A Calgary park and accompanying baseball fields have officially been renamed after a Coronation man who has left an everlasting impression on the sport of baseball.
On Sat. Aug. 31, Airways Park was officially renamed Glen Hansen Field for the 40th anniversary of the Foothills Major Baseball Association (FMBA).
“I’m so humbled,” began Hansen. “I helped get it built 40 years ago and we kept it going and growing the league and it’s really good.”
Baseball was always a go-to for the 73-year-old no matter the time in his life.
Hansen grew up on a farm near Coronation.
His father passed away when he was 12, which resulted in the family moving to town.
He played on the Coronation Cardinals team when it still existed as well as highschool sports like basketball.
“Baseball was always the sport that I liked the best,” he said.
After school, he moved to Camrose and became Recreation Director. He traveled to Hobbema and Morley where he taught sports.
After this, he moved to the big city of Calgary in 1967 and got involved in coaching and umpiring minor baseball and ladies softball in the Rockyview League.
The Calgary Cardinals approached Hansen shortly after about the rumblings of starting a new league where he would coach.
This led to years of coaching, running as president for four terms, and more positions with the league.
The association is a tight-knit group of people sharing in the same interest of baseball with lots of smiles, laughs and fervent use of nicknames.
Nicknamed “Hans”, age is just a number for the 73-year-old.
Hansen described the FMBA as the place to go after players graduate from college or university but want to continue playing.
The FMBA is one of the longest running associations in western Canada and began with only three teams exactly 40 years ago in 1979.
Today, 11 teams including the Calgary Cardinals make up the association.
“You dream about those things I guess,” chuckled Hansen.
Hansen also had a hand in creating the park many years ago.
Jim Wylsley had his son playing in the league in 1982 and so he suggested to Hansen they build a new park for these young athletes.
“Long story short, he spearheaded it. He got all the councillors at city hall, the land and he basically built the park,” said Hansen.
Tom Sidorkewicz, current president of the Calgary Cardinals baseball team, felt no other person was as deserving as Hansen was for this recognition.
“Why Glen? He is the tie that binds us for our league over all the years,” Sidorkewicz began. “It’s easy for things to come and go and organizations to come together and then come apart just as quickly. You need people like Glen to hold that tie together. His efforts, his dedication, his passion for the league and his passion for kids to have another place to go to play ball when they think they are done. There is certainly nobody else that acknowledges that more and that has contributed more to keeping the league together than Hans.”
The 40th anniversary of the association acted as the perfect time for the executive committee to commemorate Glen and all his commitments to the league and the sport.
“When we bring things together, particularly with a bunch of volunteers, we are always looking to leverage everyone else’s abilities and heavy lifting in some cases and you know 40 years of dedication towards anything is a huge accomplishment,” said Sidorkewicz.
“We’ve had people speaking about doing something like this for him for many years and like anything you plan to work and you work the plan after that and certainly everything came together for just an awesome event and awesome celebration,” he concluded.
Hansen has no plans to retire from helping the Cardinals any time soon.
“That’s where my heart is,” said Hansen.