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Moose Jaw and District Hall of Fame announces 2020 inductees

Pandemic delayed annual event last two years, five athletes and builders enshrined in first induction since 2019.
Hall of Fame John and Merv
Moose Jaw and District Hall of Fame 2020 inductee John Hunter and 2021 inductee Merv Fonger, coach of the 1992 Amber Holland world junior silver medalists, reveal the 10 new inductees.
To say Thursday’s announcement by the Moose Jaw and District Hall of Fame was a long, long time coming is a bit of an understatement.

After postponing their induction classes for the last two years due to the ongoing pandemic, the Hall of Fame announced their 2020 and 2021 classes at Mosaic Place, with 10 newcomers enshrined on the Wall of Fame on the second floor concourse.

For 2020, volleyball athlete Darcy Busse, hockey/baseball builder John Hunter, baseball builder Charlie Meacher, wrestling builder Dave Pyle, basketball athlete Marg (Curry) Sihvon and hockey athlete Ed Staniowski were inducted.

The 2021 class includes wrestling athlete/builder Frank Abdou, golf athlete Lorie Boyle, the 1992 Amber Holland curling team and football athlete Levi Steinhauer.

Here’s a look at the 2020 Moose Jaw and District Hall of Fame class.

John Hunter

Hunter was among those in attendance for the announcement event and expressed his thanks to the committee just for being considered.

“It’s an honour,” he said matter-of-factly. “I finished high school at Peacock and I’ve been here ever since, and any time I could help out with Moose Jaw sports or entertainment through the Kinsmen Club, the projects they were running, it was my life. It’s been 75 years and I’ve had a lot of fun.”

Hunter was the proprietor of Hunter’s Mens Wear from 1995 to his retirement in 2016, often employing young athletes and offering player of the game awards to junior teams in the city. But it was his work away from work that drew acclaim.

Hunter began coaching hockey in 1956 and basically never stopped. From organizing elite leagues and tournaments to coaching teams in both hockey and baseball at all levels, Hunter was a fixture in Moose Jaw sports for decades, helping many a young athlete find high-level success.

He made a point of thanking those athletes for their efforts over the years.

“The thing we don’t express often enough is thanks for the people who showed up and competed,” Hunter said. “I wouldn’t have become a coach or helped run this ball team or that league if there weren’t people out wanting to play the game and help out and be looked after. I really enjoyed it.

“If they weren’t doing it, we wouldn’t have been out there, but it was always something we enjoyed. Leaving the shop at night, you weren’t going home, you were going to do something you enjoyed.”

Darcy Busse

Raised in Moose Jaw, Busse emerged as an elite volleyball player in the late 70s and would join the University of Saskatchewan Huskies program in 1979.

Busse and the Huskies would go on to win Canada West titles in 1980 and 1985 and he was a first-team all-star all five years with the team, winning the player of the year award in 1984 and 1986. The Huskies won two CIAU silver medals and one bronze during his tenure, with Bussie winning the CIAU player of the year award twice -- the only male Huskie to do so in team history.

Busse also saw extensive national team experience from 1978 to 1983 and played with Canada’s silver-medal winning crew at the 1983 World University Games. 

Busse has been inducted into many Hall of Fames, including the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

Charlie Meacher

If you’ve been around Ross Wells Park at any time during the summer over the last three decades, odds are you’ve crossed paths with local baseball legend Charlie Meacher at one point or another.

In addition to being a successful coach at various levels since the early 1990s, with multiple provincial titles to his credit, Meacher is just as well known for his work organizing baseball in the community. He has spent countless hours as the groundkeeper, maintenance man, equipment manager and scheduler for local ball parks and organizations, on top of serving on the Ross Wells Park Board since 1995 as well as working with Baseball Saskatchewan since 1997, including more than 10 years on the provincial high-performance committee.

Meacher was also instrumental in the formation of the Saskatchewan Premier Baseball League, featuring the top AA and AAA 18-and-under teams in the province, and served as the league’s president for over a decade.

Meacher has multiple awards to his credit, including the Baseball Canada Volunteer of the Year in 2013 and induction into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.

Dave Pyle

When Dave Pyle first launched the Moose Jaw Wrestling and Barbell Club back in 1950, he couldn’t have known the history he would make over the coming decades.

Pyle’s dedication to physical fitness and the sport of wrestling would lead to unparalleled success for local athletes and one of the most successful runs for the mat sport in Moose Jaw in the city’s history: 115 provincial championships, 42 Canadian championship medals and 25 national titles won by 10 different wrestlers to go along with Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games and World Cup success after success. Among his elite athletes were Canadian Olympians Ray Lougheed (1960) and Terry Paice (1976).

While Pyle’s gym moved several times over the years, it was always a mecca for bodybuilding and powerlifting in the province and beyond, with those athletes finding tons of their own success in their sports over the years.

Pyle helped found the Saskatchewan Powerlifting Association in 1974 and was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.

Marg (Curry) Sihvon

After winning four high school city basketball championships with Central in the late 1950s and early 1960s and starring with the University of Saskatchewan for five seasons, Marg (Curry) Sihvon would go on to an amazing career with the Canadian national women’s basketball team.

Sihvon won bronze with Team Canada at the 1967 Pan American Games and was named the national team captain in 1969. She completed her international career in 1972, having played in tournaments and elite events all over the world.

Sihvon’s winning didn’t stop there, as she won four high school provincial championships in Swift Current in the late 1970s as well as coaching the Medicine Hat College Rattlers to ACAC titles and CCAA bronze medals in 1982 and 83.

Among her many awards and honours, Sihvon was inducted into the Sask Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.

Ed Staniowski

Ed Staniowski played minor hockey in Moose Jaw and began his elite career with the Regina Pats of the Western Canadian Junior Hockey League in 1971. He would go on to be a part of some of the greatest seasons in Pats history.

While winning Regina’s Most Valuable Player award for three straight seasons from 1973-75, Staniowski would backstop the Pats to the Memorial Cup in 1973-74 and also win the WCJHL most valuable player in both 1974 and 1975.

That all led Staniowski to the National Hockey League, where he was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 1975. Over a 10-year professional career, he’d put together a 4.06 goals against average while playing 316 games. 

Staniowski joined the Canadian Armed Forces after his hockey career and reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In his 29 years with the military, he served in peacekeeping and operational missions all over the world and was awarded the Order of Military Merit in 2008.

Staniowski and fellow Moose Jaw and District Hall of Famer Clark Gillies had their numbers retired by the Regina Pats in 2000, and he was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.