An Inspiring Weekend
Posted By: Aaron Sims
Saturday night I was privileged to attend the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame banquet in Eagle River. I wasn’t an invited guest or anything like that, I just wanted to go and support hockey in the state and also get an idea as to who the inductees are.
Before heading to the banquet, I wanted to head to the Hall of Fame. The part the memorabilia is housed in is very small. It’s basically a separate room inside the Eagle River Sports Arena. The ERSA, which I’ve written about before, is the oldest hockey arena in the state.
I was disappointed to find the lights for the rink were off and it didn’t appear that anyone was around. I was able to walk into the Hall of Fame, though.
I didn’t count on knowing anyone at the event, even though I’ve been broadcasting hockey in this state for 15 years.
I got to the event at 6 pm. As I suspected, I didn’t recognize anyone that was there. As I paid my entrance fee, I quickly scanned the nametags in front of me. There was one name that stood out: “Dan Lecours”
. Since I didn’t recognize anyone, and it was a social hour before the meal and induction, I headed to the bar.
The meal was served at 7 pm. We entered the dining room. I ended up sitting with the Suters and Devines. We also shared a table with Tim Janoska
and his wife. Janoska was the goalie on the first ever Admirals team in 1970. I showed him the picture I had taken of the 1970 team and he named nearly every person in the photo. He asked for help identifying a couple of players from a teammate of his on that team, Wisconsin Hall of Famer Jim Paull
Each inductee had a presenter. John Galloway was presented by a son. Skip Semandel was presented by Danny Lecours and Kurt Steiner was presented by Bud Sheldon. Each presenter and inductee kept the speeches short and to the point.
Sitting in the audience and listening to the stories these men shared inspired me. These three honored Saturday night are just a sample of the men and women that have done so much to help the sport of hockey in Wisconsin. They’ve served as coaches, administrators, officials, parents, friends, travel agents, taxi services and promoters. They weren’t looking to be acknowledged, they were looking to keep kids active. They weren’t trying to help themselves and further their legacy, they were trying to grow a sport and make it easier for others to enjoy it, too. My parents fall into that category. My friends’ parents are there, too. Many of you are included.
Hockey in the state is better because of those in the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame. But I realized I don’t need to be a Hall of Famer to make a difference. Nor do you. In 2010-2011, make it a point to support hockey in the state. Whether it’s youth, high school, college, NAHL, USHL or the Admirals, let’s bring people out and turn them on to the best sport going.
I leave you with the Wagon Wheel Cardinals
. Many of the men I spoke to Saturday at the Hall of Fame banquet said they played in Rockton, IL 50 years ago as it was the only place in the area that had indoor ice.