May 26th, 2024

Page, Hounds mounted to Wall of Fame

By JAMES TUBB on September 16, 2021.

Medicine Hat immortalized two icons in sports Wednesday night.

The city inducted the late Bill Page and the Hockey Hounds Association into the Medicine Hat Sports Wall of Fame at the Family Leisure Centre.

Page, a boxing fixture in Medicine Hat, helped start up the Medicine Hat Boxing Club in 1975. He was a coach there from day one until he passed away. Page was nominated by Elizabeth Stewart, a friend whose son was coached by Page. She was emotional at the ceremony as she explained why he belonged on the Wall of Fame.

“He was encouraging, fair to all, showing his pride after each fight card that he and his boxers attended,” she said. “The fight was about the boxer and their hard work, not about him. He was simply a stepping stone for them to become the best they could…. We need more people like Bill.”

Page had been recognized for his contributions to boxing and the young people he helped coach by being named by the sportsman of the year in 1979, followed by an induction into the Alberta Sport Hall of Fame in 2005.

His wife Rose, following in the humble footsteps of her late husband, kept her acceptance speech on his behalf short. She reflected that it was 46 years ago that the recreation department talked Ev Nieman into starting the boxing club with the help of Page.

“It was always about Medicine Hat, it’s a community that supports its sports and everything and I thank everyone for this award,” she said.

Established in 1970, the Hockey Hounds have been a pillar of the minor hockey community in Medicine Hat through fundraising, volunteering, sponsorships and scholarships. Their tournament, the Hockey Hounds Major Bantam Hockey Tournament, is one of the longest running in Canada and has taken place all but the last two seasons due to COVID-19 since their inception.

To date, the Hockey Hounds have raised more than $2 million for minor hockey in the city of Medicine Hat.

Leslie Rapuno nominated and introduced the Hockey Hounds at the Wall of Fame ceremony. For her, volunteering with the association is something to be proud of.

“I get asked all the time, ‘why do you keep volunteering?’ Number one, it’s a first class organization,” she said. “Every chance that I get to meet and talk with different players and coaches and family members they all say that this AAA tournament that the Medicine Hat Hockey Hounds put on is the killer tourney.” she said.

Larry Godin accepted the induction on behalf of the association.

“What an honour… The Hockey Hounds are honoured to be inducted with the late, great Bill Page,” he said.

“Hockey is changing, we believe in it as Hockey Hounds and we will plan to be around.”

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