Thank you and good evening honoured guests, ladies and
gentlemen, fellow Sabres and inductees and their family and
First I would
like to thank Ron Emmerling and Bill Mojelski for nominating
me and the Wetaskwin and County Sports Hall of Fame for this
special honor. They have been great friends, colleagues and
mentors. This is one of the highlights of my life. Also I
am especially delighted that both Hazel Emmerling and her
daughter, Tracy are here this evening.
this award has made me reflect on my life:
1. What did I
competed in many sports and activities for 70 years. Also
coached and administrated athletics and sports for 50+
years. To quote my wife Colleen “You never worked a day in
your life! It was all fun and games!”
2. What could
I have done with my life?
I had dreams
of being a farmer but I had too many allergies, a
businessman/accountant, an NHL hockey player or CFL football
player. However, I found my dream by staying in school and
becoming a Physical Education teacher, coach and
administrator of sports and athletics. This was all so much
different than I had envisioned. As they say “I was a jack
of all trades and a master of none” –I was interested and
good at many different sports but not an expert in anything
but loved my career.
3. How did I
myself—No one gets anywhere by themselves. I needed a lot of
help! With the support, encouragement and influence of my
parents, my family, my peer group, my friends, colleagues
and my mentors, I am now receiving this award.
parents, Norma and John, who stressed staying in school,
developing a strong work ethic, and participating in
community and sports activities focused me in my early years
in Wetaskiwin. Speaking of focus; when a conflict between
my paper route and hockey occurred, mother would send me to
hockey and mom, my sister and brothers would deliver the
papers. A valuable lesson in life for everyone! To this
day I don’t understand what they were grumbling about!
My peer group,
friends and colleagues; Ron Emmerling, Bill Milnthorp, Bill
Mojelski, Bill Elliot, Frank Lockhart, Jerry Green, Val
Fonteyne, Harold Maciborski, Larry Wilson, Kevin Gibson,
Bill Pocock, Larry Lee, Don Loov and many others too
numerous to mention helped me a lot.
I also had
great mentors from the community in Norm Brown, Al Arner,
Ralph Pocock, Art Smith, Cec Colwell and Len Roberts.
Many of these
people are already in the Sports Hall of Fame and I am proud
to be there with them.
4. Why did I
Wetaskiwin was a perfect community to grow up in, coach and
teach in, raise a family and play competitive sports with my
friends. It became the place I spent most of my life.
Wetaskiwin in 1967, other than a new arena in 1961 and a
high school gym in 1966, I noticed not much had changed.
The population was increasing so more new facilities and
programs were needed.
The next 15
years the Wetaskiwin community through groups such as the
Recreation Board, Service clubs, City Council and sports
organizations worked together to develop many new facilities
and programs. These facilities and programs became an
important part of the Wetaskiwin community. It was a
pleasure to work with these groups and members of Minor
Hockey and Minor Ball as well as many other citizens. By all
of us working together, Wetaskiwin became the community I
remembered and was always proud to call home.
5. What have I
I learned the
value of competition and participation; I also learned how
the teaching and coaching of young people was always so
enjoyable and worthwhile. Speaking of enjoyable, my 10 years
in the Boy Scouts taught me the value of outdoor education
programs. This led to my colleagues and me developing an
outdoor education program that included camping, canoeing,
downhill and X-country skiing, hiking, rock climbing,
outdoor cooking, and CPR. What fun that was!
students were my greatest source of satisfaction and
especially the Sabres Football, Track and Field and
6. What are my
To this day I
believe that young people should be exposed to our
traditional team sports, individual sports and lifelong
sports activities. Some examples are curling, golf,
badminton, hockey, football, basketball and tennis.
Participation in these activities combined with aerobics,
strength and muscular endurance programs will promote a
healthy, active and satisfying life. If my dad, John the
businessman, was giving this speech, he would say it this
way: “A small daily investment in fitness will result in
huge dividends and large capital gains in life span.”
I believe that
it is important to share your talents, your time and your
enthusiasm to help yourself and others accomplish
individual, team and community goals. All of us can succeed
with the right attitude and work ethic. I recognize that in
myself and the family with whose support I have been
especially blessed…two wonderful wives, a daughter, two
stepsons, six grandchildren, two brothers and a sister. Such
an attitude and work ethic is also present in the Wetaskiwin
community. In closing, if someone was to ask me what I liked
best about Wetaskiwin and why I received this award, I would
say there were 3 things; Number one, the people, Number 2,
the people and Number 3 the people.
Thanks to all
for your friendships, support, guidance and help throughout
the years and for this wonderful honor that I am receiving
Read the opening comments made by
Kristi Paukstate when introducing Ross
Ross MacEachern Inductee Page