Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame Strategic Plan Focuses on Growth

The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame is a bastion of our province’s rich sports history and the Hall’s  progressive Board of Directors are working hard to move this cultural institution into a “must see” destination in Regina. Most recently a strategy has been developed and approved by the Board of Directors. This process was led by Trent Fraser who serves as Vice-President of the Hall. The Fraser Strategy process is founded in quantitative and qualitative research conducted by Trent through facilitations and interviews as well as scientific research that was outsourced by the Hall of Fame.   This is the very same process that underpins all strategy work done by Fraser Strategy and is the key to setting up companies and organizations (like the Hall) for success in the future.

The in-person facilitation process was a gathering of key volunteers, staff and some of the great inductees of the Hall. People like the great George Reed took the time to be part of the process as his experience with the Hall dates back to the 60’s when he was playing football for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and working with Molson Breweries (where the Hall was originally housed). The facilitations were attended by such great people as legendary sports broadcaster Mel Isaac, who served on the Board of Directors many years ago, and Ted Jaleta, the motivational long-distance runner who was inducted into the Hall in 2005. These people sat side by side with many who have served as volunteers at the Hall for years and it made for some interesting and lively discussions. Together all of these community-minded people volunteered their time on a common goal – to see the Hall of Fame progress beyond its current state. This is exactly the intention of the strategic plan.

The real advantage for the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame is that the staff has completely immersed themselves in the process and they are the driving force behind the implementation of the strategy and its tactical plan. The Hall has already hired a firm to create a new, dynamic and fully optimized website that will feature social media connectivity and exciting online lesson plans for elementary school curriculum throughout the province. The aesthetics of the Hall have also changed as the staff is already on its second new exhibit to the main gallery since the strategy sessions. Presently the sport of hockey in Saskatchewan is featured with new displays and artifacts that are sure to interest any avid sports fan.

STRATEGY is; A style of thinking, a conscious and deliberate process, an intensive implementation system, the science of insuring FUTURE SUCCESS.

Pete Johnson, Author

It should be noted that the implementation component of this process is key to ensuring its success. Keep your eye on this great Saskatchewan cultural institution – and be sure to check out their most recent newsletter – For the Record.


Gord Gets It – A Tourism Leader in Saskatchewan – Sturgeon River Ranch

Picture yourself in the saddle, riding a well-trained and calm horse into the boreal forest of a National Park – the Prince Albert National Park. This is where the Hudson’s Bay Fur Trading Company had a post in the 1880’s. This is a park that was established in 1928 that covers off almost 1500 square miles. This is where the famous naturalist Grey Owl lived out his life. Now, picture you’re riding a horse into this very same park and you’re looking for wild bison. Yup – you heard right – you’re looking to get a glimpse of Canada’s only free ranging wild Plains bison still within their historic range. AND these animals are big AND they can be sometimes a little dangerous, but you’re going to be all right because you have a guide – a gent that is a 3rd generation rancher, an environmentalist, a guide that knows the area and knows the ecosystem. Christ, this is a guy who has been Mantracker’s sidekick  on the Outdoor Life Network – twice! See the video below if you’ve got an extra 45 minutes!

Gord Vaadeland – Friend of the Wild Bison

Gord - Sturgeon River Ranch

I met Gord Vaadeland at a Tourism Saskatchewan marketing meeting held in the Prince Albert National Park several years ago and right out of the chute (note ranching reference) I knew I had just met a smart rancher – one that understood his tourism business and where it fit in the provincial picture.  Over the past few years Gord and I have spoke often at tourism meetings for the Prince Albert National Park and Big River and we’ve come to know each other well. We learned that we have many things in common – Gord is a Norwegian descendant and so am I (my Mother’s maiden name is Gandrud); Gord grew up with horses and so did I (albeit we were a heavy horse family); Gord can play bluegrass music and I am able to listen to it. Yes, we were indeed kindred spirits. One from the bush – one from the flatland – but both looking to help the tourism industry in our home province.

Since the first time we met I wanted to take the time to spend a day or two with Gord at his ranch and ride into the park form the West Side and look for the bison. Well that finally happened – just last month in October. My bohemian son Corbin (who writes for the award winning travel blog I Backpack Canada) was back home from Halifax visiting such great Saskatchewan destinations as the Big Muddy, Wanuskewin and Manitou Beach and he had planned a trip to the Big River area to see Gord. I tagged along and it was perhaps one of the best decisions I made in a long time.

Corb On Horse

Corbin in Prince Albert National Park

Gord took us on an adventure through the National Park that allowed us to see two wild bison herds. What a thrill! He certainly got us close – so close in fact that at one point Gord held our horses whilst Corbin and I trekked softly into the woods where we were barely 25 yards away from six of these magnificent animals. We did however flee the area quite quickly when they started to rustle. You see the bison tend not to walk around the trees – they opt instead to bowl them over, which makes a phenomenally loud sound when you are in a pristine forested area. Still – it was awesome! What a thrill! (Did I say that already?)

Sleeping in a Tipi

This ride confirmed my suspicions that there are great adventures awaiting us right here in Saskatchewan. We rode on what could be one of the most beautiful autumn days you can imagine; we had lunch in an area called the Long Meadow and that night we were treated to the culinary offerings of “One Pot Bill” and the good folks at Ness Creek. They even had a place for us to sleep – in a traditional dakota Tipi.

Gord gets tourism, and he is on top of how to share his genuine Saskatchewan adventure.  Gord is quickly becoming a social media gunslinger and can be found on his website at Sturgeon River Ranch or on Facebook . His Twitter handle is @GordVaadeland – check him and the Sturgeon River Ranch out – you’ll be glad you did.