Winnipeg – The Manitoba Hockey Hall Of Fame has welcomed seven players, four builders, two teams, an official, a media member, and two selections from the veterans category to make up it’s Class Of 2017.
The official induction Dinner and Ceremony is set for Saturday, October 7th at Canad Inns Polo Park.
Thumbnail bios of each inductee were supplied by the Manitoba Hockey Hall Of Fame.
PLAYERS: Murray Bannerman, James ‘Jim’ Benzelock, Laurie Boschman, Jennifer Botterill, Pat Falloon, Lew Morrison, Ross Parke
Born in Fort Frances, and raised in St. James in Winnipeg, goaltender Murray Bannerman started in junior hockey at the very young age of 14, when he joined the St. James Canadians in the MJHL. He played with the Winnipeg Clubs in the WCHL, and his two final junior years with the Victoria Cougars.
Bannerman was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the 4th round of the NHL Amateur Draft and in the tenth round by the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA in 1977. He signed with the Canucks, was sent to the Fort Wayne Comets of the IHL and saw his first NHL duty later that year with twenty minutes of relief. Bannerman was traded to Chicago and spent two years with the AHL affiliate before seven seasons with the Hawks. Although he was Tony Esposito’s backup for the early portion of his career, Bannerman had a chance in the first round of the 1982 playoffs. He won his first two games on the road and anchored the team to a series victory over the Minnesota North Stars. Bannerman is 5th on the Blackhawks’ all-time goalie list with 116 wins and 288 games played. He finished with a 3.83 goals against average.
James (“Jim”) Benzelock
Born in Winnipeg, Jim Benzelock excelled at both football and hockey in the Weston area. He was a top scorer with the MJHL St. James Braves in the 1966-67 season. He joined Winnipeg Junior Jets for their inaugural season in 1968 and finished 9thin scoring in the Western Canada Junior Hockey League. The St. Boniface Mohawks added Benzelock for their 1968 Allan Cup run.
In the 1968 NHL Amateur Draft, the Minnesota North Stars selected Benzelock in the first round and fifth ovverall. After four years in the North Stars organization, a break-out 75 point season with Dayton Gems caught the attention of the newly-formed World Hockey Association. Benzelock was one of the Alberta Oilers first signings in 1972. He spent the next five years in the WHA, including as a key player in the Chicago Cougars’ run to the 1974 Avco Cup final against Gordie Howe and the Houston Aeros. Former teammates in the WHA consider Benzelock to have exemplified the idea of teamwork, where the qualities of a successful team are greater than the skills of its players.
After four years with the Cougars, Benzelock signed with the Quebec Nordiques where he would finish off his pro career in 1976. Benzelock returned to Winnipeg, playing Senior with EK Millionaires, the seventh league in which he would play.
Born in Major, Saskatchewan, Laurie Boschman grew up in Brandon, Manitoba where he played in Brandon’s minor hockey system. He joined the Brandon Travellers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, developing under the guidance of Andy Murray, getting 57 points in 47 games in the 1976-77 season. Boschman moved up to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League, where the team was explosive: Boschman got 149 points in 65 games in his final year there, and 215 penalty minutes.
The Toronto Maple Leafs selected Boschman in the first round of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. In 1982, he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers where ice time was hard to come by in their talented lineup. He was traded to the Winnipeg Jets in 1983, establishing himself as a tough two-way player and enjoying his most productive seasons as a centre. In 1990, Boschman was traded to the New Jersey Devils before finishing his NHL career as Captain of the Ottawa Senators in 1992-1993. After a year of retirement, he played one final year with England’s Fife Flyers. Boschman is one of only sixteen players in NHL history to have recorded over 500 points and over 2,000 PIM in their career. He is still involved in hockey, as the chaplain for the Ottawa Senators.
Born in Ottawa and raised in Winnipeg, Jennifer Botterill grew up in a multi-sport family playing hockey, volleyball and basketball. She started on skates as a member of Team Manitoba’s ringette team in the 1995 Canada Winter Games before turning to hockey.
