The first season of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame Podcast concludes with Winnipeg Blue Bombers legend, James Murphy!
Before playing in the CFL, Murphy had an incredible career at Utah State which led to him being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 1981. After being cut by the Vikings, Murphy joined the Kansas City Chiefs for the ’81 season where he played kick returner. Despite a solid season, the Chiefs didn’t bring Murphy back for the 1982 campaign. Murphy, who was on the Bombers’ radar for several years, signed with the team prior to the ’83 season.
In his eight seasons with the Blue and Gold, Murphy had 573 receptions for 9036 yards and 61 touchdowns. He is a three-time Grey Cup champion, helping the Bombers win the league title in 1984, 1988 and 1990. In the ’88 Grey Cup, Murphy was named the Most Valuable Offensive Player. However, the best season of Murphy’s career came in 1986 when he was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player as he hauled in 116 passes for 1746 yards and 12 touchdowns.
On this episode, we talked about growing up in DeLand, Florida idolizing the Miami Dolphins, why he went to Utah State, his time in the NFL with the Vikings and Chiefs, how he ended up in the CFL with the Bombers, expecting to see igloos on his first trip up to Winnipeg, winning the Grey Cup, winning the ’86 Most Outstanding Player Award, why he retired and remained in Winnipeg after hanging up the cleats, comparing his career to Milt Stegall, and much more!
Episode 12 features the greatest baseball player to ever come out of Manitoba, Corey Koskie!
Koskie, who grew up just outside of Anola, is the first Manitoban-born and raised player to play in the MLB. In 1998, he made his big league debut with the Minnesota Twins. He went on to play the next seven seasons in Minnesota — highlighted by an incredible 2001 campaign where he hit 26 homers and drove in 103 runs.
His childhood dream came true in 2005 when he got to play for the Toronto Blues Jays. He played one season in Toronto before being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. In Milwaukee, Koskie suffered a concussion in July of 2006 that costed him his season and the rest of his career.
He played 989 games in the MLB and was a career .275 hitter. He is considered one of the greatest Canadians to play the game, and was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015. Two years earlier, he was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
On this episode, we talked about his improbable journey from Anola to the major leagues, why he had to spend $100 before his first career MLB game, pranking David Ortiz, his favourite memory of Roy Halladay, why his time with the Blue Jays was disappointing, playing at the World Baseball Classic for Team Canada, the concussion that ended his career, having a field named after him in Winnipeg, and much more!
Read our story on Corey Koskie in the Winnipeg Free Press
Episode 11 features two Olympians, Sandy (Newsham) Maskiw and Heather (Newsham) Ruby!
The sisters from Charleswood put on a dominating performance at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in softball. They were two out of three pitchers on Team Canada. Sandy pitched 30 innings and picked up the team’s lone win of the tournament and Heather allowed only three runs in four games. They are also the only sisters to be inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame as individuals.
On this episode, we talked about how they got into softball, finding out they made the Olympic team, their favourite Olympic memories, which member of the Team USA men’s baseball roster complimented their game, meeting Venus and Serena Williams, playing at the Olympics with a sister, and much more!
Read our story on the Newsham sisters in the Winnipeg Free Press
Episode 10 features one of the most accomplished soccer players in Manitoba history, Tony Nocita!
Nocita spent eight years as a member of the Canadian men’s national soccer team, but the highlight of his soccer career was playing professional soccer in his hometown of Winnipeg. In the final season of the Canadian Soccer League in 1992, Nocita and the Winnipeg Fury defeated the defending four-time champion Vancouver 86ers for the league title — the Mita Cup. Nocita also represented Canada at the 1989 FIFA Futsal World Cup.
On this episode, we discussed playing professional soccer in Winnipeg, the challenges of playing for your hometown, the early struggles of the Winnipeg Fury, dethroning the mighty Vancouver 86ers for the Mita Cup, his favourite memories playing for the national team, playing at the first ever FIFA Futsal World Cup, coaching soccer, the state of Canadian soccer, and much more!
