June 24th, 2024

Two local sports legends added to Wall of Fame

By JAMES TUBB on May 24, 2024.

Zorislav Krco gives his acceptance speech during the induction ceremony Thursday for his and Joseph Fisher's plaques on the City of Medicine Hat's Sports Wall of Fame.--NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

Two sports pillars were forever enshrined in Medicine Hat’s Sports Wall of Fame on Thursday.

Sensei Zorislav Krco and Joseph Fisher became the 33rd and 34th inductees into the Wall of Fame during a ceremony held at the Big Marble Go Centre gymnasium. It marked the first induction onto the wall of fame since 2022.

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.

During his acceptance speech, Krco expressed gratitude for the honour and the show of support he had with current and former students in attendance, as well as his wife, kids and grandchildren.

“Thank you so much to all my students, it doesn’t matter where they are, which city of Canada, which country or which continent,” Krco said. “They gave me lots of motivation to (not) give up … this ceremony for me is a really, really huge honour. Never forget, never ever. It’s not just for me, it was for my family, an example for my family, for my kids, for my grandkids, for my students for everybody, (especially) for younger, young people.

“It’s never too late to be successful, but to be successful of a good thing, you need to (have) hard work.”

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 more than 23 years.

He’s taught at the YMCA in Medicine Hat since 2000, a place he considers his second home.

Fisher, who passed in 2002, 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. He 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.

Rosalyn Fisher, the daughter of Joseph, spoke while wearing a Stanley Cup ring the family made for him as NHL teams pre-WWII did not make rings for their championship teams.

Fisher says she’s had people in the community tell her, “It’s about time,” regarding her fathers’s induction, but she says it’s better late than never and that he would be “over the moon” with the honour.

She shared a story from after her father won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings and why he is missing from their championship photo.

“When they won the Stanley Cup, my mum was in the hospital here in Medicine Hat and Joe was concerned,” Fisher said. “So the next day, he got on the train, which is a seven-day trip from Detroit to Medicine Hat back then. So if you ever see a picture of the Detroit Redwings’ Stanley Cup picture, Joe won’t be in it because he was coming home to mom.”

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