Kinsmen Club, Ron was on a Committee in 1960-61 that influenced and supported the installation of artificial ice and infra-red heating in the Civic Centre which was being built.  During the late 1970’s he worked on the Committee which realized the construction of the second arena in Wetaskiwin.  After he stepped down from coaching in 1975, Ron served on the Colonels executive for one year.  In 1977-78 he was a member of the Alberta Men’s Intermediate Hockey League Commissioner’s Committee.  This committee drafted pre-season understandings regarding disciplinary punishments of players and coaches committing major infractions.  The Committee then became the Review Committee when actual cases occurred and specific punishments were handed down. 

Ron also coached T-Ball teams and assisted Val Fonteyne with coaching a Bantam fastball team to the Provincial Championship.  As well, Ron and Roger Vold organized the bowling league for the high school.  Besides hockey and ball, Ron was also an avid golfer, curler, downhill skier, bowler and badminton player.  He curled on a team that won the Club Championship and went on the win their zone in the Kinsmen playoffs and place third in the Provincials. 

Ron Emmerling has contributed immensely to sports in Wetaskiwin as a player and coach: on numerous championship teams; as an organizer and instructor of hockey schools that benefitted many players and coaches; working behind the scenes on various committees that influenced sport in the community.  We recognize and appreciate his efforts, ability, dedication and successes and proudly induct him into the Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame as an Athlete-Builder. 
 

 





 
 

 

 

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