Early Red Wings coach, ball player passes away

One of the earliest coaches of the Weyburn Red Wings, and a member of an athletically-active family in Weyburn, Jack Shupe, died on April 10 at the age of 89 in Medicine Hat, Alta.

Shupe was born and raised in Weyburn, and growing up as the youngest of four brothers was an active ball player for a few seasons with the Weyburn Beavers.

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At the start of his coaching career, Shupe coached the Weyburn Red Wings for three seasons, from 1963 to 1966, before moving on to success in the WHL where he coached teams to the WHL championship twice.

“Jack left his mark on the WHL as one of the winningest coaches in league history while capturing WHL championships in both Medicine Hat and Victoria,” said WHL commissioner Ron Robison.

He coached the Regina Pats before coaching for six seasons for the Medicine Hat Tigers as their first head coach, with a record of 228-192-51. He then coached the Victoria Cougars for five seasons and never had a losing record in Victoria, amassing a record of 222-116-22.

While behind the bench for the Cougars, he was named the Coach of the Year for the 1977-78 season, splitting the honour with Dave King who was then coach of the Billings Bighorns.

Shupe is 10th on the all-time WHL list of coaches with 466 wins. His best-ever season was in 1980-81 with the Cougars, when they racked up 60 victories, which still stands as the most wins by a WHL and Canadian Hockey League team in a season.

He ended his coaching career with the Langley Eagles in the B.C. Hockey League, and the Lloydminster Lancers of the SJHL.

A funeral service for Jack Shupe will be held in Medicine Hat on Saturday, May 4.