Inducted November 7, 1981
Gus Soper, a name synonymous with hockey throughout Newfoundland especially in Buchans and Central Newfoundland, was born February 15, 1908 in Freshwater, Carbonear. He moved to Grand Falls in 1917 where he started his love affair with hockey. He played club hockey with the Scouts as a goaltender, winning a championship in 1927; played goal for Grand Falls against Buchans in 1930. He also participated in other sports, as a catcher for the Scouts baseball team and in track as a sprinter.
In 1935, he moved to Buchans upon securing employment as a timekeeper at the Buchans mine. He immediately became associated with sports and devoted his spare time to hockey, baseball, track and field, working mainly with the youth. From 1945 to 1966, he acted as treasurer of the Buchans Social and Athletic Club, an organization that sponsored and fostered all sporting activities in Buchans until 1966.
Gus was manager of the Buchans Senior Hockey team from 1945 to 1970 and was instrumental in producing many excellent hockey teams, winning the Herder Memorial Trophy five times. He was also instrumental in bringing imports to Buchans in 1948 for senior hockey, thus establishing a trend that invigorated and improved the standard of senior hockey in Newfoundland for decades. Gus also acted as manager of the Buchans Stadium from 1960 to 1973.
He and the late Jimmy Hornell organized minor hockey in Buchans in 1954 and Gus remained active in minor hockey until his retirement in 1973. Although working fulltime with the mining company, Gus spent countless hours after work and on weekends, winter and summer, encouraging, counselling, and working with the youth of the community in all types of endeavors.
Gus acted as the Buchans delegate to the N.A.H.A. from 1944 until 1970 and became an expert on the N.A.H.A. constitution. He was also Central Vice-Chairman for senior hockey a number of times. Gus made the motion that the N.A.H.A. should affiliate with the C.A.H.A. His most memorable moments are winning the “Herder” for the first time and crashing in a Beaver aircraft with four members of the Buchans Senior Hockey team on a return trip from a hockey series in Corner Brook.
He will long be remembered by the people of Buchans for his dedication to the community and his work; his honesty, his straightforwardness; and for always being dependable.