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This builder got involved in sports while growing up in Port Arthur, going on to enjoy a successful athletic career at the local, high school, and collegiate level, and dedicating himself to providing sporting opportunities for his adopted community of Rainy River for many years.

Even though he was a standout on the gridiron with Port Arthur Collegiate, and on the ball diamond with local clubs, his award-winning hockey skills as a goalie with the Fort William Canadiens Junior hockey team during the 1960s earned him a scholarship to Colorado College in Colorado Springs. One of the best netminders in the NCAA Division 1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association, his over 2,100 career saves remains as one of the top total saves records in the college's history.

Moving to Rainy River upon graduation in 1969, he spent the next three decades as a builder of sports, volunteering his time as a coach, organizer, umpire and referee. A dedicated Rainy River High School teacher, he provided leadership to his students in such sports as hockey, curling and golf.

In hockey, he served behind the RRHS Owls bench from 1969-86. He also helped organize and coach community minor, adult, and old-timer teams and was a member of the coaching staff of the Border Towns Hockey School. An assistant coach of the Lake of the Woods High School team in Baudette, Minnesota, he helped lead the team to a 2nd place finish in the 1993 Minnesota State Tier II Championships, the best finish ever for that community.

While he was helping to lead junior rinks at the curling club and high school level during the 1980s and 90s, his leadership skills led to NWOSSAA curling titles and the development of such outstanding curlers as world champion Diane Adams. He rounded out his high school coaching career by providing golf instruction for close to a decade.

Upon his retirement from the teaching profession, this outstanding coach and volunteer remained active in the sporting and community life of Rainy River, carrying on his role as a mentor to young athletes and working to ensure that the opportunity to participate in sports and community activities was available for people of all ages, making him a builder of sports in the truest sense of the word.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 24, 2011

Don Gale

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