Read our story on Tony Nocita in the Winnipeg Free Press
Episode 9 features two members of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, Doreen and Dr. Cal Botterill!
Doreen was inducted for her incredible speed skating career. She made her Winter Olympics debut at the age of 16, as she represented Canada at the 1964 Games in Innsbruck, Austria. She also competed at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. When Doreen retired from the sport in 1969, she held 31 Canadian records.
Dr. Cal was inducted for his world-renowned work as a sport psychologist. Cal has worked with elite athletes at 10 Olympic Games, with five NHL teams (including the 1994 Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers) and countless athletes at the national, university and provincial levels in everything from hockey to curling to basketball.
Doreen and Cal are also the parents of Jennifer and Jason Botterill. Jennifer is a 3x gold medalist in women’s hockey and Jason is a three-time gold medalist at the World Junior Hockey Championships. He is now the general manager of the Buffalo Sabres.
On this episode, we talked about how Cal and Doreen met, how sport psychology has evolved over the years, Doreen’s Olympic debut, the role of a sport psychologist, the dominance of Manitoban women in speed skating, working with Mike Keenan and Jack Donohue, the careers of Jason and Jennifer and much more!
Read our story on the Botterill family in the Winnipeg Free Press
Episode 8 features one of the greatest Olympians of all-time, Cindy Klassen!
After getting cut from the Canadian women’s national hockey team prior to the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, Klassen gave speedskating a try.
It ended up being a smart move, as Klassen would make her Olympic debut several years later at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City where she captured a bronze medal in the 3000m. That was only a taste of what was about to come in Klassen’s career.
Four years later in Turin, Klassen was the star of the Olympics. She won a Canadian record of five medals at the Games, including a gold medal in the 1500 m. Her grand total of six medals put her in a tie with fellow Winnipegger Clara Hughes for the most medals by a Canadian athlete. Her incredible performance at the 2006 Games led to her being named the recipient of the Lou Marsh Award — Canada’s Athlete of the Year.
Klassen was also able to capture 17 World Championship medals (including three gold medals) during her illustrious career before she retired in 2015. In 2017, she was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
On this episode, we talk about not making the Olympic hockey team, her initial feelings towards speedskating, her Olympic debut in 2002, the incredible five-medal performance in 2006, how she celebrated after the 2006 Games, fighting through injuries to qualify for the 2010 Games in Vancouver, winning the Lou Marsh Award over NBA MVP Steve Nash, having a recreation centre in Winnipeg being named after her and much more!
Read our story on Cindy Klassen in the Winnipeg Free Press
Episode 7 features two Olympians, Wanda Guenette and Michelle Sawatzky-Koop!
After winning a national championship in women’s volleyball at the University of Winnipeg in 1983, Guenette, a Winnipeg native, took a six-year hiatus from the game before playing professional in Europe. Once she got back into the swing of things, she earned her spot on the Canadian national team that qualified for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, GA.
Sawatzky-Koop had an incredible career at the University of Manitoba, where she helped the Bisons win national championships in 1990 and 1991. She was also named the CIS Player of the Year in the 90-91 and 91-92 seasons. The Steinbach native earned her spot on the Canadian national team prior to the ’96 Olympics.
Guenette, who was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2014, and Sawatzky-Koop, the emcee at the annual Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony, were key contributors to Canada’s lone win at the Olympics. They defeated Peru in a five set thriller, which was the first time the Canadian women had ever won a game at the Olympics.
On this episode, we talked about Manitoba’s dominance in women’s volleyball in the 80s and 90s, their favourite university memories, the Wesmen-Bisons rivalry, winning bronze at the 1995 Pan Am Games, qualifying for the Olympics in Winnipeg, their favourite Olympics memories and much more!
Read our story on Wanda Guenette and Michelle Sawatzky-Koop in the Winnipeg Free Press