Being honoured by any hall of fame is a special moment for anyone, but being inducted into your hometown hall of fame, that adds something extra.

The Moose Jaw and District Sports Hall of Fame added six new members on Friday night at Mosaic Place with the annual induction banquet.

“This is probably the biggest honour for me,” said long-time Saskatchewan Huskies head coach Brian Towriss, who was one of the six inductees.  “The Canadian Football Hall of Fame is the pinnacle of our career, but I didn’t know anyone there, tonight we’re going to have lots of family and friends here, old teammates, old coaches, so it’s really special.”

Another sold-out attended the third annual induction ceremony for the hall of fame, which become a highlight of the local sports community in Moose Jaw.

Towriss was joined in this year’s induction class by baseball player Ryan Anholt, baseball and hockey player Rod Heisler, lacrosse athlete and builder Steve Michaluk, builder Dr. Graeme McMaster and the 1995 Master Relics fastball team.

Towriss spent 33 years as the head coach of the Huskies, winning the Vanier Cup three times and appearing in the national championship game on nine occasions.

Even though he hasn’t live in Moose Jaw since he was 18, Towriss said his hometown was always a special place for him.

“I tried to get back to Moose Jaw whenever I could, we came down every fall and spring to recruit and we stayed very close,” he said.

Towriss coached 71 All-Canadians, had 160 players named to the Huskie and/or All-Canadian Academic teams and 47 players that went on to play in the CFL.

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Anholt, who now lives in Texas after wrapping up his award-winning collegiate and professional baseball career, said it was very special to be asked to come back and go into the hall of fame.

“It’s a great honour to be recognized with a lot of these other great athletes and builders that are here, quite humbling is probably the best word to describe it,” said Anholt, who remarked that he was surprised to be inducted into the hall before his father, long-time local baseball coach Roger Anholt.

“I’m the son of a guy who was a great coach in this city and quite honestly Roger should be in here before me, so it’s a little bit odd to be on this wall before he is.”

Anholt played at every level from little league in Moose Jaw all the way up to Division 1 in the NCAA, earning All-American honours with Northwestern State University, and at the international level for Team Canada.  He was also drafted by the New York Yankees in 1994 and Los Angeles Dodgers in 1996.

“When I look back, it was a fun time in my life,” said Anholt.

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Heisler is a two-sport legend in Moose Jaw, playing at NCAA Division 1 level in both hockey and baseball with Bemidji State University.  He would represent Canada at the 1984 Olympics in baseball and play six seasons of professional hockey in Germany.

Despite all the accomplishments on the playing field, Heisler said that coming back to Moose Jaw and starting his family is what he cherishes most.

“I went away and played ball and played hockey, but when I came home, it was home and I was able to have a family and make Moose Jaw my home, and that was the greatest thing that ever happened to me,” said the long-time teacher at Vanier Collegiate.

The story has been told many times over about Heisler striking out Mark McGwire in the Olympics.  He said it wasn’t in the Olympics, but he played against the future home-run king on a number of occasions leading into the Games.

“I pitched about three games to him and I used to get him out,” he said.  “I might be responsible for him having the career he had with the steroid thing because it might have been presented to him that if he couldn’t hit off me, he was never going to make it to the major leagues.”

Heisler is the first two-time member of the hall of fame after being inducted in the inaugural class with the 1985 Moose Jaw Generals.

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Moose Jaw was a hot bed for lacrosse in Saskatchewan long before the Rush ever set up shop in Saskatoon.  A big reason for that was the work done by Steve Michaluk and others at the grassroots level.

Michaluk said he’s pleased to see lacrosse get recognized in the Hall.

“I’m really happy that lacrosse is getting the recognition here in town and we’re on the board with some of the big players with the hockey players and the football guys,” said Michaluk.

Michaluk, who has been inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame as a player, played a big part in getting the sport started in Moose Jaw along with Barry Stewart.

He credited Jim Trites with really getting things started and helping to bring him to Moose Jaw.

“He was instrumental in me even coming to Moose Jaw, I was into lacrosse and he was working with the school division and told me to apply for a job here,” said Michaluk. “At the time, I didn’t think that I’d be staying in Moose Jaw for as long as I did, but here I am 21 years later and I’ve been involved with lacrosse every year since I’ve arrived.”

Michaluk helped lead the local lacrosse teams in numerous provincial and national titles over the years.

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Better known as “Doc”, Dr. Graeme McMaster has played an integral part in the local sports community for the past 40+ years.

He opened his Chiropractic and Sports Medicine Clinic in 1976, working with many athletes to treat injuries throughout the years.

As a coach, McMaster coached track and cross-county running with Moose Jaw high schools and the Rotary Track Club from 1994-2007 before moving onto the collegiate level with the University of Regina, where he helped the cross country team to a 2009 Canada West championship.

“When I reflect back, it’s like 41 years of highlights, you remember all the athletes and all the events, that’s the fun part of tonight is reflection,” said McMaster.

Many of the athletes that McMaster coached went on to win medals at the college level in Canada and the United States.

“We had a good roll, just like the wrestling team did for a number of years and Central football and Peacock football, it’s a combination of you have to have the talent and you have to have the support and I had tremendous support,” said McMaster.

“We had almost 100 provincial champions then went on to have CanWest champions and CIS champions and Canadian champions.”

McMaster still works with athletes here in the city, but he’s enjoying things slowing down now.

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The Moose Jaw Master Relics on Friday night before being inducted into the Moose Jaw and District Sports Hall of Fame at Mosaic Place. (Photo: Marc Smith)

Joining the athletes and builders in the induction class this year, the 1995 Moose Jaw Masters Relics fastball team was also enshrined in the hall.

The longevity of the Relics is their legacy as they played together for 19 years, picking up at least a first or second place finish at provincials in 16 of those years.

The 1995 squad finished second at Westerns.

“We were all just so grateful, we couldn’t believe that our team had been selected, it’s very nice,” said Denise Burns with the Relics.

All but two of the players on the team were able to make it back for the banquet over the weekend.  “This is really something for us,” Burns said.

The Relics played a key role in the development of the Moose Jaw Senior Ladies Fastball League and were instrumental in getting the Caribou Heights diamonds built.

“There was a lot of work that went into getting Caribou Heights,” said Burns.  “Things have changed since we started, we got the second diamond up there, so it’s a great legacy to have and we’re very proud of it.”