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Anyone who frequented hockey rinks and baseball diamonds in the Westfort area from the 1950s to the 1980s, was sure to come upon this exceptional builder exhibiting a true commitment to the development of youth athletics in his community.

A successful coach and manager, he developed many young hockey stars with the Elks Pee Wee League from 1951-71, and led the Bruins to league and district titles. Other hockey contributions during his 40 years of involvement included time with the Westfort Hurricanes & Maroons, the Junior A, Juvenile and Bantam teams of the Fort William Canadiens Hockey Club and the Eagles and Buccaneers Junior A hockey teams. Entering the semi-professional sphere, he served in the Western Hockey League (WHL) from 1975-88 scouting new talent. In addition to his work behind the bench, he also sat around the board table of many hockey organizations. He served as a Director and Treasurer for the Burger King Kings and the Thunder Bay Flyers, a Director with the Fort William Minor Hockey Association and Thunder Bay Junior Hockey League and as President of the Fort William Canadiens and Westfort Maroons. Most recently he spearheaded a drive to ensure the continued use of outdoor rinks for the youth of his community.

Simultaneous to his hockey efforts, he dedicated his time as well to amateur baseball. Coach for the Westfort Athletic Association baseball team for 1949-50, he umpired for the Westfort International Little League baseball team from 1950-54. Taking on the responsibility of managing the Great Lakes Paper Kings Fastball Club in 1970, he would preside, direct and umpire with the Lakehead Major Fastball League from 1971-74.

Instrumental in the development of the West Thunder Community Centre, he has served as President since 1987. His selfless efforts have not gone unnoticed, being awarded Coach of the Year honours, a 1992 City of Thunder Bay Achievement Award and a 'Canada 125' Governor General of Canada Commemorative Medal of Achievement, due honours for a man of such commitment.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 30, 2000

Art Chepil

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