For Bruce Bradshaw (BSPE’83; BED’85), staying connected to his alma mater has always been a priority. Having recently retired from his 31 year career with the Saskatoon Public School Division, he attributes his success to his time spent at the U of S. “I am very grateful for all of the doors that have been opened thanks to my U of S experience and education,” he says. “I want to give back to my roots– it all goes back to where you start.”
In addition to a successful career, Bruce has built many meaningful relationships because of the time he spent at the U of S. He met his future wife, Kathy, when he was a student in a physical education class. The couple both graduated with Education degrees, with Kathy returning to campus years later to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA’05).
Off campus, both have remained active community members, and enjoy volunteering to make Saskatoon a better city in which to live. The couple has also been busy at home with their three sons, all of whom are active and enjoy sports – and all of whom were coached by their father in Minor League Hockey.
Of course, hockey has always been a central part of Bruce’s life. He played in small town Saskatchewan as a kid, and would go on to play Huskie hockey for 5 years as a student. With his strong connection to the Huskies and philanthropic nature, Bruce was a welcome addition to the Home Ice Campaign committee. Sitting across from him at meetings would be a number of familiar faces: his former Huskie’s hockey coach, Dave King, past teammates, and many friends within the community. Together, they would set the tone for the $29-million dollar campaign by contacting alumni and members of the community to introduce them to the project. The campaign would go on to be active across Canada – from Toronto to BC – becoming one of the most successful volunteer-driven campaigns in the university’s history.
Bruce’s experience with this extraordinary campaign was filled with many highlights. He was honored to meet Merlis Belsher, the U of S graduate and donor he attributes to giving Home Ice the momentum it needed to accelerate successfully forward. He spent time with the city’s mayor, Charlie Clark, whose belief in, and support of the campaign, was critical to its success. But perhaps most meaningful for Bruce was the outpouring of support from Huskie alumni and fans. “The number of people who contacted me wanting to step up and contribute—be it $5 or $500— because they really believed in it, was touching,” he said.
Now that the campaign has reached its fundraising goal and construction has begun on Merlis Belsher Place, Bruce continues to be energized by the project. As a father and former coach, he is ecstatic that parents in the community will have shorter, safer travel times to practices and games. “Merlis Belsher Place will provide a gathering place where everyone can witness the level of play that youth sport hockey has in Saskatoon. It will bring in tourism and tournaments, and honour the Huskies with a facility that is on par with their immense talent,” he says.
Beyond that, Bruce is focused on the simple things that for him make hockey great. “Now, I’m most looking forward to having a comfortable chair to sit in and watch the games – maybe even with a cup holder attached,” he chuckles.