With the unselfish desire to help the youth of his community build character, confidence, self discipline and strive to do their very best, Henry 'Hank' Parks dedicated his life to the sport he believed provided that opportunity - wrestling. His own wrestling career started in Hamilton in 1932 and included five city championships and southwestern Ontario and Ontario titles. Retiring from the mat as a competitor, Hank turned his talents to the coaching side of the sport in Hamilton and during his five years of service with the RCAF.
Arriving in Thunder Bay in 1963, Hank started a high school wrestling team at Gron Morgan which produced provincial level wrestlers. Moving to Dryden in 1966, he started a wrestling program at that community’s high school the following year. For the next 15 years he volunteered his time coordinating invitational tournaments in Dryden and travelling many miles with his students to a number of competitions. It was not long before his efforts paid off, with his wrestlers claiming the NORWOSSA Team title in 1975, and earning top 3 placements at All-Ontario and All-Canadian championships.
Seeing the good results that the wrestling program was having at the high school level, Hank soon worked on introducing the sport into the lives of other youth in his community. Raising money from local sponsors, Hank helped start the Kids Wrestling Program, which saw 100 youngsters aged 5 to 16 turn out the first morning it was offered. It was not long before wrestling made its way into the elementary schools in Dryden.
Retiring from Dryden High School in 1981, Hank simply could not get wrestling out of his blood. In 1981 he co-founded the Dryden Wrestling Club, serving as President from 1981-84 and Vice-President from 1985-86, retiring from active coaching in 1987. For his life-long dedication to amateur sport Hank received a Certificate of Merit in Sport from the Government of Canada in 1981 and a Sport Achievement Certificate from the Province of Ontario in 1987.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 30, 1995