... presented by Mark Spector
... presented by Al Coates
... presented by Scott Robinson
... presented by Mike Rogers
EARL INGARFIELD SR
Represented by grandchildren Ralph Thrall IV,
Amara Thrall and daughter Rae Anne Thrall
... presented by Gregg Pilling
Represented by son Robb Utendale and
wife Mickey Utendale
... presented by Allan Mowbray
EDMONTON CHIMOS - 1983-93
... presented by Mel Davidson
Inaugural recipient of Robert Clark Legacy Award
... presented by Norma Clark and Bob Bartlett
CANMORE – Six individuals and the teams comprising a “decade of excellence” in women’s hockey were inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame on Sunday evening.
The Class of 2023 features three former National Hockey League players (including two Stanley Cup champions), an official who worked nationally and internationally in her 34-year career, a long-time volunteer and builder of U18 AAA hockey, the first Black hockey player to sign an NHL contract, and the best women’s hockey club in Alberta between 1983 and 1993.
Charlie Huddy, Tim Hunter, Earl Ingarfield Sr., Karen Kost, Bobby Olynyk, John Utendale and the Edmonton Chimos were enshrined in Alberta’s hockey history during the AHHF Gala at the Coast Hotel in Canmore.
The Gala was hosted by Hockey Alberta and the Hockey Alberta Foundation. Ryan Leslie, NHL host on Sportsnet, was the emcee for the evening.
As the inductees were recognized, many memories and stories were shared, but a common theme in their acceptance speeches was the importance of family and others around them in the success the inductees enjoyed during their careers.
Charlie Huddy was one of seven Edmonton Oilers to be a member of all five of the franchise’s Stanley Cup winning teams (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990), and the NHL’s first recipient of the Plus/Minor Award in 1983. He played for 11 seasons and then served as an assistant coach for 23 years in the NHL.
Charlie recalled how he wasn’t drafted in 1979, and that he really got lucky because his outstanding career with the Oilers started when they offered him a $5,000 signing bonus.
“You don’t win that many Stanley Cups without a lot of great teammates over the years,” Huddy said, also reflecting on the coaches behind the bench – Glen Sather, Ted Green and John Muckler.
Tim Hunter spent more than four decades in the NHL and WHL as a player and coach, helping bring a new focus to smart technology to the sport. In 1989, he lifted the Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames and continues his engagement in the community as an active alumnus.
He opened by reminding everyone that the adage that it takes a community to raise a child also applies to hockey players, and that he had a lot of help along the way. In addition to his family, the sacrifices made by his parents, and his “adopted” family, the Hamiltons, he had humorous thank yous for a couple of members of the AHHF induction committee.
He thanked Peter Maher for making his 10 second shifts sound impressive on Flames broadcasts, and Mike Rogers for operating a hockey school that he attended between the ages of 10-12 years
EARL INGARFIELD SR.
Earl Ingarfield Sr. played in the NHL for 13 seasons, including being the first player selected in the Pittsburgh Penguins expansion draft. In retirement, Earl scouted and coached with the New York Islanders.
Earl was unable to attend, and was represented by his daughter Rae Anne Thrall, and grandchildren Amara Thrall and Ralph Thrall IV. Ralph talked about how without the support Earl’s family and teammates, none of this would have been possible.
“He is an amazing person and has been a great role model for all of us,” said Ralph.
Karen Kost spent 34 years as an official and leader in training and mentoring officials across Alberta and Canada. Karen worked almost every level of hockey nationally and internationally.
She recalled how, at 14, she convinced her mother to let her get into competitive sports in the Peterborough, ON area, and then, a few years later after moving to Calgary, she was the only female in her officiating clinic in Calgary.
“I’ve been surrounded by tremendous and encouraging individuals,” said Kost, including a number officials leaders in the province such as Ed Yee, Jim Rutherford, Ernie Boruk, John Jacobs, Curtis Nichols, George McCorry, and Dave Ganley.
Bobby Olynyk (Bobby O) remains a dedicated volunteer in the game after nearly 60 years. He is well known for his role as a builder and leader of what is now known as the Alberta Elite Hockey League U18 AAA division.
“I’m standing here tonight because of many others. The players I coached, their parents, managers, club administrators,” he said, along with many others including league governors, business people who have supported his scholarship golf tournament, and, of course, his family.
Bobby also shared a lot of memories from his six decades in the sport – including a 1971 fire that burned down the arena in the middle of a playoff game where John Davidson was and the aftermath of the 2010 Olympics when Hayley Wickenheiser acknowledged the Alberta Midget Hockey League for exhibition games played against the national team in preparation for the Olympics.
John Utendale was the first Black hockey player to sign an NHL contract. While he never played in the NHL, John was a trailblazer in the game in Canada and United States. He was the first Black member of the U.S. men’s coaching staff as a member of the “Miracle on Ice” Olympic champions in 1980.
John, who died in 2006, was represented by his wife Mickey and son Robb Utendale. Robb reflected on recent accolades that have been bestowed on his father, including being honoured by the Washington State Legislature, the Seattle Kraken, and Western Washington Athletics Hall of Fame.
“But this one seems the most appropriate because our family is all Albertans,” said Robb.
He also pointed to the key role played by his mother in John’s career, as she worked full time in support of John’s career, and his career after hockey which included earning three post-secondary degrees.
“She held down the fort with two young boys at home. It was the full dedication of my mother that allows my father to get recognized tonight,” said Robb.
EDMONTON CHIMOS – A decade of excellence – 1983-93
The Edmonton Chimos club was the longest running Senior Women’s AAA hockey program in Alberta. But the organization’s 1983-1993 era was unparalleled, as the Chimos captured every Hockey Alberta Provincial Championship (Senior A, Female AA, Female AAA) and three Abby Hoffman Cup National Women’s championships (1984, 1985, 1992).
Shirley Cameron recalled the key volunteer roles played by the coaches, assistant coaches and trainers, who not only didn’t get paid, but covered their own expenses.
She also paid tribute to the decade of Chimos teams from 1973-83, who set the foundation for the decade of excellence.
“They are the women who forged the path. They set the direction for this team to be as successful as we were, and I hope we passed that on to the next decade of Chimos teams,” said Cameron.
CTV NEWS STORY – JULY 16 >
For more information on the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame and the Class of 2023, check the AHHF website at ahhf.ca.
In addition to the recognition of the class of 2023, the inaugural recipient of the Robert Clark Legacy Award was announced – Don Gatto.
Gatto served as President of Hockey Alberta (1992-93) and was the first-ever chair of the Hockey Alberta Foundation. He is a Life Member of Hockey Alberta and an Honoured Member of the AHHF (class of 2007). His hockey involvement also included work at the national level as chair of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association Minor Council, and at the local level where he volunteered as a coach and for 11 years and served as the Director of Crossfield and District Minor Hockey.
Gatto was named Lethbridge’s Kinsmen Sports Person of the Year in 1998, and has been involved with numerous Lethbridge sports organizations, including the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame, University of Lethbridge Hockey Alumni, Lethbridge Sports Council, and the Lethbridge Hockey Hounds, helping raise over $1 million for hockey groups in southern Alberta.
(All photos by LA Media.)