Wild Bill Hunter Should Be In The Hockey Hall Of Fame

It’s great that western Canada’s Ed Chynoweth will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as builder in November’s ceremony. He deserves it.

But Bill Hunter deserves it too. When is this going to happen, for goodness sakes?

In fact, Hunter, who passed away on December 16, 2002 at the age of 82, should have been enshrined years ago.

To say that Bill Hunter shouldn’t be in the hallowed hall is like saying Lord Stanley, Conn Smythe, or Frank Selke shouldn’t be either. The man practically instilled the right to skate, shoot, and score in Western Canada.

Here’s a rundown of some his astonishing accomplishments. Then you decide whether he belongs.

He was either coach, general manager, president, chairman of the board, owner, or any combination of the above of the Regina Capitals Senior Club, Saskatoon Quakers, Medicine Hat Tigers, Moose Jaw Hockey Club, Yorkton Terriers, Edmonton Oil Kings Junior Club, San Diego Gulls, Alberta Oilers and Edmonton Oilers of the newly formed World Hockey Association (WHA). He was also general manager of Team Canada 1974. And he almost single-handedly created the Western Hockey Junior League and was the mastermind behind the modern-day Memorial Cup format.

In 1982 he launched Saskatoon’s bid to acquire a franchise in the National Hockey League (NHL) by purchasing the St. Louis Blues with the intent to move the club to Saskatoon, only to be turned down by the league. But from this, a world-class multipurpose sports and entertainment complex known as Saskatchewan Place was built.

He was awarded the Canadian Tourism Award, inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, Notre Dame (Saskatchewan) College Hall of Fame, City of Edmonton Hall of Fame, was an Honorary Life Member of Notre Dame, is in the Saskatoon Hall of Fame and was given the Order of Canada. It just goes on and on.

So why isn’t he already? Because Wild Bill rubbed some the wrong way. The NHL was never pleased that Hunter helped form the renegade WHA, which enticed players from the old-guard NHL, which led to a rise in salaries.

The Hockey Hall of Fame has made some questionable choices in the past. Team Canada 1972 hero Paul Henderson isn’t there, but Russian goalie Vladislav Tretiak, who slammed Canada’s game and its system in his book Tretiak, the Legend, is. So is Harold Ballard, who almost single-handedly ruined a storied Toronto Maple Leaf franchise.

But forget about questionable decisions. Bill Hunter is clear cut. He should be in there, plain and simple.

Smarten up, whoever you are who votes.

6 thoughts on “Wild Bill Hunter Should Be In The Hockey Hall Of Fame”

  1. DK,

    Yup, no doubt that Hunter should be in there – he was literally bigger than life. But, then, as you noted (way too diplomatically for me but which lightness of touch I am now correcting …hehe … much like Godzilla stomping on Bambi) his accomplishments, his character, his willingness to openly defend what he said he stood for(& not just posture like so many do) and which flew in the face of `thepowersthatbe’ at the time are the real reasons why he is not among the top honourees in the hall … yeah, his exclusion amongst others is a good reason to withhold `fame’ from the title, eh? Same old story of power smurffs, usually the rich mediocrities & their associated lackeys who have no compunctions about manipulating, cheating,sneaking around, distorting, misrepresenting,in short engaging in all manner of mendacious activities in order to promote their `vision’ of what should be which, of course, is really about mainting their privelged positions, their egos, their pompous pretensions, their need to have control and appear to be what and who they are not. And the hockey world is merely in step with this general characteristic of the species. The very people who shouldn’t have power are the ones who want it, who learn how to get it and, more to the point, learn how to keep it no matter how obviously distorted and self-serving their aims are, how viscious and vindictive their methods, how absurd and intrinsically pathetic their hypocritical self-promotion. Sigh, it never ceases to amaze me how the lowest denominator is so often the one that holds sway. So, why isn’t Hunter in the hall? Because of limitations. Ours. Yup, for whatever reasons – perhaps ones governing group formation that are beyond rational assessment – willy-nilly we collaborate in our own victimisation …. hence, the importance of the Bill Hunters – they remind us of how vested interests really work and therefore the importance of standing up for what one believes to be right regardless of the potential consequences which are invariable measures of vengeance the manner and kind of which varies according to the political, socio-cultural, and historical times in which they occur. Hey, imperial conquerors, aristocrats, merchant princes, techno-nerds – what’s the diff?

  2. DK,

    Why, thank you DK. Much appreciated. I just got back from a mandatory Dr’s check-up for a class 4 licence & once again I was reminded of how their `guild’ is oh so representative of how ruling groups promote and preserve their fiefdoms. Sigh … a `polemic’ for another time. Now I’m gonna spend some time doing something interesting, fun and far less harmful heheh gonna check out our draft possibilities. This Deschamps `gars’ looks interesting, someone who will continue to grow & mature as a man and a player.

  3. Here Here! Great read. It’s so interesting to me to see others who are so interested in my grandfather. 🙂

  4. this man is whythe whl is here
    follow the history a rogue league that the chl would not let play in
    the cdn.championship (memorial cup ) now look at the WHL the best hockey in canada also how about guys like gerry lubanikey (SPELLINGMOST LIKEY WRONG) I GROW UP WITH THESE GUYS I WAS YOUNG BUT THIS IS HOCKEY IN SASK. our company imported hockey sticks from victoriaville quebec (the first time vic.had ever sold a stick out side quebec ) athol murray and many more i grew up with

  5. Good stuff, Richie. I can see you’re proud of western hockey and good for you. You’re also an oldtimer like me.

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