Botterill was the youngest member of the first-ever Women’s Olympic hockey team for the 1998 Nagano, Japan Olympics, where Canada won the silver medal. After 1997-98 season, she attended Harvard University and played on the NCAA team, winning the championship in 1999. She twice won the Patty Kazmaier Award for the top female NCAA hockey player of the year. Botterill graduated from Harvard in 2003 and holds the record for the most points in NCAA hockey for any player, male or female. Her record is not recognized because women’s hockey became a NCAA-sanctioned two years after Botterill started in the league.
After Harvard, Botterill played in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. After three seasons in the four-year-old league, she retired as the league’s second-best scorer with 160 points. She made eight appearances at World Championships where her team won 5 gold medals and 3 silver medals. She was named MVP in the 2001 and 2004 championships. Canada’s Women’s Olympic hockey team followed up their 1988 silver medal at Nagano with gold medal victories in the 2002 games in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, and at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Botterill was on the team for all three gold medals. Jennifer Botterill’s final international point was her assist on Marie-Philip Poulin’s game winning goal. She retired from hockey after the 2010-11 season.
Born and raised in Foxwarren, Manitoba, Pat Falloon spent his winters skating at the Foxwarren Arena. The time spent on the ice paid off as his hockey skills developed and he stepped into the spotlight with Team Manitoba’s Pee Wee team when they won the Vancouver Super Series Tournament where Falloon was named Tournament MVP.
Playing AAA Midget hockey for the Yellowhead Chiefs, he set goal-scoring record in the 1988-89 season with 47. He joined the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League where he had back-to-back 60-goal seasons. In 1991, Falloon was a member of the gold medal-winning Canadian World Junior team. After the World Junior tournament, Falloon returned to the Spokane Chiefs where they won the 1991 Memorial Cup championship and Falloon was again the tournament MVP.
Falloon was drafted 2nd overall by the San Jose Sharks in the 1991 entry draft. He spent nine years in the NHL before heading overseas and winning a Spengler Cup with HC Davos.
When he retired from pro hockey, Falloon returned home to win an Allan Cup title with the Iles des Chenes North Stars in 2003.
Lew Morrison was born in Saskatchewan but grew up in Hartney, Manitoba. He played minor league hockey, winning back-to-back Bantam hockey championships in 1960 and 1961 and a provincial Juvenile title in 1966. His talents were noticed by the Flin Flon Bombers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. In the 1966-67 season, he joined the team, which featured Bobby Clarke and Reggie Leach. The Bombers won the MJHL title and reached the semi-final of the Memorial Cup.
Morrison was selected in the first round in the 1968 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. After a year with the Flyers’ affiliate club, the Quebec Aces of the American Hockey League, Morrison played with the Flyers in the 1969-70 season. There, Morrison and Flin Flon teammate Bobby Clarke were a formidable penalty-killing unit. The Atlanta Flames claimed Lew Morrison in the 1972 expansion draft. He spent two seasons with the Flames before the Washington Capitals claimed him in the 1974 expansion draft. Shortly after, he would be traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Morrison spent three seasons with the Pens. He ended his career 1978 with the Birmingham Dusters of the American Hockey League.
Born in Winnipeg, Ross Parke grew up playing his minor hockey in River Heights. He was a standout player in playground hockey reaching the city final and later played with the Winnipeg Monarch organization in the juvenile league. Parke found prominence on the national scene from 1950 to 1952 with the Winnipeg Monarchs junior team. In 1951, the Monarchs won Western Canadian championship Abbot Cup beating the Regina Pats in the final game of the series. Parke was a dominant performer in the series scoring a hat trick in the final game. The Monarchs lost the Memorial Cup final to the Barrie Flyers. Parke’s play caught the eye of the Detroit Red Wings; he was offered a pro contract, but chose to return to the Monarchs for the 1951-52 season, where he earned MJHL all-star status.
In 1952, Parke attended the Detroit Red Wings training camp, but put a pro career on hold. He played a year in the International Hockey League with the Milwaukee Chiefs and another with Melville of the Saskatchewan Senior League. Parke then attended Michigan State and played for their NCAA team; for three of the next four years he was the scoring leader. Parke came home to join the Winnipeg Maroons in the race for the Allan Cup in the 1960-61 season. They won the Western Canada championship, but lost the Allan Cup to the Galt Terriers. The Maroons won the Allan Cup in 1964 sweeping the Woodstock Athletics in four games. Parke spent his final season as a member of the Canadian National team in 1964-65, playing in the World Championships in Tampere, Finland.
