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It was while growing up in Dryden and participating in a wide variety of athletics that this builder developed an appreciation for sport and recreation that would see him go on to serve as a coach, referee, organizer, consultant and instructor spanning the 1960s to 2000s.

His talents on the ice, led him to the University of North Dakota in 1964 where he helped the Fighting Sioux claim Western College Hockey Association honours and make two appearances in the Frozen Four US College hockey championship.

Graduating from UND in 1968 with a physical education degree, and obtaining a specialist degree from the University of Toronto, he returned to Dryden where he coached his alma mater's hockey and football teams. Involved as a key organizer and player with the Dryden Rockets Oldtimers team for 15 years, he travelled with the club throughout Europe and the US, and was involved with their 1983 gold medal World Cup victory in Munich, Germany.

With a desire to ensure that the youth of his community had access to quality coaching, he obtained certification in a number of sports so that he could better undertake his role leading local gymnasts, swimmers and skiers during the 1970s and 80s.

A successful hockey coach, he helped lead the Boise-Kenora Midgets to the 1993 Manitoba AAA title, earned All-Star Coach honours, and spent time refereeing high school hockey. A National Coaching Certification Program course conductor and hockey clinician, he helped lead clinics for the Canadian Hockey Association in England and Australia and provided advice and contacts to young athletes to assist them in their academic and athletic pursuits.

Serving as a consultant with the Ontario Ministry of Culture and Recreation during the 1970s and 80s, he helped direct programs throughout the region and served as a member of management teams for Ontario Summer Games and the 1981 Canada Summer Games in Thunder Bay. In 2003 he helped create a report on Dryden's recreation and fitness facilities.

Throughout his years of involvement in sport this dedicated builder had one goal in mind, to provide the best opportunity he could for athletes to improve and to reach their goal of playing their sport at the highest level possible, making him a builder of sport in the truest sense of the word.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 28, 2019

Michael Furlong

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