In celebration of its 50th season of competition, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) held its inaugural ACAC Hall of Fame selection and ceremony in 2014 with induction of 50 individuals within the categories of builders and administrators, coaches and student-athletes.
In this the second installment, a total of eight inductees will be named with a Class of 2017 ceremony scheduled for May 13, 2017 in Calgary, Alberta.
Below is the fourth and fifth of eight inductee profiles, for Augustana recipients professor Yvonne Becker and former coach Joe Voytechek.
Builder – Professor Yvonne Becker
Yvonne Becker, associate professor of physical education at the University of Alberta’s Augustana campus, has played an integral role in the development and vision of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) and Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA).
She spent seventeen years as a member of the ACAC executive from 1987 1998 and after a three-year hiatus was back offering her expertise from 2000-2006.
In her first stint, her appointments were (chronological order): Cross Country Skiing Convenor 1987-1988, Canoeing Convenor 1988-1989 and 1996-1997, Secretary 1987-1991, Vice President 1991-1992, President 1992-1995 and Past President 1995 -1998.
From 2000-2006 she was Women’s Hockey Convenor 2000- 2003 and Vice President (Operations) 2003 – 2006.
“I had the privilege of working with Yvonne for close to 20 years,” said ACAC Class of 2014 inductee Allan Ferchuk. “Yvonne set the standard with respect to volunteering and committing to the success of the ACAC. She was an advocate for equality of athlete sport involvement, key to the formation of ACAC women’s hockey amongst other sport genesis.”
“At the national level, she was key in the growth of the women’s apprentice coaching programs. Champion for values-based decision-making at the provincial and national level… setting the standard for all AD’s at the conference table for accountability to participate and complete tasks necessary for the success of the conference. She contributed significantly to the development of sound human resource practices within the staff component of the conference.”
Mark Kosak, ACAC CEO, had this additional information in regards to Becker’s impact on the ACAC: “She coached women’s basketball at Augustana for years and introduced women’s hockey at Augustana before it was cut due to budget issues. She was the driving force behind the ACAC Appeal Process which is commonly used today. Yvonne put us in touch with Hilary Findlay of Sport and Law (Ottawa) who wrote the policy and consulted for us. She was also a drive for the ACAC Harassment policy.”
In regards to her involvement with the CCAA: “Yvonne was also a member of the CCAA’s Board of Directors as the ACAC representative from 2003-04 to 2005-06. She was a member and Chair of the CCAA’s Women’s Sport Development Committee and has sat on several CCAA Appeal Committee’s over those years. Yvonne was instrumental in the implementation of the Female Apprentice Coach Program. This program is in its 12 season and has successfully identified and nurtured female graduated student-athletes into apprentice coach positions with CCAA varsity sport programs, providing them opportunity to gain experience and direction from a qualified mentor coach and through coach certification. 61% of those former apprentice coaches continue to coach in a variety of capacities today,” Sandra Murray-MacDonell – Executive Director CCAA.
Dr. Becker educational profile includes: B.P.E., University of Alberta, M.A., University of Alberta and a Ph.D., University of Queensland, Australia.
Coach Category – Joe Voytechek, Men’s Hockey
Camrose Lutheran College was founded in 1910 in Camrose, Alberta by Norwegian settlers. In 1912 a coal town to be named Mountain Park, sprung up in western Alberta at the end of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. Mountain Park, which at its peak had 1,500 residents, is now a ghost town having closed in 1950.
The Camrose Lutheran College name would also fade away, changing its title to the University of Alberta’s Augustana campus in 2004. In 1974-1975 the Camrose Vikings men’s hockey team won the inaugural Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) men’s hockey championship. The CCAA abandoned the hockey program in 2001.
Part or all, of these histories, were integral to the life of Joe Voytechek.
Born in Mountain Park a little over 94 years ago, the still young-at-heart Voytechek began his association with Camrose Lutheran College in the early 1970s’ as coach of the men’s hockey team. He would coach the team from 1973-1982 becoming the first to reach the 200 game milestone (217 total) and the second to win 100 (105 total) games. The highlight was capturing the first-ever CCAA Men’s Hockey Championship, defeating the Ontario representative St. Clair Saints 6-2 for the 1974-1975 CCAA Championship Bowl. The other two teams in the tournament were the St-Laurent College of Montreal, Quebec and the host Cape Breton Capers of Sydney, Nova Scotia.
“We were a young, young team,” recalls Voytechek, who along with his wife Phyllis, are well-respected in the Camrose district. “Our oldest player was 19 and the rest were 15, 16, 17 or 18. The other teams were much older and much bigger. We were the underdogs. But they were young and just breaking in and they never complained. They were gentlemen. I was a motivator and motivation is a great thing. I mentioned the first day of the season that we would be standing on the (CCAA) podium at the end of the year in Nova Scotia. The rest depended on their attitude.”
The Vikings, inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009, was the first-ever ACAC team to claim gold status in the CCAA.
According to the Augustana website; “The win on the national stage paved the way for a season played in Europe, and then the inaugural 1981 Viking Cup hockey tournament in Camrose. The small, rural Alberta community hosted teams from across the United States and Europe for 25 years until its final medal ceremony in 2006.”
Of his continuing legacy, fellow coaches say: “As a very inexperienced coach coming into the ACAC, I was looking for coaching ‘role models’. In Joe, I saw someone whose teams played with speed, skill, intensity and structure but were always disciplined. I knew Joe was a coach I would learn from and I did learn many lessons. The most important thing I learned though was about Joe himself, he had integrity and class, traits I knew I should try to aspire to, ” said former NAIT Ooks (14 seasons) men’s hockey coach Perry Pearn, who has coached since 1994 in the National Hockey League; currently with the Vancouver Canucks.
“I looked up to Joe and tried to emulate his team discipline and intensity. Once, I was pretty sure that a player directed a ‘cuss’ word towards me as he returned to the box, so I asked Joe if he had ever experienced something similar. Joe replied ‘If I did all I ever heard was the echo,’ which meant that the player was quickly out the door. Joe is certainly one who is most deserving (of induction into the ACAC Hall of Fame),” said Allan Ferchuk who coached the Red Deer Kings men’s hockey team to three gold and two silver at the CCAA championships.
Voytechek was also a productive right winger in amateur hockey with the 1947-48 Alberta Provincial Intermediate ‘A’ champion Camrose Maroons.
“It seems like a 100 years ago that I played for a hell of a few good hockey teams,” recalls Voytechek, in regards to the Maroons, Edmonton Canadians and another Junior team in Jasper.
He was also the Recipient of Augustana Alumni Association Citation Award in 1992 and the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005.
These profiles originally appeared on the ACAC website on April 12, 2017.