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2013 Inductees
Sabres 1986 Football


INDUCTEE 2013 - BUILDER - Phillip William (Bill) Milnthorp


Lifelong Builder in Recreation & Sport
President and Chairman of many Sports-Related
Organizations and Committees
Coach, Organizer, Promoter & Fundraiser
From 1961-2013

Bill Milnthorp has been dedicated to recreation and sport in the Wetaskiwin area for most of the 52 years that he has lived in Wetaskiwin.  He has served on many recreation committees,  organized many fund raising ventures, initiated some sporting activities, was Chairman or President of numerous sports-related organizations, coached teams in various sports and at many levels and through his varied and extensive involvement has made significant contributions to the citizens of our community.  His life-long volunteer commitment is more than worthy of recognition.

Bill’s involvement began in 1961 when he first began teaching at Queen Elizabeth School.  Along with another teacher they supervised and ran a Junior High football program on Saturday mornings.  Due to the lack of funds, insurance and equipment the program was disbanded.   In 1962 Wetaskiwin opened a new arena and thus the Wetaskiwin Minor Hockey Association was reborn.  Bill was co-chairman for five years and he personally recruited twenty-three sponsors and acquired sweaters for teams from Tiny Mite to Juvenile level and continued to do so in the following years.  During eight years of the same time span Bill gave unselfishly of his time as a hockey coach.  In addition to minor hockey Bill, with the help of a number of mothers, introduced curling to students at Queen Elizabeth Junior High School.  This program ran for a number of years and was still in existence as late as 1975.

52 Years Dedicated to Recreation and Sport

During the summer, Bill found himself involved with fastball and served on the executive of the Wetaskiwin Minor Fastball Association for five years.  He coached both boy’s and girl’s fastball and umpired for two years.  Bill and his wife personally started Girl’s T-ball and found the sponsors to provide the uniforms.

Beginning in 1967 Bill served on the Wetaskiwin Recreation Board for five years and was chairman for three of those years.  During this time he hired the first professionally trained Recreation Director for the city.  This was not without a challenge for the City Council at that time.  With this appointment the coordination and use of the facilities was enhanced greatly.  Also, during this same period, Bill chaired what was known as the W.A.R.R. Board, a joint use agreement between the City of Wetaskiwin, the County of Wetaskiwin, the Public, Separate and County school systems.  The responsibility of the Board was to better utilize the facilities between all parties for the betterment of recreation and libraries.

From 1970 to 1972 Bill was on the Figure Skating Club executive as a Director and served a further two years as President of the Club.  During his term as President and under his leadership the Club became financially stable.

Fiscal Responsibility and Fundraising his Forte

From 1961 and for the following twenty five years Bill was a member of the Kinsmen Club (President from 1967-68) during which time he chaired a number of recreation-oriented projects.  He organized Pedal Pushers for three years.  In addition, for a number of years Bill arranged Skate-a-thons with funds going towards recreation facilities.  These funds along with other Kinsmen organized fund raisers allowed for the installation of heat in the existing arena and the modernization of the Drill Hall.

In 1974 Bill was elected to City Council and served as a City Alderman for nine years.  The majority of Bill’s efforts were directed to improve recreation and recreation facilities.  Bill oversaw the building of the Wetaskiwin Curling Club and Arts and Craft Centre.  As chairman of the City’s Finance Committee Bill saw the feasibility of allotting funds to build tennis courts, ball diamonds, a second arena and an indoor swimming pool.  He, along with his friend Reno, persuaded the Aboussafy family to put $100,000 towards the new swimming pool.

CTV Wide World of Sports Promotes Wetaskiwin

In the 70’s Bill served on the North Am Power Toboggan committee as Program Chairman.  This event became the highlight for Wetaskiwin and district winter fun and because the snow mobile races were televised on the CTV Wide World of Sports this event was important in promoting our community to the rest of the world.  Also, from 1976-78 Bill was a Director for the Wetaskiwin Car Capitals.

In 1985-1987 Bill chaired the Communities and Recreation and Cultural Grant committee, a sub-committee of the Wetaskiwin Recreation Board.  This committee reviewed financial requests and made recommendations to the W.A.R.R Board as to where the funds should be directed.  One such area receiving this funding was the Gwynne Ski Hill.

During the late 80’s and early 90’s Bill served as a Director for the Wetaskiwin Golf Club and was President from 1991-1993.  While President a Junior Program was reinstated, the Club House was enlarged and the cart storage shed was built.  Two water holes were added on the “back”nine and when Bill left as President, the Golf Club was financially sound and actually making money.

In 2004-2005 Bill served on the committee for the Alberta Senior Summer Games.  He was responsible for visiting all service clubs and other organizations requesting their financial assistance with the Games.

Co-founder Sports Hall of Fame

In 2004, Bill was one of the co-founders of the Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame serving as chairman of the initial committee and then as President of the Board from 2005-2011.  During his tenure as President and along with input from the other Directors, the Sports Hall of Fame Induction ceremony has become one of the main events in the City of Wetaskiwin. 

While Bill spent a good part of his spare time with sports he was also very involved with various organizations in his professional life as an educator.    Bill became the first rural member to be appointed to the University of Alberta Board of Governors and served on this Board from 1986-1992.   From 1995-2001 Bill was a Trustee and Vice-President for the Wetaskiwin Regional School Division 11 and then was President for the next two years.

For his many community endeavors Bill has received various awards including:  Kinsmen of the Year (1964-65), Wetaskiwin Toastmasters Community, Communication and Leadership Award for a non-Toastmaster member (1986), Four Avenues of Service Citations for individual Rotarians for outstanding efforts in the four avenues of service, (1996-1997), the Paul Harris Fellow Award in recognition of tangible and significant assistance for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world (2001), the Alberta Centennial Medal in recognition of outstanding service to the people and province of Alberta (2005) and the Wetaskiwin and District Business Award as “Ambassador of the Community” (2009).

Bill has given freely countless hours of his time toward the development of recreational programs and facilities in Wetaskiwin.  His foresight into recreational needs is evidenced by the present high quality and functional facilities that are in existence today.  Bill’s unending energy and dedication and his outstanding contributions to recreation and sport in our community is much appreciated and his induction into the Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame is well-deserved.

Information about an inductee is collected from published sources, sports archives, scrapbooks, anecdotal information from family, friends and fans, and the athlete. 

However, sometimes the best stories and personal insights are gleaned at the induction dinner from the introductory comments or acceptance speech of the inductee or their representative. 

Where possible we have included this type of information for your enjoyment.

Read the opening comments made by Don MacMillan when introducing Bill Milnthorpe.

Read Bill's acceptance speech.





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