Athletics & Recreation

Reginald Joseph MacDougall


Inducted in 2006
Category: Athlete - Football and Hockey

A funny thing happened to Reginald Joseph MacDougall on his way to a job in the Halifax Shipyards in 1956. He was asked if he would like to play hockey, a game he loved and played very well as a goaltender with Halifax minor association teams, but after high school it was now time to seek gainful employment. That was before he met the legendary Father Michael J. (Buck) O'Donnell, a Jesuit priest and sports enthusiast with a vision of a new era for student-athletes at Saint Mary's University.

Father O'Donnell was a persuasive chap who helped to sell some skeptical university colleagues on the value of a greatly expanded, high quality varsity athletic program that would make Santamarian teams more competitive and consequently make the school more attractive to recruits. It was what he had in mind when he had his talk with Reg MacDougall and the process could not have started with a better example of a quality student-athlete. There were no guarantees of a degree and employment that was sure to follow, only the opportunity to become part of an exciting new program with equal emphasis on education and sports, in which one could not work without the other. It was the perfect fit for Reg MacDougall and, as events of the years from 1956-60 reveal, for the Saints (the original name of the sports teams at Saint Mary's – later to be known as "The Huskies').

Not only did the Saints get an outstanding varsity goaltender for four years but an athlete who also played junior, senior and intercollegiate football from 1957 to 1960 on a team that became Maritime junior champions in 1957. Reg MacDougall was among the major contributors to a Saint Mary's athletic renaissance that began in the late "50's under the first full-time athletic director, Bob Hayes, and evolved into a national university sports dynasty of both genders over the last half century.

Reg was among those who set the early standards of excellence for student-athletes now recognized internationally. He has fond personal memories of those humble beginnings at what was then the region's smallest university tucked away in the south end of Halifax. For instance in 1960, when the underdog Saints probably came of age by beating city rival Dalhousie Tigers for the Lobster Trap Trophy; then reaching the NSIHL final against St. F.X. for the first time since the 1940's. In his first year in the AFC the Saints finished third, finally gaining credibility.

Not the least of Reg MacDougall's memories is Bob Hayes' idea of "spring training" jobs as laborers at Halifax Transfer in the summer. "Extra practices in the fall one week prior to the school opening meant that 'day hops' had to live at the University. They were housed on the top floor of the borders wing that was as yet unfinished. This meant no walls, no bathrooms, just cots and dust". Most of all "playing before enthusiastic home crowds and beating X in their own rink"; certainly playing two university sports at a time when that was not only permissible, but expected.

After graduating with his Bachelor of Arts from Saint Mary's, Reg received his Bachelor of Education from Dalhousie and taught in the Halifax school system for four years, at St. Catherine's and St. Pat's, where he was assistant football coach. In 1966 he moved to Calgary where he met his wife, Pat, in Red Deer, and taught in the Alberta education system for the next 33 years, until 1995 when he retired. Reg was the SMU representative in Calgary for 25 years and two of his daughters have been involved in Saint Mary's basketball and field hockey as the MacDougall connection continued.

Few student-athletes of his time were as involved in all aspects of university life as Reg MacDougall who clearly displayed his time management skills handling many and varied and important assignments. Over the course of his four years, the English Major was also President of the Amateur Athletic Association, Treasurer of the Student Council, with commitments to intercollegiate hockey, football and volleyball. The man who once aspired to become a shipbuilder instead became one of the country's most respected educators. All because a Jesuit priest at Saint Mary's recognized something special about Reg MacDougall and made him one of the building blocks of a program in search of student-athlete excellence that is now well established.

Reginald Joseph MacDougall, a man of many athletic hats, the consummate Saint-Huskie and most worthy addition to Saint Mary's Sport Hall of Fame.

Portrait Artist: Barb Dorey
Portrait Art Photographer: Joe Chrvala

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