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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

BILL HUNTER

Inducted in 2001

Member Details

Date of Birth: May 5, 1920
Place of Birth: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Date of Passing: December 16, 2002
Sport: Ice Hockey
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1946
Became involved in provincial hockey
1966

Memorial Cup - Edmonton Oil Kings

1971

Started World Hockey Association

1983

Tried to bring NHL hockey to Saskatoon

Honoured Member BILL HUNTER
Inspire

Story

From one honoured member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame to another, Bill Hunter owed much of his lifelong success to Pere Athol Murray, for it was as a student at Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, that Hunter developed character and determination which allowed him to accomplish so much in life. Even as a kid, Hunter was organizing teams or working as general manager. When he was at Notre Dame, he put together a 78-game tour for the Hounds' baseball team in the summer which made its way through Prairie cities big and small. Hunter spent most of the Second World War with the Royal Air Force's International Squadron, but by 1946 he returned to hockey for his livelihood. He coached, managed, and sometimes owned a series of teams in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and in 1966 he was one of the founding fathers of the Western Hockey League, giving junior hockey in the west a formidable and sensible structure to align with—and compete against—similar leagues in Ontario and Quebec. Hunter twice took the Edmonton Oil Kings to the Memorial Cup finals (winning in 1966), but he set his sights on the NHL. Unable to buy a team, he and some associates started the World Hockey Association in 1971, and a year later he was part of a league that competed against the NHL for both players and fans. Hunter owned the Edmonton Oilers, but by 1979, when the team entered the NHL, he had sold his interests. In 1983, he bought the St. Louis Blues and was ready to bring the team to Saskatoon, where he had an arena and sell-out crowds waiting, but the NHL nixed the deal and Hunter gave up trying to buy into the NHL.


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