Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame
2205 Victoria avenue
There are only a handful of experiences in this world that unite people and set aside differences, sports are one of them! As the late Kobe Bryant told us, “sports are a great teacher, [they teach you] camaraderie, humility, [and] how to resolve differences [amongst one another].” For the Saskatchewan Hall of Fame, unifying all people in celebration of sport and in recognition of achievement is their forte. Located at 2205 Victoria Avenue, the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (SSHF) has been remembering and honouring some of the greatest stories to stem from our province for over half a century. Described by Matthew Gourlie, SSHF Communications Coordinator, the Hall has always strived “to combine great human stories with outstanding athletic achievement” to showcase the exceptional individuals and organizations that have called our province home.
Opening its doors in 1966, the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, formerly known as the Molson Sports Hall of Fame, first lived in the Molson Hospitality House following the partnership formed between the Saskatchewan Branch of the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada and the Molson Brewery Company. The Hall called this location home until 1974, when the renamed Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame relocated to a location along Saskatchewan Drive. It then moved once more in 1979 to its current location in downtown Regina and took over part of the Historic Land Titles Building, which is also the home office to a number of provincial sporting organizations – making the transition a good fit for all sides. Over their 54-year history, the Hall has grown immensely and is now home to 527 inductees (239 athletes, 163 builders, and 125 championship teams), 52 represented sports, 12 000+ artifacts, and generations of local visitors and volunteers. Since moving into the downtown district, the Hall has reaped the rewards of being located in a central part of the city. It is easily accessible to many other regions as well as easily accessible to Victoria Park right across the street, which has been home to many exciting events such as the Regina Folk Fest, various Grey Cup celebrations, and even a few events partnered with the 2019 NHL Heritage Classic last fall. The Hall has continued to evolve throughout their history, however, Matthew Gourlie believes the Hall has seen its biggest changes within the last decade or two. As the world continues to shift into a more digital age, traditional attractions like museums and the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame look to keep up with the times. In an effort to keep its exhibits “up to date” and the Hall as a constant attraction to the younger generations, they have done an excellent job implementing various interactive displays such as their multi-sport simulator, providing online learning activities and informative videos, and overall increasing their online and social media presence. However, even though the Hall and its exhibits have transitioned to the ”digital age,” they continue to maintain that traditional museum feel.
Unlike most businesses downtown and around the rest of the city, the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame has been in a unique situation this year. They closed their doors in late January of 2020 to begin renovations and upgrades to their three galleries before the SSHF and its administrative offices closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic in March. However, because of the Hall’s increased shift in their digital presence, they have been able to continue to share the great Saskatchewan Sports stories, that fans and residents have grown to know and love. Through this presence, they have been able to stay connected to their community and their partners. It has allowed them to change initiatives such as their “Creating Active Champions” program into a virtual format and enabled them to create new programs such as their “Pen Pal” program which virtually connects their inductees to local schools. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the other challenges that have come in 2020 have also put a halt on some of their more traditional events. With the pandemic affecting their suppliers and vendors, their renovations were halted in April. Once distance learning was instituted by the province, their annual “Never Give Up” school outreach program wasn’t able to go ahead this past spring. However, the biggest change they have faced is the postponement of the 2020 Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner. Matthew Gourlie stated, “it was set to be one of the greater classes we have seen, so it was unfortunate we could not celebrate them this year; however, we recognize that the induction celebrations are a time to reconnect with family and teammates, which is more impactful and fulfilling in person rather than online. Our goal is to postpone the 2020 Class induction until October of 2021, so the inductees and their families can have the celebration they deserve.” With this year’s class induction pushed back to next fall, the Hall plans to remain resilient and focused on showcasing their recent renovations. As they set to open their doors to the public once again on September 2nd, they ensure that they will continue to listen to all public health recommendations and will enforce protocols accordingly.
Even during challenging times like these, the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame has always had lots to offer the people of this province throughout their 54-year history. Whichever form their exhibits and learning opportunities take, whether it be in person through still exhibits and interactive displays or through online activities and videos, the Hall will always be a fun, interactive, and educational place suited for all ages. It will also remain a place where people of all backgrounds can unite and come together to remember or celebrate all the outstanding sport individuals and organizations that have called this province home. As Matthew described, “the Hall will forever be a place where we celebrate those small-town Saskatchewan dreams that have turned into outstanding world class achievements.”
Where to find the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame:
Address: 2205 Victoria Avenue