As the Winkler Flyers celebrate their 30th year in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, the hockey club has established a permanent way to recognize those who played a large role in making the Flyers what they are today. General Manager Henry Siemens announced Monday, the creation of the Winkler Flyers Hall of Fame.
There have been many great players, coaches and builders over the years and five special people will make up the Hall of Fame class of 2011. Steve Harder, Ed Belfour and Wade Sambrook will go in the player category. Former captain and Head Coach Peter Derksen will enter the hall in the coaching category and team founder Dan Giesbrecht will go in the builder category.
Siemens says they have been struggling the last number of years to find a way to permanently recognize and celebrate the team's history. He adds they looked at a number of ways to do that and the Hall of Fame will give Flyer fans a constant reminder of the good things that have happened, the great season's they've enjoyed, and some of the great players that have stepped on the ice.
Steve Harder played for the Flyers from 1981-1986 and won numerous team and league awards. The Winkler native was one of the first true greats to wear the Orange and Black uniform.
Wade Sambrook played in Winkler for five seasons and patrolled the Flyers blue-line when Winkler won the MJHL Championship, Anavet Cup, and made it all the way to the Centennial Cup final in 1991-92.
Ed Belfour's accomplishments speak for themselves. The Carman product played in Winkler from 1984-86. He then went to the University of North Dakota before making his way to the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL. The future NHL Hall of Fame goaltender won numerous Vezina Trophy's, the Calder Cup, and also won the Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999.
Peter Derksen played for the Flyers in the 1980's and was their team captain. He later re-joined the team behind the bench and was the Head Coach when they Flyers made their run to the Centennial Cup final in 1992. His fiery coaching style is still remembered by Flyer fans today.
Dan Giesbrecht is one of the main reasons why the Flyers are here today. He was instrumental in the formation of the team in 1980 and served in nearly every capacity during the early years of Flyer hockey.
The class of 2011 will be inducted at the inaugural Winkler Flyers Hall of Fame Dinner on February 24th. The event will replace the annual Winkler Flyers Sportsman's Dinner and will be used to solely celebrate the Winkler Flyers both past and present.
As part of this year's banquet, the Flyers of 2010/11 will be introduced and Head Coach John Marks will offer some hockey insights from his NHL playing days and many decades of coaching professional hockey.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)