Keeping with the No. 50 theme – Your McMurray Magazine’s Top 50 Under 50 – we head back 50 years to look at the 1972 local sports scene.
With their performance at the Alberta Native Provincial Boxing Championships, the Fort McMurray Clearwater Boxing Club grabbed headlines with Robert Cardinal, Danny Lindstrom, Robert Powder and Riel Webb punching their way to gold medals.
Lindstrom would go on to become one of the greatest pugilists in the history of Canadian amateur and professional boxing.
The highlight of Lindstrom’s career came December 15, 1990 at Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena headlining the “Rumble under the Dome” against World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion Michael Moorer.
Lindstrom would be sent to the showers after an eighth round TKO due to cuts.
Also on the world stage was Riel Webb.
Webb is still active in local sports as he tries to break 100 down at Miskanaw Golf Course.
From the square ring we go to the diamonds with the Fort McMurray Mannix Cats winning the 1972 Alberta Senior “B” Men’s Fastball Championships edging out the Calgary Tape Deck 2-0 and 4-2.
Winning pitcher Earl Kronlund, who was a three- time local All Star, is inducted into the Alberta Softball Hall of Fame in 2015.
From the Boys of Summer we go to the Girls of Summer as Fort McMurray’s Carlin Enterprises captures the Western Canada Girls Softball Championships.
Leaving summer for winter sports, Katie Sanderson, for the sixth consecutive year-in-a-row, captured Queen of the North at the annual Fort McMurray Winter Carnival held down on the Snye.
King of the North bragging rights belong to Ray Laboucan.
For the third year- in- a- row, the Wes Hobbs rink with Dave Gatzke, Chuck Fraser and Dick Dohnt, sweep their way to first at the Fellowship Trophy at the Kinsmen Zone 2 Bonspiel held in Athabasca.
Dave Ashley assists with the formation of the Fort McMurray Table Tennis Club. Ashley would go on to win several provincial titles in the sport.
Making a big splash on the sport scene is the establishment of the Fort McMurray Swim Club. One could fill several YMM pages with their accomplishments to date.
1972 also marks the last hosting of the Fort Chipewyan to Fort McMurray Sled Dog race.
Sled dogs have a rich sporting history in the region. Below are some of the highlights prior to 1972.
Catch you on the rebound!
- 1903: K. Gordon makes a sled dog trip to Edmonton with some of his furs including martin, fox, mink and lynx with an estimated sale value of $5,000.
- 1909: Using horses and sled dog teams, Robert Dewar and James Donovan do a roundtrip to Fort McMurray from Edmonton in 12 days during a cold December.1921: Famed Japanese adventurer Jugrio Wada passes through Fort McMurray with his sled dog team. Out of 364 hours from Fort McMurray to Fort Norman, sled dog musher Wada spent 294 hours in actual travel. On the return trip of 379 hours he was 265 hours on the trail. A new record.
- 1926: Brother Louis Crenn’s sled dog team runs 12 miles in 48 minutes at a Fort Chipewyan race.
- 1935: Tony Neis sled dog team from Edmonton covers 190 miles in 2 1/2 days between Fort Chipewyan and Fort McMurray to set new record.
- 1967: Willie Whiteknife of Fort Chipewyan wins the Fort Chipewyan to Fort McMurray sled dog race in 25 hours 10 minutes for a $350 first prize. He will repeat in 1968.
- 1968: Northern Professional Sled Dog Racing Association is formed.
- 1969: Larry Martin wins the Fort Chipewyan to Fort McMurray sled dog race in a time of 17 hours 51 minutes and 45 seconds with the $1,000 purse
About the author
Curtis J. Phillips
Honoured with the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Medal in 2022, Phillips has been a Founding Father of various sports events and organizations, including the high school Challenge Cup (1984) and Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame (2000). He has been inducted into three Sports Halls of Fame to date and was the inaugural recipient of two national tributes recognizing community involvement.