Before I moved to Estevan in September of 2000, one of the first things I needed to know was: what was the highest level of hockey in the city.
After all, if I was going to be in Saskatchewan during those long, cold winter nights, it would help to attend as many games as possible. I was happy to learn that Estevan had a junior hockey team, the Bruins, and that they had a pretty strong tradition.
They were only 18 months removed from a league championship. And while times have been tough, with just one best-of-seven series victory since 1999, they have had great years.
And that's why the Bruins' Alumni Association was handed such a difficult task in trying to select six people associated with the team who could be inducted into the SJHL Hall of Fame.
There was one slam dunk: Bill Shinske. When I think of the Bruins, Bill Shinske is the name that immediately comes to mind. He meant so much to the team and to the city, and it was great to see many members of the Shinske family in attendance at the Hall of Fame dinner.
The Alumni Association could have selected Bruin players who had great NHL careers, like Dallas Smith, Joe Watson, Ross Lonsberry or Gregg Sheppard. And they wouldn't have been wrong in doing so.
But they opted for another direction, and weren't wrong for that direction, either. They selected Ron Dunville, who remains the club's all-time leader in goals and points. Bruce Firth was a worthy choice thanks to his contributions to the team on and off the ice.
The selection committee did opt for one former Bruin who played in the NHL, Alan May, who spent four years in Estevan, and contributed to a championship season in 1985. He went on to play 393 games in an enforcer role.
Ray Frehlick was another strong choice as a builder, as he was a pivotal figure as a GM and a supporter of the team in the 1970s.
And then there's Terry Simpson. It was a little-known fact that Simpson spent several years with the Bruins in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was widely regarded as the most deserving candidate not in the SJHL Hall, but because his SJHL accomplishments –seven league titles and four national titles – occurred with the Prince Albert Raiders, who are now in the WHL, so Simpson was snubbed for several years by teams who favoured their home-grown contributors.
His induction into the SJHL Hall fits under the classification of "It's about time."
There were many more deserving candidates who could have been considered, too.
If Estevan gets the chance to host the dinner again, and induct more deserving candidates, then the selection committee will again have to choose a select few from a list of many.