It is often heard that an athlete wants to give back to the community – and their chosen sport – in appreciation for their success. Seldom is it ever realized. That is not true when it comes to Lewis Hobson.
Born on August 20, 1936, in Claire, Saskatchewan, Lew discovered at an early age that he had a special talent – throwing a baseball. Lew was playing junior baseball at the age of 14 and by the time he was 17 he was playing at the semi-pro level. In the early 1950s, Lew played for the Saskatoon Moores, which at the time, was one of the finest junior baseball teams in the province. While still junior aged, Lew signed on with the Saskatoon Gems of the Western Canadian Baseball League and three years later he joined the Saskatoon Commodores where he set a Canadian-American semi-pro record by fanning 16 batters on June 16, 1959.
Lew’s accomplishments on the pitching mound landed him a four-year scholarship to the University of Arkansas, but it was there that his dreams of playing in the big leagues were snuffed out. During his sophomore season at Arkansas, he slipped off a rain-soaked mound and tore apart his shoulder. His fastball wasn’t ever the same and with that injury the big-league scouts quit keeping tabs of his progress.
While at the University of Arkansas, Lew, however, did complete his studies as he majored in physical education and this ultimately brought him to Prince Albert where he began teaching at P.A.C.I. in 1960. Immediately upon arriving in Prince Albert, Lew set out to develop and renew the community’s interest in baseball. Lew approached the Elk’s Club to sponsor a senior team and this club went on to record numerous achievements over the years.
Lew also brought organized football to the city. Lew had helped Nutana Collegiate in Saskatoon reach the provincial finals on two occasions in the early 1950s and when he arrived in Prince Albert in 1960 he got the wheels in motion for a high school league. Lew made use of what resources were available to get equipment in place for the league and the same can be said for track and field in the city as Lew was largely responsible for establishing the facility situated adjacent to P.A.C.I. school.
Not only was Lew an elite athlete – he was also an accomplished curler having been to the men’s northern for five straight years in the 1960s – but he also became known in the city as a fantastic organizer. The list of Lew’s accomplishments in this area is incredible. In addition to the aforementioned baseball and football endeavors, Lew was president of the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club when that organization relocated from downtown to its present location at Cooke Municipal Golf Course. Lew organized the first Special Olympics track and field meet in 1969 and he was president of the Saskatchewan High School Athletic Association from 1970-74. Lew served on the board of directors for the Prince Albert Raiders from 1979-83 and he was the coordinator of a benefit hockey game for a young promising player by the name of Dale Willick who was paralyzed in a car accident. Lew has been the mayor of the athlete’s village for the 1982 Saskatchewan Winter Games, helped organize the 1991 Saskatchewan Senior Games and chaired a special fundraising committee which completed construction of the Harry Jerome track at Prime Ministers’ Park. He was also involved in the fundraising project which enclosed the West Hill Community Club – the first to do so in the city.
Lew’s involvement in the community stretches far beyond the sporting world, but it is there that he has had his biggest impact on Prince Albert. For his accomplishments as both an athlete and as a builder, the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame proudly includes his name on both lists in its shrine.
Inducted into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.