June 12th, 2024

Two sports pillars to be inducted into City’s Wall of Fame Thursday

By JAMES TUBB on May 22, 2024.

PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF MEDICINE HAT The City of Medicine Hat is inducting Joseph Fisher and Zorislav Krco to the Sports Wall of Fame on Thursday during a ceremony at the Big Marble Go Centre.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

The City of Medicine Hat is honouring two sports figures with inductions into the Sports Wall of Fame this week.

Joseph Fisher and Zorislav Krco will become the 33rd and 34th inductees into the Wall of Fame during a 7 p.m. ceremony Thursday at the Big Marble Go Centre.

“The Sports Wall of Fame recognizes leaders in sport and honours individuals and teams of the past and present to inspire the future,” said James Will, director of parks and recreation, in a city release. “Both Joseph and Zorislav have proven their outstanding commitment to their respective sports have made significant contributions to the sporting community in Medicine Hat.”

The 66-year-old Krco has had a 48-year karate career that has included attaining the 8th Dan rank, one of the highest attainable ranks one can achieve.

It’s a recognition Krco says means a lot to him and a feeling he wishes he could replicate.

“For me, this is really, really something special and an honour to be there (Thursday),” Krco said. “This is something special, my feeling is really, really happy. If I could feel like I will on Thursday every day, my life will be 100 years (long).”

Krco’s largest impact on the sport of Karate in Medicine Hat has come as a teacher, where he is a Class A certified international instructor. He’s had students win World Championships in Canada and Europe and has taught in the city for over 23 years.

He says teaching is part of his life and he says he doesn’t know what he would do if he couldn’t teach and share his passion.

“If I teach, I never think about something different, just about teaching and how I can do it properly,” Krco said. “Just show I can understand my students, how I can understand that is for me, just concentration. I do not think anything different, I just follow my students to follow how I can to give them to understand more instruction, more support, that is for me something special.”

Krco says karate is part of life and he found interest in the sport at a young age working with sensei Vladimir Iorga. He found a karate club and worked his way through lessons and he says never gave up. Krco says karate has helped him in life and he says it’s provided him many lessons.

“It’s given me motivation, it’s given me a nice feeling and an understating of the feeling for my family and students,” Krco said. “I am a person who always likes to help. For me, it is the best present.

“That is who I am and that is my personality, to help give somebody hope for future life.”

Fisher is regarded as the first Medicine Hat hockey player to join the NHL and win a Stanley Cup, doing so with the 1943 Detroit Red Wings.

After four years in the NHL, he joined the war effort as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force and played senior-level hockey before retiring in 1949. He returned to Medicine Hat and coached for four years in the senior and junior hockey leagues, leading the Medicine Hat Tigers in the late 1940s and early 50s.

Then in 1970, Fisher, alongside George Maser and Rod Carry, founded the Medicine Hat Tigers in the Western Hockey League, named after the earlier 1950s team.

Fisher served in a director of hockey operations role and under his recommendation, the Tigers hired Jack Shupe to be the franchise’s first head coach.

During the expansion draft, after multiple players would not report to Medicine Hat, Fisher and the Tigers selected future legends Tom Lysiak and Lanny McDonald.

“Joe Fisher’s reputation in the hockey world gave the team instant credibility and served as a catalyst for securing an expansion franchise in 1970,” Tigers president Darrell Maser said.

Medicine Hat went on to win a WHL championship in 1973 and after Fisher sold his interest in the franchise in 1979, the Tigers won back-to-back WHL championships and Memorial Cups in 1987 and 1988.

“Joe Fisher made many contributions to the hockey community in Medicine Hat and this is a well deserved recognition.”

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