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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

MONSIGNOR ATHOL MURRAY

Inducted in 1972

Member Details

Date of Birth: January 9, 1892
Place of Birth: Toronto, Ontario
Date of Passing: December 15, 1975
Sport: Ice Hockey
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1968

Order of Canada

Honoured Member MONSIGNOR ATHOL MURRAY
Inspire

Story

It was while studying law at Osgoode Hall in Toronto that Athol Murray read St. Augustine, fell in love with his teachings, and changed the course of his own life. Murray left law school and enrolled in seminary school in Toronto, and in 1918 he was ordained. Murray was sent to the tiny town of Regina, Saskatchewan. In 1923, he formed a sports club whose members were young boys who had been caught stealing candy from a church basement. He convinced police to drop charges so long as the culprits participated in club activities, and the Regina Argos Club was born. Soon after, Murray was relocated to the even smaller Wilcox, Saskatchewan, and he took the boys with him, teaching them in abandoned buildings. Others joined the makeshift school as well, and in no time Murray was running Notre Dame collegiate. The school was a huge success and hundreds joined to learn from him and to participate in sports, which Murray believed provided much education as well as competitive spirit. Many of the boys came from poor families, however, and Murray gave them "scholarships" or accepted payment not in cash but in goods such as flour or wheat. The Notre Dame Hounds, meanwhile, developed into one of the best kids' hockey teams in the country, and over the course of decades it became the pre-eminent school for aspiring hockey players, much as St. Mike's was in Toronto. By the early 21st century, more than 100 Notre Dame boys have gone on to play in the NHL, and the school has been re-named Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. Notable graduates include Wendel Clark and Vincent Lecavalier, but hundreds of others who didn't play hockey developed into successful businessmen or, more generally, fine and intelligent citizens, all thanks to the genius of Pere Murray who decided to give some candy thieves a second chance.


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