The University of Manitoba Bisons track & field team has a strong connection to the Interlake region of Manitoba.
Many track and field athletes, who are from the Interlake, are very familiar with the Bison Classic, which is the team’s home indoor meet.
Third-year Bison athlete Emily Blackner, who lives in St. Andrews, is no stranger to the annual event. She will be competing in women’s pole vault on Feb. 1.
The 22-year-old told The Selkirk Journal on Jan. 28 how the meet is a regarded as stepping stone for athletes, who will be competing at the CanWest Track & Field Championships and U Sports Track & Field Championships, which are two meets held later in the indoor season.
“It’s great practice for our team, especially on a home track,” she said. “Having a home crowd is always great.”
On Jan. 31, the Bisons track & field team will rename the annual meet to The Jim Daly Bisons Classic in honour of the late Daly, who died May 16, 2019. He was 92-years-old. The Jim Daly Bisons Classic will host athletes of all ages such as, Olympians, Paralympians, high school teams, Special Olympians, and elementary school children.
“I think it’s amazing. It’s always great to remember those who paved the way for us,” Blackner said. “I think it’s just a great way to honour.”
The Jim Daly Bisons Classic runs during the evening of Jan. 31 and throughout the day on Feb. 1.
Blackner, who tore her ACL back in December, will be competing in her first competition since sustaining the injury.
“I’ve been doing a little rehab and strengthening,” she added. “I am planning on finishing my season and then I’ll be getting surgery in March.”
Bison alumni such as Lindsay Pawlyk and Ryan Croy, who both grew up in Selkirk, Haley Fisher, who grew up in Arborg and Amber Schneider, who grew up in Stonewall, all competed at the Bison Classic while representing the herd.
Bison Sports are encouraging not only current athletes, but all alumni to attend the renaming ceremony at the James Daly Fieldhouse at the University of Manitoba Fort Garry Campus.
The renaming ceremony gets underway at 6 p.m. Bison Sports are inviting alumni to attend a meet and greet in the boardroom inside Investors Group Athletic Centre (room 238) at 5:30 p.m., which will include refreshments.
About James Daly
James (Jim) Daly will be fondly remembered as a remarkable coach, an outstanding builder and fundraiser, and a vocal advocate for athletes in the province of Manitoba.
As a young man, he was an avid runner and set many provincial records at a time when runners competed on cinder tracks.
He continued his love of sport through more than 65 years of coaching, starting the track and field club at the University of Manitoba in 1949 and coaching at the school until 1996.
Daly was involved in the planning of the Frank Kennedy Centre and the indoor complex affectionately known as the “Gritty Grotto”, which has now been replaced by the world-class Active Living Centre. He also worked with the cross country and track & field team at Fort Richmond Collegiate for more than ten years.
He spearheaded the group that brought the 1967 Pan American Games to Winnipeg and “Mr. Track and Field” was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. Most recently, in 2015, the University of Manitoba re-named the indoor athletics facility in his honour: the James Daly Fieldhouse. He became a member of the Order of Manitoba in 2000 and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2001.
In addition to everything he did for athletics, he also had an incredible impact outside of the sport. He managed Canada’s Olympic team in 1964, served an eight-year term on the board of Tennis Canada, was Executive Director of the 1967 Pan American Games, was Canada’s Chief De Mission for the 1986 and 1990 Commonwealth Games, and advised the 2002 North American Indigenous Games.