The purpose of the 50 Days of Inspiration is to highlight and inform the past 50 years of development for the Saskatchewan Games through the legacy of key leaders, athletes, coaches and volunteers and the communities that have provided support for the Games success.
The 50 Days of Inspiration Countdown project will contribute to this goal by identifying 50 leaders, athletes, coaches, volunteers, and builders who have gone on to contribute to their sport or community in a significant way. These 50 instrumental Saskatchewan sport influencers have shaped the Games as we enjoy them today! The stories are highlighted below:
50 years = 50 days = 50 leaders from the Saskatchewan sport community
Follow along everyday as we introduce a new Saskatchewan sport leader:
|Brenda Dowling still fondly remembers having goosebumps each time she walked out with her District team at the Saskatchewan Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Her love for tennis and bowling led her to compete in five Saskatchewan Games events in 1972, 1974, 1984, 1988 and 1992. Brenda’s competition experience|
inspired her to become a Games tennis venue umpire in 2000, nine-time Mission Staff Member, Host Committee Co-chair of Athlete Services in 2010 and Saskatchewan Games Council Board of Directors member for several years in the 2000’s. She champions the Games as a positive, friendly, and safe environment for the development of sport and describes its legacy as “multi-faceted” – emphasizing the opportunities it offers to create lifelong friendships and confidence for everyone involved.
|Brian Gislason proudly made his Saskatchewan Games debut in 1972, representing Swift Current for Baseball, and was most recently the Co-chair for the 2012 Summer Games in Meadow Lake. The strong leadership abilities he developed through sport allowed him the opportunity to coach softball at the 1989 & 1997|
Canada Games, as well as the 1996 Western Canada Games. Today, Brian serves as Chair of Meadow Lake KidSport, Assistant Coach with the Northern Pikes Wrestling Club and – among other volunteer activities – enjoys being a foster parent. Reflecting on great memories, community building, and leadership development, Brian says he values the inspiration that the Saskatchewan Games offers to athletes, coaches, and volunteers to help make each event a legacy experience.
|Jim Burnett’s impressive 40-year career at Sask Sport resulted in a life-long passion for the development of amateur sport organizations. His involvement with the Saskatchewan Games began in 1972 at the first-ever Games in Moose Jaw where he helped primarily with district team|
selection and preparation, followed by a support role in 1974, and serving as Chef de Mission in 1976. Fast forward to 1982, Jim’s strong dedication and commitment to the games led him to become Sask Sport’s General Manager – a position he held for 35 years until retiring in 2018. Describing his career experience as “a unique and distinct privilege,” he values the immense impact that the Sask Games has on supporting the development of coaches, officials, athletes and communities, contributing to improved physical wellbeing and volunteer participation of Saskatchewan residents.
Lorne Lasuita’s long-time involvement with the Saskatchewan Games began in 1974 where he uncovered an incredible skill for steering the event’s logistics to success. From serving as Chef de Mission, to Provincial Games Consultant, to Selection Committee for host communities and the Games’ Sport Calendar, his dedication to the event shines through his work at every Sask Games from 1974 to 2021. The Saskatchewan Games ignited a strong passion for multi-sport games that continued through similar roles at Canada Games and as a member of the mission staff at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
|Susan Schneider says her experience as the first Executive Director of the newly established Saskatchewan Games Council from 2003-2014 gave her a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment. She most enjoyed watching young Saskatchewan athletes excel and take their sport to the next level. Having been involved with the Games for over a decade, Susan said it was invigorating to watch each host community work together with|
the Council to create an incredible experience that they should be proud of to this day. As a sport-minded family, she says her uplifting experience with the Saskatchewan Games is a joy to share with her children and grandchildren as they continue to be involved in a variety of athletic ventures. That idea translates into how she believes the Saskatchewan Games legacy is passed on to the next generation through its programming as it continues to shape the province’s youth by way of multi-sport development.