BUILDERS: Barry Bonni, Gary Cribbs, Michael Gobuty, Barry Trotz
Born in Winnipeg, Barry Bonni’s began coaching hockey in 1974 and his achievements behind the bench in the River East Minor Hockey Association quickly accumulated. In 1976, he led Bronx Park’s Bantam team to the City Finals.
For the 1978-79 season, he coached the River East Marauders, and quickly saw success. Players credit his commitment to the game for consecutive championships at several levels, including the River East Marauders Tier 2 Juvenile team and the River East Royal Knights, a team he founded in 1981. Bonni led the Knights to its first championship in the Manitoba Major Junior League in 1981-81 and was named Coach of the Year; between 1986 and 1990 he led his teams to four consecutive championships in the MMJHL as both Coach and General Manager, winning Coach of the Year honours twice. He won his sixth championship MMJHL title with the River East Knights in 2000-01, again winning Coach of the Year. Bonni also coached the Winnipeg Selects AAA, the St. James Canadians and helped found the Winnipeg Senior ‘A’ Hockey League. Bonni has won more than 600 of his 1000 games coached in the MMJHL.
Born in Winnipeg, Gary Cribbs has dedicated his adult life to the development and support of Manitoba’s amateur hockey community. After playing amateur hockey in Winnipeg and for the Flin Flon Bombers of the Western Canada Hockey League, Cribbs became an advocate, a coach, and then a member of the Board of the St. James Canadians Junior A Hockey Club, becoming their President for two long terms.
Cribbs became the Commissionaire of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in 1988, ending his tenure in 1992.
Gary Cribbs was instrumental in founding the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987 and served as President from 2002 to 2013. He was key in implementing many programs that are part of the MHHF’s yearly mandate: scholarships to university and high school players, both men and women; awards to volunteer officials in Manitoba; the Ed Sweeney Award for writers of hockey history in Manitoba; the Hall of Fame bi-annual induction dinner. Cribbs proposed the MHHF’s new Community Award, to be given to a community looking to improve local hockey. The inaugural award went to the town of Clearwater, Manitoba. Gary Cribbs remains an active and vital member of the Board of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Michael Gobuty played minor hockey in goal for Bronx Park while growing up in East Kildonan. He played a pivotal role in saving the popular but broke Winnipeg Jets franchise during the 1977-78 World Hockey Association season. The Jets’ situation became urgent and the team’s volunteer board of directors called a meeting with a group of private citizens to ask for funds to meet a payroll. Gobuty was the only one to step forward, writing a cheque the next morning for $250.000 to keep the Jets alive.
When he learned that amount wouldn’t suffice, Gobuty put together a new group of investors and kept the club in Winnipeg. When the team’s stars Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson were signed by the New York Rangers, Gobuty quickly engineered the purchase of the remaining players from the defunct Houston Aeros franchise in the summer of 1978. Gobuty’s stewardship of the Jets became foresight when he hired John Ferguson in November as Jets GM. The Jets won their third AVCO Cup championship later that year. Gobuty then ensured that Winnipeg was part of the WHA/NHL merger. He travelled thousands of miles to convince NHL owners that Winnipeg was a viable pro hockey town. If Michael Gobuty had not stepped forward at that crucial board meeting in the 1977-78 season, the WHA Winnipeg Jets may not have survived and Winnipeg would not have had that first taste of NHL that followed.
Michael Gobuty is a member of the World Hockey Association Hall of Fame.
Born and raised in Dauphin, Manitoba, Barry Trotz played for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League from 1978 to 1982, winning the championship in 1980. He played his final junior year with the Dauphin Kings who won the MJHL title and the Anavet Cup. At a Washington Capitals training camp, his coaching potential was recognized and a lifelong relationship with the Capitals began. Trotz began as an assistant in 1984 with the University of Manitoba Bisons, moving on to coach and GM of the Dauphin Kings and moving back again to the U of M, where he also scouted for the Capitals. He moved up to the American Hockey League, where he coached the Capitals affiliate. The Portland, Maine team won the Calder Cup in 1994.
