Bearcat makes another hall of fame

Okotoks: Jim Murray, Davis Edels, Annabelle McLean and Doc Mullaney new inductees

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 11:38 am

From left, Jim “Bearcat” Murray, Annabelle Murray McLean, Davis Edels, and Dallas Mullaney. son of hall of fame inductee the late Doyle
From left, Jim “Bearcat” Murray, Annabelle Murray McLean, Davis Edels, and Dallas Mullaney. son of hall of fame inductee the late Doyle "Doc” Mullaney, at the Okotoks Hall of Fame induction ceremony on June 20.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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There’s no place like home for a hall-of-famer.

Jim “Bearcat” Murray, the former trainer of the 1989 Stanley Cup champion Calgary Flames was one of four people inducted into the Okotoks Hall of Fame during a ceremony Friday at the Okotoks Recreation Centre on Friday.

He called it even a bigger thrill than being inducted into another hall of considerable fame.

“This is the most heart-warming honour which I have ever received which including the other hall-of-fame and that Stanley Cup thing” said Murray, during his acceptance speech. “Because this is my town. I grew up here and I plan to end up here — but not for a while.”

Murray’s other hall of fame is the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in the trainer’s wing. He was inducted in 2009.

He was inducted into the Okotoks Hall of Fame in the distinction category. The other inductees into the Okotoks Hall of Fame were chuckwagon driver Doyle “Doc” Mullaney (sports), Annabelle (Murray) McLean (sports) and Davis Edels (community builder).

The ceremony had added significance for Bearcat, the self-proclaimed “old bald-headed potlicker from Okotoks.” He was inducted into the Okotoks Hall of Fame along with his sister Annabelle (Murray) McLean. Their plaques hang directly across from the Murray Arena, named after their family.

Bearcat found out first hand the significance of Okotoks and the Murray Arena when he traveled to Russia with the Flames in 1989.

“They introduced me as Bearcat Murray the trainer from Okotoks, Alberta and the whole rink erupted,” Murray said. “I thought this is pretty good. I got disheartened later. It wasn’t me. It was the name Murray and the Okotoks name because that is where their figure skaters trained for the Olympics in 1988.”

The 1988 Ice dance gold and silver medalists, Ekatarina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, and Elena Valova and Oleg Vasiliev, respectively, trained in Okotoks before and during the Games due to a lack of ice in Calgary. Okotoks Mayor Bill Robertson called Murray both an ambassador for hockey and the town of Okotoks.

“Bearcat never forgot his roots,” Robertson said. “Wherever and whenever possible, he proudly proclaimed: he was just a bald-headed little potlicker from Okotoks.”

Robertson said Murray has been unwavering in his dedication to helping charities throughout the foothills.

A good spin

Davis Edels might have ended up being in the Kapuskasing (Ont.) Hall of Fame if note for fate.

Edels came dangerously close to moving to Kapuskasing to open a GM car dealership rather than Okotoks more than 25 years ago. He called getting to Okotoks was like a fortunate spin of the wheel.

“It is kind of like a roulette wheel and mine seemed to stop at Kapuskasing,” Edels said. “It somehow didn’t stop there and it took one more click to Okotoks.”

Edels owned Keith GM for 25 years before selling in 2012.

Kapuskasing’s loss was Okotoks’ gain.

“Davis Edels contributions to the Okotoks community are unparalleled,” Robertson said. “Hundreds of organizations, sports teams, and events have benefited from his generous support over 25 plus years as a resident and business owner in Okotoks.

Edels is a founding member of the Okotoks Rotary Club, and was instrumental in the building of the Foothills Community Centre. He has assisted the Rowan Emergency Shelter House, the Foothills Country Hospice and others.

Keith GM generously donated $250,000 to the Foothills Community Centre project while Edels was the owner.

He sat on the community centre for eight years. Edels is on his 18th year of sitting on the Community Futures board.

“Okotoks is such a wonderful place to live,” Edels said with a smile. “And I often think how different life would be if that roulette ball would have stopped at Kapuskasing… Sometimes when we travel people will tell me where I am from.

“I tell them, I’m from the town with two OKs.”

The good doctor

Somewhere a pair of Irish eyes is a smiling.

Chuckwagon driver Doyle “Doc” Mullaney, who passed away in 2013, was inducted posthumously to the Okotoks Hall of Fame in the sports category.

Mullaney won the world pony chuckwagon circuit in 1971 and went on to become a World Professional Chuckwagon Association member for years.

All of it with a green shamrock and a word that means “Big Rock” inscribed on his wagon’s tarp.

“His outgoing personality and passion for racing made him a great ambassador for chuckwagons and the town,” Robertson said. “He proudly carried the name ‘Okotoks” on his leprechaun and shamrock emblazoned wagon.”

Mullaney drove his wagon in the opening ceremonies of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

Mullaney could bring wagons fans cheering to their feet, but he could put a relieved smile on a young girl’s face by helping her kitten or puppy.

“For 30 years he owned and operated the Big Rock Animal Clinic in Okotoks,” Robertson said. “He was known for going above and beyond in helping his customers and his animals.”

Doyle’s son Dallas said his father had “a larger than life personality and always gave 110 per cent.”

Dallas said Doc was dedicated to the animals in the Okotoks.

“If it wasn’t Doc tending to your dog or cat it was grandpa Pete Mullaney cutting your hair or playing a tune on his fiddle,” Dallas said with a laugh.

“Dad would be extremely honoured by this induction and to be on this wall with two of his old buddies, Bill Flett and Brad Banister.”

Annabelle McLean credited the people of Okotoks for giving her the opportunity to have a track career, which would lead to a bronze medal at the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver.

To read more about the McLean and her brother Bearcat see Sports page xxxxx.


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