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Pauline and Orest Sadownick are long-time donors to the University of Saskatchewan.

Where sport meets philanthropy

The Sadownicks are what you might call a true blue Saskatchewan sports family.

“We’re very sports-minded,” said Pauline Sadownick with a laugh. “The TV is always on sports around here.”

She recalls blowing noses and tying skates when her three children—Paul (BA’80, MBA’82), Murray (BComm’83) and Shona (PT’84)—were younger and participating in community hockey leagues. Her husband, Orest, often served as coach.

The family has also given generously to the University of Saskatchewan for close to four decades, supporting numerous initiatives within Huskie Athletics and college-level scholarships in business and physical therapy, among others.

As such, the choice to continue supporting the University of Saskatchewan’s new multi-sport arena was an easy one for Orest and Pauline, who recently donated $500,000 to Merlis Belsher Place—a gift that will help build a modern athletic facility for Huskie athletes and community players to sharpen their skills and compete with pride. 

Orest and Pauline spent their working lives as business owners, operating Saskatoon’s Stodola Concrete and the Patricia Hotel, which Murray managed once graduating from the U of S. Recognition of their gift was a way for them to continue their customer-first approach. The family’s donation will be recognized at the facility’s customer service centre.

“We had to support the community and hockey is a big factor at the U of S,” said Pauline. “People have been good to us—it’s time for us to repay the community. Our kids all went to university, and it’s so close we can just keep going and seeing this beautiful facility." 

Murray, who played Huskie football and served as business manager for the Huskie hockey team for two years under Dave King during his university years, echoed his mother’s statement.

“As far as I’m concerned, university hockey is the best hockey we have in Saskatoon, bar none,” he said. “We have a world-class university—we deserve to have some world-class facilities.”

He explained that a new facility like Merlis Belsher Place will enhance the viewing experience of campus hockey games, in the same way that enhancements to Griffiths Stadium in PotashCorp Park caused an uptick in attendance.

“When I played, we had parents and a few friends in the crowd watching. Now they can get about 7,000 people in there and they made a complete game event for the fans,” he recalled. “We have a football facility that is the jealousy of almost every other USport football program across the country. I think with this hockey rink, we will be considered one of the top hockey facilities across the country as well.”

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