Being inducted into Yorkton’s Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is just icing on the cake for Yorkton Terriers Director of Marketing and Public Relations Don Chesney, who earlier this year had won not only the Canalta Cup as Terriers General Manager, but the Western Canada Cup and Royal Bank Cup as well.
But as many will tell you, the icing on the cake is, quite often, the sweetest. “I call it living the dream for me to be in the game this many years and to win, last year, the ultimate goal of the Royal Bank Cup, which is like the Stanley Cup for Junior ‘A’ hockey,” said Chesney, adding, “And then for me, personally, to go into the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame, it’s like going into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“It just doesn’t get any better.”
Oh, but it does. Many people are inducted into the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame and Museum as either an athlete or a builder. Chesney, meanwhile, will be officially inducted on Saturday, September 27, as both a builder AND an athlete. Something that Chesney truly feels honoured to do. “When I was in the Hall the other day and you look around and see all the pictures and you see all of the people that are in there for different reasons, it’s humbling,” suggested the Terriers Director of Marketing and Public Relations. “I feel very honoured to be inducted and I’m looking forward to the 27th (of September) when I can be there with the rest of the inductees and a lot of my family and friends and a lot of people that have helped me throughout these years, because these 45 years weren’t all easy.”
Boy, isn’t that the truth. Chesney first began to play hockey at the age of 10 in Yorkton, before moving away from home at the age of 14 to play bantam in Melville. “I played for about four or five years of minor hockey here (in Yorkton),” mentioned Chesney, continuing, “then I went over to Melville and playing some bantam and midget, then I played my Junior ‘A’ with the Millionaires.”
Following his Junior ‘A’ career that saw him make the SJHL All-Star team, Chesney headed West to play semi-pro hockey in both Kimberley and Port Alberni, B.C.
The talented hockey player then returned to the Parkland area to wrap up his playing career with the Saltcoats Laketowners, a team that he’d get his start coaching with as well, leading into the next part of his incredible hockey career.
Once behind the bench, Chesney excelled, successfully coaching a handful of Junior ‘B’ and Junior ‘A’ teams such as the Canora Cobras, Fort Qu’Appelle Fort Knox and the St. Phillips Rangers in Junior ‘B’ and the Lebret Eagles, Melville Millionaires and Yorkton Terriers in Junior ‘A’. Chesney was also the assistant coach for the Regina Pats for a time, as well as a scout for the MJHL’s Waywayseecappo Wolverines.
Finally, his coaching days came to an end. But his involvement in hockey did not, as Chesney made his return to the Terriers in 2010 as the General Manager; a position he held until very recently when he was named Director of Marketing and Public Relations.
Quite the hockey journey for someone who grew up on a farm just south of Yorkton, but a journey he wouldn’t want to change for the world. “I left home when I was 14 to play bantam hockey,” reminisced Chesney. “46 years later I’m still in the business and it’s been a great and rewarding experience.
“I can’t wait for the 27th.”
On September 27, Chesney, as well as Mike Matich, Larry Popein, Bryce Jacobs, Blaine Knoll and the 2002-2003 Yorkton Harvest will all be officially inducted into the Yorkton Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.