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Manitoba’s Sporting Life

Published: 11/19/2012

Inside a glass case, lay a pair of battered and torn leather boxing gloves with the stuffing literally knocked out of them.

Nearby sits the World Hockey Association's Avco Cup, a mirror-shiny, four-foot-high silver trophy rivalling the NHL's Stanley Cup in stature and presence.

Above hangs Winnipeg native Clara Hughes's circa 1996 Shimano time trial bike, a silver-grey bullet that she powered to Olympic gold-medal glory.

And that's just for starters.

The new Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in Winnipeg is home to 18,000 artifacts from 72 different sports. The vast and impressive collection depicts the province's sporting history for the past century.

Carefully curated displays also shine a light on local athletes, past and present, who have made their mark nationally and internationally. (Think speed skater extraordinaire Susan Auch, original Winnipeg Jet Teemu Selanne and eight-time PGA winner George Knudsen, among other fan favourites.)

The collection includes: 60-plus-year-old game-day hockey and football jerseys; Olympic medals won by local athletes over the past century;  game-tattered and split pig skins; and the original bum-numbing blue seats from the Winnipeg Arena, among many other pieces of equipment, newspaper clippings, black and white photographs, videos and memorabilia.

The collection is evocative and almost tactile, even though the majority of the pieces are behind glass. Battered wooden hockey sticks cracked along the grain, fading signatures on felt football team pendants and rusting clap skates tell tales of game-and-race-day glory, crushing defeat and the passionate athletes who skated, ran, rowed, tackled and sweat their way into history.

Only about 10 per cent of the 18,000 artifacts are on display inside the new space, which opened in October 2012. The rest of the collection has been catalogued and is housed inside the Exchange District office building, which is also home to Sport Manitoba.

While sports nuts definitely get their fix inside the hall of fame, history lovers also get an engaging look at the province and its people through the lens of professional, amateur and community sports.

The collection continues to evolve and grow as more pieces are donated or loaned to the facility. The new Winnipeg Jets NHL team, which was resurrected in 2011, have loaned the first-period, first-goal puck to the facility.

Take a tour of Manitoba's sporting history at the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. For information clickhere.

Suggested Tweet: Manitoba's hockey heroes, cycling wunderkinds and best boxing bruisers get their due at Hall of Fame. @TravelMBMedia http://media.travelmanitoba.com/2012/11/manitobas-sporting-life/


Visitors scour over memorabilia and medals donated by Olympic speed skater and Manitoba native Susan Auch inside the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. Photo by Dave McKnight.

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