We’re breaking ground on Merlis Belsher Place

A rendering of Merlis Belsher Place, scheduled to open for hockey in October 2018.

The University of Saskatchewan publicly launched its Home Ice Campaign in October 2016 with a vision to provide students, youth and our community with a state-of-the-art, twin-pad ice facility.

As with many university projects, Merlis Belsher Place is the result of many people coming together in partnership—volunteers; community members; Huskie athletes; Saskatoon Minor Hockey players; university alumni, staff and students—to accomplish something truly extraordinary. With our shared vision and strong leadership, we know this facility will promote sportsmanship, mentorship, team pride, and a love of the game.

On April 28, 2017, we invite all of our supporters and friends from the community to celebrate a significant milestone in the Home Ice Campaign—the official groundbreaking ceremony for Merlis Belsher Place.

Join us as we celebrate the passion and excitement that has made this vision a reality.

For event details, please visit home-ice.eventbrite.ca.

Smile, YXE

On April 8, 2017 the University of Saskatchewan’s (U of S) College of Dentistry produced more gleaming-white smiles than usual. The U of S hosted Saskatoon’s first-ever Dental Day YXE, which offered free dental services to individuals and families unable to access care due to financial constraints. Community members flooded through the College of Dentistry doors from 8 am until 4 pm, in eager anticipation of dental cleanings, extractions, fillings, root canals, and denture repairs.

Dr. Alyssa Hayes, assistant professor of dental public health at the U of S, expressed the motivation behind the day, “We can impact many lives by relieving people of dental pain and improving oral health,” she said. “It is also a great way to bring the profession together and strengthen those bonds as a dental community as well as to the communities we serve on a daily basis .” She and Dr. Briere organized Dental Day YXE to be held at the U of S, and encouraged other professionals to offer their services.

Volunteers for Dental Day YXE gathered at the U of S to offer services free of charge.

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Huskie alumni giving back

From the beginning of the Home Ice Campaign, Huskie Hockey Alumni knew they needed to be involved and give to this inspiring project.

The group set a lofty goal and by late March of this year had achieved tremendous results from alumni at home and across Canada.

Huskie Hockey Alumni present U of S President, Peter Stoicheff, with a ceremonial cheque representing their cumulative giving from hockey alumni across Canada and the USA. Huskie Hockey Alumni have been fundraising for this project for more than a year.

We celebrate Huskie Hockey Alumni’s cumulative giving of $2.5 million, which will help fund Merlis Belsher Place – a modern, twin-pad ice facility at the U of S that’s greatly needed for university and minor hockey.

“As a group, we felt it was important to support this significant project,” said Tim Hodgson, Chair of the Home Ice Campaign and Huskie Hockey alumnus. “This total represents more than a year of hard work for Huskie Hockey Alumni across Canada and the United States and we are thrilled it will support such an amazing project.”

Music alumni make historic gift to U of S to honour legacy of David L. Kaplan

Xiaoping (Bob) Xu (MA ’92) and wife Ling Chen (MA ’90) have made another notable contribution to their alma mater. The internationally-recognized investor and philanthropist and his wife have donated $2 million to the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) to create the David L. Kaplan Chair in Music in the college of arts and science. The gift is the largest donation from alumni in the college’s history and a generous follow-up to the couple’s $1 million gift to establish the David L. Kaplan Music Scholarship in 2010.

President Peter Stoicheff announced the significant gift at the department of music’s annual student scholarship awards event on April 2. “By establishing a strings program, the Kaplan Chair will make our music program a destination of choice for emerging musicians on the prairies. I’m especially pleased this gift will help us contribute further to our local classical music community and deepen our long-term relationship with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra,” he said.

Ling Chen (MA ’90) and Xiaoping (Bob) Xu (MA ’92).

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Home is where the ice is

As a proud graduate of the University of Saskatchewan (B.Comm. ’52), Greg Greenough believes it is important to stay engaged with the community that provided him with a solid education and years of competitive sport as a Huskie athlete. “It was a special time for me, “says Greenough. “Hockey was a big part of my life when I went to Saskatoon. I could have chosen to go to a number of other universities, but I picked the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), and it was a great decision.” Greenough has been a consistent donor since graduating, and this year, he has involved himself in the Home Ice Campaign.  He chooses to give back to his alma mater in the hopes that students can have a memorable experience during their time at the U of S, just as he did, “You always get back more than what you give,“ he says.

Greg Greenough, (B.Comm. ’52).

After his studies Greenough moved to Alberta for his career, where he went on to be the President of Maclab Enterprises, a private holding company specializing in real estate development, property management, oil and gas and venture capital.  His involvement with sports has taken on a facilitating role with numerous boards and committees, both locally and internationally. He is a former member of the Canadian Olympic Association, was President of the Kinsmen Club, and spent nine years on the board of directors for the Edmonton Eskimo Football Club. Greenough is passionate about providing opportunities for athletes to develop and excel, so it comes as no surprise that he is eagerly anticipating the construction of Merlis Belsher Place.

Thinking back to his time as a Huskie hockey player, Greenough recalls the experience. “It had lots of character,” he chuckles. “It was the only arena that I’m aware of that had an upper level for a dressing room—we would have to climb down with our skates on!”

Greg Greenough at Rutherford Rink.

Greenough believes that the new state-of-the-art facility will give Huskie athletes the advantage they deserve and will attract events that weren’t a possibility before, such as national championships.  “It’s not just about a rink,” he says. “It’s about creating and celebrating a facility that will affect the level of prestige of every graduate and member of our community.”

Truly appreciative of Merlis Belsher’s and Ron and Jane Graham’s outstanding support of the project, Greenough is confident that other alumni will find the Home Ice Campaign an exciting project to get involved with. For him, it was an easy decision to get behind. Merlis Belsher Place will encapsulate the dedication and spirit of many generous supporters who believe in their homeland.