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2013 Inductees
Sabres 1986 Football

INDUCTEE 2013 - ATHLETE - Don Duncalfe


Introductory Comments by Colleen Grinde

Honored Guests, Ladies & Gentlemen:

Don Duncalfe is being honored tonight for his impressive football career.  Itís pretty amazing that after contacting polio as a youngster, having his legs paralized for over a year and then undergoing extensive treatment in a clinic, Don was able to even play football.  Itís all the more incredible that he was able to play football at the highest level as a lineman on the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League and to do so for five seasons.  It speaks volumes as to Donís determination, perseverance, work ethic and his innate athletic ability.

Don is described by his former high school team mates as being a good leader who led by example.  He was a guy who: never missed a practice, worked hard to improve his skills, had confidence in his own ability, was friends with everyone.....all attributes of an outstanding leader and team player.    Even with all of his achievements, Don was a humble fellow.  When he himself was asked about his professional football career, he didnít expound on his own accomplishments but instead praised the abilities of his high school team-mates.

These qualities that were innate in Don or developed while playing football carried over into his business career.  During his tenure with the Edmonton Eskimos, during the off season Don worked for the Government of Alberta as a draftsman in civil engineering and apprentice structural engineering designer.  Once he completed his football career, Don returned to school to carry out further studies in civil and structural engineering.  He worked for various companies starting out as  a designer then working his way through positions as project manager, vice president, manager of an engineering office to eventually owning his own company.  Donís work took him to the US, Africa, the Middle East, China, India, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.  Donís  own ceramic engineering company was based in the UK and when he retired in 1990 he located in Christchurch, England. 

During the 1950ís many Albertans followed and cheered for the legendary Edmonton Eskimo teams whose rosters included the likes of Jackie Parker, Normie Kwong, Johnny Bright, Rollie Miles, Tommy Joe Coffee,  and Roger Nelson.  These guys were our heroes.  Likely there were many young boys from Wetaskiwin who dreamed of one day playing for the Eskimos.  But how many ended up ďliving that football dreamĒ?  Well, Don Duncalfe is the one kid from Wetaskiwin that did just that.

Don retired from football because of injuries.  In later life those injuries came back to haunt him and caused him to retire from his professional career.   In 2009, Don was able and honored to attend the induction ceremony of his 1956 High School Sabre Football team.  However, today, extreme pain from arthritis prevents Don from traveling long distances and he is regrettably unable to attend our ceremony tonight.

It is indeed fitting that he has chosen one of his high school Sabre team-mates, Bill Gust, to accept this award on his behalf

Read Don's acceptance speech.

Return to Don Duncalfe Inductee Page





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