From the Court
to the Court Room
By Scott Taylor
remembers the old playground like it was yesterday. He used
to ride his bicycle halfway across town just to practice at
the old black-topped court beside Sisler High School.
few young basketball players would look forward to practicing
outside. But for a kid like Galanchuk, who just couldnt
get enough of the game, that old court felt like home.
was playing midget hockey at the time and just going into
Grade 10, said Galanchuk, 70, one of the most recent
inductees into Manitobas prestigious Sports Hall of
Vic Pruden and Jim Downey were the basketball coaches at old
Isaac Newton High School. Coach Pruden and Coach Downey would
hold spring workouts outdoors on that court. I liked basketball
and thought it would be great to go across town and learn
from the best coaches. Vic taught me how to shoot.
lived on Inkster between Parr and MacKenzie and Id walk
to Sisler every day to go to school just to have Vic as my
coach. Id get on my bike and ride to that old court
just to practice shooting with Vic.
know, I got picked to be on the Canadian Olympic Team because
of my defense and the ability I had to shut down my friend
Freddie Ingaldson (Canadas greatest player of the 50s
and early 60s), but it didnt hurt that I was a pretty
good shooter, too, I owe a lot of that to Vic and his coaching.
John Galanchuk was a hard-working man from Ukraine who wanted
nothing more from his son than to get a good Canadian education.
no interest in basketball or any other silly North American
games. As it was for most immigrant families who arrived on
Canadas shores to give their children a better life,
so it was for John and Minnie Galanchuk: Their son Kenneth
was going to get a good education.
dad was a painter and he worked hard, said Ken with
a smile. When I was in university, he wanted me to quit
playing basketball and concentrate on my studies, but my mom
convinced him to let me play. I made him a promise that if
I got one year 1963 to pursue basketball, I
would quit and go back to school full-time. So he let me go
to Lethbridge and play for the Lethbridge Broders, the Canadian
was a great year, but I didnt quite give it up entirely
too. If Ken Galanchuk had quit prematurely, Manitoba would
have been deprived of one of the greatest basketball players
in its history, a man who was already a member of the Manitoba
Basketball Hall of Fame when he was formally inducted into
the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 6.
was honored along with three other athletes, golfer Jo-Anne
Lindsay, Blue Bomber lineman Frank Rigney and baseball player
Shane Moffatt. There were also two builders inductedChristine
OConnor (soccer) and George Phillips (multi-sport)
and two teams: the 1984 Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the 1966-67
Team Manitoba Canoe Team.
the honor was a surprise, but certainly not without merit.
The former Court of Queens Bench judge had a remarkable
career on the basketball court.
typical of Canadian basketball players in the late 1950s and
early 1960s. He was a top midget hockey player when he learned
that the two coaches at Isaac Newton School, Jim Downey and
Vic Pruden, were holding spring basketball workouts.
a solid natural athlete, attended the workouts and because
of Pruden and Downey, he learned to play the game.
with Pruden as his coach, he played guard and was captain
of the Isaac Newton High School juvenile team that won both
the city and provincial championships. He was also named to
the post-season all-star team.
he was captain of the Sisler High School team that won both
the city and provincial championships. In the city championship
playoff game against Daniel Mac, he scored 44 points. In 1998,
that Sisler team was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall
of Fame after finishing the season 33-1. Galanchuk was an
all-star in every league and tournament the team played in.
Galanchuk played for both the University of Manitoba Bisons
junior varsity and varsity teams. He was a junior varsity
all-star and led the Junior League in scoring.
he decided to play for the IPAC Buffaloes in the Junior Mens
League and was not only selected to the all-star team but
also played on the team that won the Manitoba, Thunder Bay
and Saskatchewan Championships.
days with Downey and Pruden at Isaac Newton and Sisler led
to a remarkable career that reached its pinnacle during a
six-month period between December of 1962 and May of 1963
when he left law school at the University of Manitoba to play
he worked at Broders Cannery in Lethbridge and at night played
and practiced with the Lethbridge Broders, the team with whom
he won a Canadian senior championship and represented Canada
at a major international tournament in the Philippines in
late 1962, at the 1963 Pan Am Games in Sao Paulo and at the
1963 World Basketball Championships in Rio de Janeiro.
December of 62, I was playing with the IPAC Buffaloes
in the Winnipeg Senior Mens League, Galanchuk
recalled. We lost to Lethbridge at the Western Canadians
and they asked me if I would play for them at the Nationals.
went on to play as the Canadian National Team at an international
tournament in the Philippines and lost the gold medal game
to the United States. It was quite an experience. We all met
Ferdinand Marcos, but he was the reason that this tournament
was just an invitational tournament and not the World Championship
as it was supposed to be. Thats because he refused to
allow Visas to be issued to the Russians and the Yugoslavs
and wouldnt let them in the country.
he invites us to this international tournament with Spain,
Puerto Rico, Japan, China, Mexico, the Philippines, the United
States and us. And he sets it up so the Philippines would
meet the United States in the final, but I guess he didnt
expect us to be very good because we played the Philippines
in the first game.
we beat them pretty good and went on to beat Spain and Mexico
to reach the final against the United States. They Americans
throttled us, but it was a great experience and I remember
having a pretty good game. I had no problem coming home with
the silver medal.
of 1963, Galanchuk led the Broders to the Canadian Senior
Championship and as a result of his outstanding play, he was
selected to play with Canadas National Team in two more
international tournaments that year. In April of 1963 he played
in the Pan American Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and in May,
he represented our country at the World Basketball Championships
in Rio de Janeiro.
I came back home after the World Championships, I fulfilled
my promise to my father, Galanchuk said. I enrolled
at Law School at the U of M and told him I was finished with
my mom knew better. Id sneak out at night to play for
the IPAC Buffaloes and we not only won the 1964 Manitoba Championship
and the Western Canadian Championship, but lost to a team
from Toronto in the final of the National Championships.
then, my dad had figured it out, but I think my mom had softened
him up. He wasnt completely happy about it, but I was
doing pretty well in school, so he went along with it.
while playing for Winnipegs Madison Chimneys team, Galanchuk
had one more shot at the National Senior Championship, but
lost to the Vancouver IGA team in the Canadian final.
gave up the game in 1967 and made his father proud. He graduated
with a law degree from the University of Manitoba and after
practicing the profession for the next 24 years, was named
a Federal Court of Queens Bench Judge in 1991. He also
served three terms as a Winnipeg City Councilor and from 1974-77
was a director of the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club.
was lucky to have great coaches, he said. From
Mr. Downey and Vic Pruden, to Jimmy Bulloch and Bid Fraser
at the U of M and Freddie Ingaldson at IPAC. When youre
fortunate enough to have great coaches like I did, you can
go a long way.
more in the Nov
30 - Dec 19/2010 issue of Senior Scope)
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Canadian Mounted Police
more in the Nov
30 - Dec 19/2010 issue of Senior Scope)