Wetaskiwin Hall of Fame Inductee
BILL BELL-BATHGATE - BUILDER
In 1952 the Wetaskiwin City Council set up the Wetaskiwin Recreation Commission. After three different Recreation Directors, Bill Bell-Bathgate was hired in 1956. He was 32 years old and held the position for twelve years, resigning in 1968. Although he had no formal training he had been involved in sports in Wetaskiwin (coached hockey, refereed hockey, started a football team), knew there was a lot of sport talent in the city and had the leadership qualities necessary for the job.
When Bill became the Recreation Director, the Kinsmen outdoor swimming pool had just opened, the city had approved money for improving the Recreation Hall and the Recreation Commission was in it’s fourth year of existence. Under Bill’s leadership the Recreation Commission took over minor hockey, minor baseball, swimming, tennis (1958), ski club (1959), and introduced many new programs including soccer in 1957 and fitness classes in 1959. Also, Bill set up and chaired a Pony League, baseball for younger kids. Minor hockey and minor baseball before that time were looked after by local business men and Bill wanted to have all recreational activities “under one roof”. Fifty different groups used the old Rec Hall, First Aid as well as many other courses were offered and Bill himself was involved with the Cubs.
Trained leadership from top to bottom was important to Bill. During Bill’s tenure he always made sure he and his staff were qualified, well trained and continued to upgrade. Lessons were really important to Bill. The first year he was the Recreation Director the pool offered FREE lessons for adult beginners. When the ski hill opened, on the week-ends in the middle of the afternoon the tow was stopped and everyone on the hill had ski lessons. Bill also organized tennis lessons, saw that the golf club offered lessons to kids and organized a baseball school. School classes were brought to the swimming pool and the swimming pool staff gave lessons.
Even though being the Recreation Director was his job, Bill went above and beyond the “Call of Duty”. He was well respected, well liked, set a fine example for youth and was always professional in his position of leadership. Bill was very important as one of the “pioneers” of organized sport and recreation in Wetaskiwin. It is because of his leadership, organizational skills and dedication that Wetaskiwin has the facilities and programs of today. He set the standard.
The Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner will take place on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at the Best Western Wayside Inn Banquet Room in Wetaskiwin. Banquet tickets are available for purchase at the Wetaskiwin Credit Union. The deadline for purchasing tickets will be March 15, 2013. For further information about the Wetaskiwin and County Sports Hall of Fame, check out www.wetaskiwinsportsfame.com.
- Beaumont Rugby Teams go to Provincials This year both the Beaumont Girls and Boys Rugby teams advanced to the Alberta Schools Athletic Association’s (ASAA) Provincial Championships held in Lethbridge on June 7th and 8th. Both Bandits teams earned the right ...