|Biathlon and the Winter Games in Saskatchewan have been a constant in Doug Sylvester’s life since he first volunteered for the inaugural 1982 Saskatchewan Winter Games in his hometown of Prince Albert. Later, he says he was honoured to be selected as district coach for the North Battleford Zone at the 1998 Games in Nipawin. What he learned at the Games not only allowed him to “grow as a coach” but also led him to be a Province Technical Liason/Coach and volunteer at sevenWinter Games. He says his experience provided him with “a springboard” to go on to coach six times at the Canada Games - working with past and future Olympians - and to be a part of medals at Canada Games and dozens of National level competitions. For Doug, the Games legacy lies in “the true ‘amateur’ nature of sports being used as a tool to help in the development of our province’s brightest and most promising youth.”|
Kia Schollar was only 12 years old when she competed at the 2000 Saskatchewan Games in Yorkton in canoeing, but she says her experience fueled an intense lifelong passion for sport. Although she enjoyed the competition aspect of the Games, she says her experience taught her the value of hard work and dedication. Kia says she believes the Games’ legacy lies within each participant, as they continue to build on the
|Self-proclaimed “Games junkie” Mark Bracken says his first contact with the Saskatchewan Games as Zone 5 Sports Coordinator out of Humboldt in 1987 had a significant impact on his 35-year career in sport. As Sports Coordinator he helped prepare the Zone 5 team for the 1988 Summer Games, 1990 Winter Games and the 1992 Summer Games. Afterwards, he continued working with Sask Sport from 1998-2014, but returned to work directly with the Games in 2014 when he took on the role of Executive Director for the Saskatchewan Games|
Council. He has also attended 10 Canada Games and five Western Canada Games with Team Sask - many as Chef de Mission. Mark says he fell in love with multi-sport games over the years because they have a positive impact on young Saskatchewan athletes and host communities. He describes the Sask Games legacy in two equal parts as: the life-long memories that young athletes will cherish from their participation and the facilities left behind in host communities for years to come - all which “inspire dreams, build champions, and enhance communities.”
Ross Lynd’s dedication to the Saskatchewan Games began in 1974 when he and a group of university classmates volunteered for the winter games in North Battleford. Little did he know, his involvement with the Games would only ramp up from there. His position with the Province of Saskatchewan in the Department of Culture and Recreation as Regional Recreation Consultant brought him back to the Games in 1984, then as Host Consultant for the ‘88, ‘92 and ‘98 Games, and finally Provincial Consultant for the 2004 and 2006 Games. Ross continued working in the
|Brittany Staines (nee Baron) created an iconic moment on the podium when she pretended to bite into her team gold medal for artistic gymnastics at the 1994 Winter Games in Kindersley, landing herself on the front page of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix newspaper the following day. Her Games participation did not end there - she competed in volleyball at the 1998 Winter Games, joined the office staff for the 2000 Summer Games and then volunteered at the 2004 Summer Games.|
She went on to make her biggest mark in sport as a volleyball referee, becoming Canada’s youngest National referee at the time in 2005. Brittany went on to referee at the Canada Summer Games, Western Canada Summer Games and North American Indigenous Games. She says the Saskatchewan Games left her with a strong sense of community and life-long involvement in sport. For Brittany, the Games’ legacy lies in the host communities' facilities because they present more opportunities for local athletes who crave a higher level of competition.
Nicole Cripps competed in triathlon at the 2008 Saskatchewan Summer Games in Lloydminster. She says she was elated to participate at the Games because they promote an environment that celebrates and encourages athletes to be the best in their sport. According to Nicole, the legacy of the Games is to focus on fun through sport, allowing young athletes to compete for themselves and not be pressured to win or feel discouraged if the competition doesn't go as planned. She says this perceived legacy taught her to not be discouraged by failure
|In 1977, Bob King curiously attended a Saskatchewan Games meeting in Stoughton, not knowing much about the multi-sport event; however, it didn't take long for him to get involved. He coached Women’s Basketball at the 1978 Games in Moose Jaw and eventually became chairperson for the Zone 1 Sports Council - a position he held for nearly 20 years. According to Bob, he has attended about 18 Games, mainly as mission|
staff but also once as a VIP and host committee member. He says he quickly grew to enjoy the events, especially the friendship among competitors and volunteers. Bob says he still marvels at the hard work put forward by host committees and volunteers. He is very proud of the Games’ legacy found in the incredible facilities built in host communities. He still looks forward to helping out with Team Southeast (and the Games in general) and says he will always cherish the friendships and memories he gained through his experience.
