The late Pat Bobinski of Hay River has been inducted into the NWT Sport Hall of Fame.

Pat Bobinski stands at his home on the shore of Great Slave Lake in 2010. NNSL file photo

Bobinski, who died in July, was honoured as a builder in the sport of biathlon.

Paul Green represented Bobinski at the induction ceremony in Yellowknife on Nov. 4.

“I’ve been thinking about it and I think a builder is a really apt description for Pat and the contributions he made to the sport of biathlon,” said Green, who is originally from Hay River and a biathlon coach in Yellowknife.

Green, who is the brother of Olympic biathlete Brendan Green, noted Bobinski was instrumental in developing skiing and biathlon in Hay River and the North.

“He took people to the Arctic Winter Games, national championships and the Olympics, and that is a part of his legacy,” said Green. “And even beyond that as a part of the outreach programs, he would basically take riffles and snowshoes to these communities that didn’t have any sort of existing ski or biathlon programs, which a lot of kids partook in. So yes, builder is a very apt.”

Ollie Williams, a broadcaster, writer and sports volunteer in Yellowknife, prepared a video tribute to Bobinski that was presented at the induction ceremony.

“People couldn’t help but get emotional thinking about the scale of contribution Pat made to sport in the North,” said Williams.

While now part of the past in NWT sports, Williams said Bobinski will also contribute to the future in terms of the hundreds of young athletes whose passion for sport exists because of him.

“And that’s why ceremonies like this exist,” said Williams of the induction ceremony for the NWT Sport Hall of Fame.

Kathleen Groenewegen, the president of the Hay River Ski Club, said she is very pleased to see Bobinski’s memory honoured with induction to the NWT Sport Hall of Fame.

“Pat dedicated so much of his life to promoting sport across the North, without ever seeking recognition,” she said, noting he was able to foster a passion for sport in the lives of young people in many northern communities.

“He put so much time and heart into making sport accessible to all youth and has encouraged so many to strive for excellence,” added Groenewegen. “He really is a coach to aspire to.”

Bobinski died on July 30 at the age of 77 following a brief illness.

For many years, he served as president of the NWT Biathlon Association and promoted the sport in smaller communities.

Bobinski, who was originally from Manitoba, first came to Hay River in 1966.

In 2007, he was recognized by the GNWT as the outstanding elder volunteer of the year.

The Hay River Ski Club is also planning to recognize and honour Bobinski, and will be discussing how to do that at a meeting later this month.

Two other people were inducted into the NWT Sport Hall of Fame on Nov. 4 – speed skater Michael Gilday and cross-country skier Antoine Mountain.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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