Hat High renames gym after longtime basketball coach

It was a busy night last Friday at Medicine Hat High School with the stands full of students, parents and community members all dressed in purple for Purple Shirt Night in support of ALS research. The night started with a senior girls basket ball game, then a break to rename the gym, followed by a senior boys game.

Superintendent of the Medicine Hat Public School Division Mark Davidson took the floor between the two games to talk about renaming the Medicine Hat High School gym to the Boris Grisonich Athletic Centre.

Grisonich started coaching the Hat High boys basketball program in 1989 and after a couple years shifted to the girls program. Between 1994 and 2001, his teams won eight straight 4A South zone championships and tossed another one in 2003. There were also two 4A girls’ basketball provincial championships in 1996 and 1997. Through his career many players moved on to play at various post-secondary institutions across Alberta.

He was also coached at Medicine Hat College from 2005 to 2007 but left the program to focus on his duties as principal of Medicine Hat High, a position he took up in 2006.

“Aside from junior high, high school and college basketball, Mr. Grisonich has tirelessly built a basketball community in Medicine Hat along with his brothers Pat and Rob,” said Davidson.

Hat High was modernized in 2017 and the gym was an important part of the renovations. Grisonich spent lots of time working with the contractor. He also met with leaders in the community to raise millions of dollars to make the facility possible.

“This place isn’t all the legacy of Boris Grisonich and Medicine Hat public,” said Davidson. “This place is one of many gyms across the province where Boris’s family, including mom and dad, would come together in order to celebrate family, play, commitment, passion, honour and loyalty. The legacy Boris gives us is this place in part but it’s also about being a leader in our community.”

Grisonich retired a few years ago but has been helping coach the senior girls team this year.

“This is not something I dreamed of,” said Grisonich, who took the floor to applause, “I dreamed of making a facility that our kids would get to participate in.”

He went on to say Medicine Hat was a great place to raise kids and he was proud of that. He thanked the community, the board, central office and all teachers and staff at the high school.

“Finally, and really importantly, I wanted it to be named the Grisonich Athletic Centre because my mom and dad and two brothers are just outstanding people. I couldn’t have done any of this without them.”

SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News