A half-million-dollar donation yesterday brought both financial comfort, and a name change for the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame.
The family of the late Edward 'Ted' Knight donated $500,000 to the Hall of Fame.
"My father grew up with humble beginnings, and one thing that he really enjoyed doing as a child was playing hockey," said Ted's son Kyle. "He always spoke highly of his time in organized sports, most notably hockey. As he went on in business, hockey was always very special to him, so that's the reason we chose this in his honour."
The hall has been renamed the 'Ted Knight Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame' in the process.
"Ted's dream was to make hockey important in Saskatchewan, and I think he's done it with this," said Hall of Fame Co-Chair, Blair Davidson. "This is going to remember the players, the individuals, the builders, the grassroots people that have contributed to the game of hockey in Saskatchewan. That's what we're about, and I think that's what the Knight family is about as well."
Background, courtesy of the Hall of Fame:
Knight was born in Selkirk, Manitoba, in 1939. As a member of the Winnipeg Braves, he won the Memorial Cup in 1958. Ted and his teammates were inducted in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
Knight joined Bill Hicke, Morley Gusway, Jack Nichol, and Huddy Bell in purchasing the Regina Pats in 1986. Knight remained a co-owner for 10 years.
Ted, along with his sons Kevin and Kyle, built the Knight Automotive Group into a network of 11 locations representing 10 brands throughout Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba. Ted Knight was named chairman of the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association in 1996.
The donation fills half of the projected million-dollar total needed for the Hall to both pay off outstanding capital costs, as well as to create a capital fund for future years.
"We started this campaign actually a year-and-a-half ago, it was called the 'Legends Live Here' campaign," said Davidson. "The intent was to raise about $800,000 to $1-million. The Hall actually operates on the dinner we have every year. That's our capital fund, plus the money that we actually get from SHA, which is a little bit of money, so we needed the cash in our pockets."
With any leftover funds from eventual final total from the campaign, the Hall says they have a couple ideas on what they hope to be able to allocate those to.
We have some plans, we'd like to do some mobile displays that we can take around the province, that type of thing - if we can get that done with these funds, that would be great," said Davidson, noting some in-house ideas were also on the agenda.
"We can't actually make the place bigger, but there's things that we can do within the building , such as improving some of these areas, and putting more displays up."
The Knight family's donation has helped boost the Hall of Fame in the right direction, as they say they've eclipsed that minimum goal of $800,000.
"We're all quite satisfied with what we've accomplished so far. Got a little bit more work to do, but we feel we're going to get there," said fellow Co-Chair Jack Brodsky.
It was also somewhat of a special moment for Brodsky, whose family was announced as part of the 2019 Hall of Fame Class, to be inducted this summer.
Jack, and the Brodsky family, were majority owners of the Saskatoon Blades from 1976-80, then sole owners from 1980-2013.
"It's pretty special and pretty humbling for our family to be inducted," Brodsky said, on getting to be inducted in the first year under the 'Ted Knight' name.
"I knew Ted myself, I was governor and president of the Saskatoon Blades through some of the years that he was that for the Regina Pats. With that relationship being in place, it's certainly is a little more special to us for sure."
The 2019 Ted Knight Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame induction dinner runs July 6 in Saskatoon.