Keith Rogers was the first-ever Chairperson for the Saskatchewan Games Sport Committee at the 1974 Games in North Battleford. Before the ‘74 Games began, Keith had firm conviction that skilled coaching was essential to the success of young athletes, which stemmed from his experience as a School Physical Education Teacher. With that in mind, he applied for and received a $5000 grant, which was used to put on a clinic for all the Saskatchewan Games’ coaches, led by National
|As Chantelle Patrick reflects on her Saskatchewan Games experience, she says her involvement with the event has led to personal growth and development in many areas. Her first experience with the Saskatchewan Games was when she competed in the 1996 Summer Games for softball. Chantelle switched up her role in 2004 when she managed the Games in Weyburn, went on to be part of the Zone 1 Mission Staff at the 2009|
Games and then became a Saskatchewan Games Council Board Member from 2013-2017. She held the title of Chairperson on the Games Council from 2018-2021 and is now currently a Winter Games Host Committee Member in the Venues Division. Chantelle says although each Games experience is unique, they also share common learnings through a legacy of leadership, teamwork, and the ability to develop the broader sports community through its athletes, coaches, volunteers, and facilities alike. Today, she enjoys coaching her daughter’s softball team and plans to continue contributing to the community and sport through her children’s’ activities.
Colleen Sostorics first competed at the 1996 Saskatchewan Summer Games for Athletics, and says the experience gave her a whole new perspective on multi-sport events as it allowed her the incredible opportunity to compete as an individual athlete. Colleen went on to win bronze with Team Saskatchewan for Hockey at the 1997 National Championships and played extensively for Canada at the international level - including three Olympic gold medals in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Additionally, Colleen helped Canada to three gold and three silver medals
|Looking back on his multi-games experience, Larry Sauer says he was extremely pleased to take on the role of Games Manager for the 2008 Saskatchewan Summer Games in Lloydminster. In 2010, he joined the Saskatchewan Games Council as a Board Member and moved on to be Chairman for the last three years of his time on the Board. Larry says he values his experience as Games manager because it gave him a great sense of pride in his community as well as in the volunteers who contributed to making the event a great success. He believes the Games|
provide a legacy through new or upgraded facilities which continue to be enjoyed by athletes, coaches, and fans in host communities. Additionally, he says its legacy is carried on through past volunteers who were inspired to take on leadership roles to further the development of youth in their communities. After the Games, Larry continued to volunteer as a coach, and worked as an organizer to promote sport in his community. He was also on the organizing committee for the 2020 Saskatchewan Games - to be held in Lloydminster - but were canceled due to pandemic restrictions.
Michael Suchan’s longstanding involvement with the Saskatchewan Games allowed him to embrace sport as an athlete, parent, coach, fan, volunteer and organizer. His experience began at the 1974 Winter Games where he competed in singles Bowling. He went on to help coordinate the 1976 Summer Games as a summer student, and also competed in the Baseball event. In 2000 he returned to coach the Zone 5 male soccer team, where he proudly watched his son, who played on the team, carry the Zone 5 flag forthe opening ceremonies.
|Kerry Dankers was a nine-year-old fan at the 1990 Saskatchewan Winter Games in Melville, but she says the experience serendipitously inspired her to hang up her figure skates for speed skates, ultimately leading her to compete at the Olympics. Kerry’s journey began after the Games, when the legacy facilities prompted the launch of Melville’s speed skating club. Kerry found herself at the club’s “Bring a Friend” event and says the experience sparked her intense passion for the sport from that day forward. Just four years later she proudly competed in the sport at the 1994 Winter Games in Kindersley for Zone 4. Fast forward to 1996, she switched it up and competed at the Summer Games for basketball. The next step for Kerry’s speed skating career was competing at the Canada Games|
in 1999 and 2003, and finally culminating at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. Kerry says when she walked into the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, she instantly thought back to her Saskatchewan and Canada Games experiences and how they prepared her to compete at the Olympic level. Looking back on her involvement with the Saskatchewan Games, she defines its legacy as the ability they have to inspire spectators to get involved with sport and feel a renewed passion for sport in the community.
