Wesmen donate memorabilia to UWinnipeg Archives

UWinnipeg archivist Daniel Matthes holds a Wesmen Classic program from 1977.

The University of Winnipeg Archives and Record Centre is sporting a new collection of Wesmen memorabilia thanks to a large donation from the Athletics Department.

“I felt that if the archives had it, this would allow access to the our Wesmen history to those who were interested in it,” said Dave Crook, Wesmen Athletic Director. “I also knew that the archives had the skill set to properly handle and look after and care for things that are part of our history and history of the institution.”

Last year, Crook donated more than a dozen boxes of game programs, photographs, newspaper clippings, and videos to the Archives.

“Prior to this we had real paucity of athletic records, so this fills a big gap,” said Daniel Matthes, Archives Technician.

The Wesmen Women’s Basketball team faces off against the University of Manitoba Bisons in the 1990s. ©UWinnipeg Archives

The new collection includes items from 1966 to 2012, and builds on the athletic records from UWinnipeg’s founding colleges, which date back to 1900. Matthes says the Wesmen holdings are the most complete in the 90s, making the collection an “antique of the future.”

“Most people want to look at the stuff from the 60s and 70s because it seems more interesting,” said Matthes. “I look forward 50 years and I think people will find this collection very interesting.”

The Wesmen Wizard pumps up the crowd at a home game in 1987. ©UWinnipeg Archives

For Crook, one of the most important features in the collection is the complete series of Wesmen Classic programs — including one from the very first tournament in 1967. The annual event recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and changed its format to include women’s teams and volleyball.

“I have coached in 24 Wesmen Classics, was a fan at numerous others and worked at another 8, so I have actively been part of 32 of the 51 and was a fan at 6 more and I guess I was the catalyst for the change in formats so I have invested a great deal of my life in this event,” said Crook.

There’s also record of some lesser-known historical figures — like the Wesmen Wizard, who enjoyed a short stint as the University’s mascot in the 1980s.

The breadth of material holds a lot of information for someone interested in researching specific Wesmen teams and players, and substance for an Archives exhibit, says Matthes.

The Archives has also recently processed records from the University Club and former faculty member Kaye Kerr, whose studied the status of women, child psychology, and child care on campus.

The Archives and Record Centre is open from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Monday to Friday and is located in the UWinnipeg Library in Room 5C02.

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