The Nashville Predators named Trotz their head coach in 1997. Trotz would remain in Nashville for 15 seasons and 1,196 games, a league coaching record. During his tenure, the Predators would reach the playoffs in four consecutive seasons from 2003 to 2008 and again in the 2009-10 season. Off season, he coached Team Canada several times, including 2003, when he led the team to a gold medal at the IIHF championships.
In May 2014, Trotz’s relationship with the Capitals resumed when he was named head coach. Under his leadership, the Capitals have been fierce, finishing 2nd in the Metropolitan division in 2014-2015 and 1st in the division in 2015-16 and overall, winning the President’s Trophy. The team repeated this achievement in the 2016-17 season. Barry Trotz has been behind the bench for many winning teams in different leagues, making him among the most successful professional hockey league coaches.
OFFICIAL: Robert Martell
Rob Martell was born in Winnipeg, and had an amateur playing career in the Stonewall area, winning two provincial championships. He played one season in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League with the Selkirk Steelers and the 1982-83 season with the Stonewall Jets in the South Interlake Hockey League, winning the league and provincial titles in 1983. At this time he was becoming a minor league official under the guidance of Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame member Perry Allan, working games in Stonewall, the Interlake, and then AA and AAA games in Winnipeg. He moved up, officiating in Junior B, MMJHL, MJHL, CASH and other senior leagues. At the same time, he was a linesman for the WHL when the Winnipeg Warriors played in the city.
In 1984, he got a break when an NHL linesman was unable to work and called on Martell to work the game. Three years later, he was called to the NHL summer camp and hired in their trainee program officiating junior hockey across Canada and the U.S. in the WHL, OHL, QMJHL, and the CCHA Division 1. The following year he worked 50 games in the IHL and AHL.
In 1992 he was hired full time as a Referee in the NHL, but continued in the minor leagues. On Easter Sunday in 1996 he refereed his first NHL game, and in 2000 he had his first full season in the NHL. During his NHL career he officiated 1, 004 games, his last on January 2, 2016 in Tampa Bay.
MEDIA: Vic Grant
Vic Grant’s long career covering sports in Winnipeg began at the Winnipeg Tribune in 1964 when he was hired as a sports writer and copyboy. After a year in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Grant returned to the Tribune in 1967.
From 1967 to 1974, Vic Grant was a full time sports writer for the Winnipeg Tribune, covering all levels of hockey in Manitoba. In 1972, Grant got the sporting world scoop of the year when he reported that Bobby Hull would be coming to Winnipeg as the playing coach of the Winnipeg Jets. He covered the Jets for the Trib and joined the radio broadcast from 1972 to 1975, sharing the microphone with Stewart McPherson and Ken “Friar” Nicholson. Vic became an editor at the Trib until it closed in 1980. He worked in Calgary and Vancouver, returning to Winnipeg in 1982 to cover sports for the Winnipeg Sun and for CKY television.
In 1990 Grant joined CJOB Sports, creating Primetime Sports, a daily show featuring all sports including minor hockey; the show was also broadcast postgame for Winnipeg Jets and Winnipeg Blue Bomber games. Vic Grant moved on to become news director at CJOB in 1998 and program director in 2000, retiring in 2009. Grant was recognized in 2000 by the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Media Roll of Honour.
1951-52 Dauphin Kings
The Big Six League operated from 1949 to 1955, and the Dauphin Kings dominated. Considered by some to be one of Manitoba’s best leagues, the Big Six included teams from Brandon (the Elks and the College Caps), Neepawa, Souris and Killarney.
The 1951-52 team had particular success. Their overall season record consisted of 49 games, they had 35 wins, 13 losses and 1 tie. In the Big Six, they won 14 games and lost 6. In the Manitoba playoffs, the Kings won 9 of 15. The team went on to the CAHA Western Canada playoffs where they beat Lloydminster, Keewatin and Canmore to win the A Championship and the Edmonton Journal Trophy. They were the first Manitoba team to do so.