Eston’s former Mayor Al Heron was involved with the Saskatchewan Games right from the start. He provided expertise in the results area in 1972 and 1974 and then went on to become the Government liaison to the host committees from 1976 to 1988. As a recreation consultant with the Department of Culture and Recreation, he says one of his career highlights was helping to certify the sport of canoe and kayak at the
|Byron McCorkell says he was simply a "spark plug" when it came to helping host communities achieve success at the Saskatchewan Games - the real triumph emerged from teamwork. Byron’s first contact with the multi-sport event was with the 1990 Saskatchewan Winter Games in Melville as Zone 4 Coordinator and Chef de Mission. He went on to become Parks, Recreation and Culture Director with the Town of Kindersley where he helped to win the bid for the 1994 Winter Games. In 1991, he relocated and took the same position with the City of Yorkton.|
He was the city’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Director for 10 years and helped the community stronghold the bid for the highly anticipated 2000 Saskatchewan Summer Games. He says the Games helped him to “fall into a groove” where he found a passion for helping to create meaningful events and memories for the communities he serves. Describing the Games legacy, he says it lies in host communities with the incredible volunteers and event facilities. Byron has since transplanted to Kamloops, British Columbia where he continues to foster host-city opportunities in his role as Community and Protective Services Director at the City of Kamloops.
Norbert Thurmeier Chaired the Saskatchewan Games Council from 1990-1996, and says his experience was incredible because of the wonderful and talented people he worked with. He says each Saskatchewan Games was unique in their own way, but collectively they taught him discipline and allowed him the invaluable opportunity to watch athletes grow and excel in their sport. His passion volunteering
|When 11-year-old Jason Parker decided to volunteer at the 1986 Saskatchewan Winter Games in Yorkton he had no idea the experience would change his life and one day he would become a world-class speed skater and Olympic silver medalist. It all started in Yorkton when the|
1986 Games prompted the local community to establish a speed skating club. This move inspired Jason to hang up his hockey skates and try his hand at something new. “Because of the ‘86 Games in Yorkton, if they would have never formed a speed skating club, I would have never started speed skating. I ended up having a 20-year career and it has formed my entire life,” Jason said. He trained meticulously,
competing on the National team for 12 years and over time gathered 99 top 20 results at 75 international competitions - including 65 World Cups and 10 World Championships. Further, In 2006 he competed triumphantly at the Olympics in Turin, Italy and took home the silver medal in Mens’ Team Pursuit. Although Jason never competed at the Saskatchewan Games, he explains - based on his first-hand experience - that the Games' legacy lies in the way they inspire people to get involved with sport and train to their highest potential.
John Livingston’s involvement with the Saskatchewan Games began in 1972 at the Saskatchewan Summer Games in Moose Jaw where he was local chairperson for the Track and Field Competition. In 1976,
|Six-time Paralympic gold medalist Lisa Franks’ first exposure to a highly competitive multi-sport event was at the 1994 Saskatchewan Winter Games in Kindersley where she competed in downhill ski racing. Two years later, at the age of 14 her legs became paralyzed due to the sudden onslaught of a vascular condition. However, Lisa was determined to stay active and says sport is what helped her through that adjustment. She went on to compete in wheelchair racing and wheelchair basketball, attending three Canada Games and three Paralympic Games. In the|
2000 Summer Paralympics she won gold medals in wheelchair racing for the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m and a silver medal in the 100m. Then, in 2004 she defended her 200m and 400m titles. Lisa is a strong advocate for outdoor recreational sport and hopes to "make things more accessible for all." In 2019, she launched the Saskatchewan Adaptive
Mountain Bike Club, which offers bike rentals and tours, and most importantly is working to help remove the costly financial barrier of purchasing an adaptive bike for cyclists with varying levels of disabilities. She still holds fond memories of her experience with the Saskatchewan Games and believes its legacy is carried forward in the way they instill passion for sport into athletes at a young age.