SSHoF logoBill Hunter

Builder (1998)

Hockey Promoter

Bill HunterBill's promotional skills are widely known in Canadian sports and he has contributed significantly to football, hockey, softball and curling and was just a step away from bringing a National Hockey League franchise to Saskatoon.

Bill was interested in sports from an early age, as a runner who specialized in the half-mile and mile at Nutana Collegiate.

He played for Nutana Blues in football and during his grade 12 season; he became the student coach of the team, which won the Saskatchewan championship. He was founder of a junior team, named the Dukes, and then transferred the gold-and-blue sweaters to the Hilltops.

Bill broke into senior hockey, managing the Regina Caps, before he and Nick Metz took over the Saskatoon Quakers in the Western Canada Hockey League. He built the Quakers into a contending team, through some shrewd player acquisitions, and helped finance the team by staging the first two car bonspiels ever held on artificial ice.

He was a founder of the Western Canada Junior Hockey League and was manager of the Edmonton Oil Kings, who won the Memorial Cup in 1965-66.

A graduate of Notre Dame College, Bill worked diligently for Notre Dame College.

Bill went into the investment business, and then returned to hockey as owner and general manager of the Edmonton Oilers and a founder of the World hockey Association. He was also manager of Team Canada for its famous series against the Soviet Union in 1974.

One of his long-lasting friendships was with Gordie Howe, who after retiring from the NHL, was attracted to the WHA and played for Team Canada.

As president and chief executive officer, Bill led a group which bought the St. Louis Blues from Ralston Purina in 1983, conditional on approval from the NHL governors, but Saskatoon's bid fell short when the governors denied the transfer of the franchise.

Bill was chosen as guest speaker when the Saskatchewan Amateur Hockey Association celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1987.

Bill travelled to Tokyo, Japan, with Don Funk to nail down the bid to bring the International Softball Federation championships to Saskatoon in 1988.

Inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame and Notre Dame Hall of Fame, Bill's name is also attached to a Western Hockey League award for most outstanding defenceman.

Bill remains active in sports today, promoting the third annual world-renown Husky bonspiel. Bill and his wife, Vi, lived in Edmonton until Bill's death in 2002.

** Deceased