The Kings were known to have loyal fans with a particular flair, bringing the mule mascot and playing mule train. Cavalcades of 300 cars would travel from Dauphin to Brandon to cheer their team in the Western Canada finals.
Coached by player-coach Roy Bentley, the team consisted of Jack Haddrell, Tom Hutchinson, Pete Pisnook, Lou Bourbonnais, Don McLeod, George Tamblyn, Bob Rzesnoski, Hugh Kerr, Ron Cox, Jim Mosienko, Trigger Love, Paul Allard, Chick Adams, Johnny Love, Bill Murray, Alex Robertson, Jim Mann, Lloyd Harness and Pop Summers (trainer).
Assiniboia Residential School 1960-64
The Assiniboia Residential School in Winnipeg’s River Heights had a small population of students aged 15-20 who came primarily from Manitoba and Northern Ontario. Sports were an important part of the curriculum at residential schools across Canada. Athletic activities were popular; many students were experiencing the city for the first time and sports provided a positive experience during the difficult time away from family and friends.
Starting in 1959, the school’s athletics program entered hockey teams in the Greater Winnipeg Minor Hockey Association leagues. Despite the bulk of the players having no formal hockey training, it wasn’t long before the school was icing competitive squads. School turnover often forced the team to advance younger player to complete their rosters.
During the sixties, the Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association would establish championship playdowns across all categories and invite entries from interested teams. Assiniboia Residential School entered their first MAHA Junior B playdowns in 1960 and won the title with a team of junior and juvenile players. In 1961, the team won the Junior B city final, defeated Morden in the provincial semi-finals and beat Stonewall in a 2-game final to win the provincial title. In 1962 they beat Morden, Lundar and Stonewall on their way to a third title. In 1963, the program took the Provincial Junior ‘C’ title before returning to the Junior ‘B’ playdowns in 1964 and reclaiming the title with a 15-5 total point series win against Lundar.
VETERANS SELECTION COMMITTEE INDUCTEES
A well-known Winnipeg athlete, Barney Holden was one of the early Manitoba hockey players to recognize that he could parlay his hockey skills into a paycheque. Heading east to play in the infamously rough International Hockey League, hockey’s first professional league, he helped Portage Lake win three consecutive championships. Holden also became the answer to an interesting trivia question, scoring the first goal, in the first game, of the very first professional hockey league on December 9, 1904 in Pittsburgh’s Duquesne Gardens.
Holden’s fearsome wrist shot made him a legend; he was known to fire high shots in on net from the far blue line. Goalies would lose sight of the puck in the poor arena lighting. Holden was not just a heavy shooter but a heavy hitter. He was three times an all-star in the International Hockey League. In the late days of his career, Holden moved back to Canada where he played with the Montreal Wanderers and Quebec Bulldogs.
Asthma forced him to hang up his skates after the 1912 season. He returned to Winnipeg and remained active in the Winnipeg sporting scene playing some semi-pro baseball, while also refereeing and coaching. Barney Holden died in 1948 in Burnaby, British Columbia.
1920 Selkirk Fishermen
The Selkirk Fishermen are the longest running junior hockey team in Canada. The franchise was founded in 1917, and joined the Winnipeg and District Junior League inaugural season in 1918. The league changed its name to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in 1931.
In its first year, the WDJL had nine teams in two divisions; each team played six games with the Fishermen taking the first league title in 1918. In 1920 the team won the league title again, claiming the new Turnbull Memorial Trophy. The team advanced to the Western Canada playdowns in Regina where they defeated the hometown Vics to claim the Manitoba/Saskatchewan title. Knocking off the Alberta/BC champion Calgary Monarchs earned Selkirk the Abbot Cup and the Junior hockey championship of Western Canada. This earned the Fishermen a crack at the Memorial Cup against the Eastern Champion, the Toronto Canoe Club Paddlers.
The popular Fishermen were small and success for them came from a fast, skilled offence. The Paddlers however, were an all-star contingent comprised of players from across the country and their size would prove to be too much for the Fishermen. Selkirk lost the two-game total goal Memorial Cup series 15-5.