Soccer Pioneer - Inducted 2020
If you are a promising soccer player in Alberta, you can probably trace some of your success back to Stan Wakelyn. Born in England, Stan moved to Calgary in 1905 and lived there until his death in 1976. Throughout the 1910s and 1920s, Stan, three of his brothers, and his father were members of the storied Calgary Hillhurst FC Soccer Club, which won the Canadian national championship in 1922, as well as three straight provincial championships from 1922-1924. Nicknamed “Porridge”, Stan was selected as one of the top 100 footballers as part of Canada’s soccer centennial and was a finalist for the Canadian Press’ Best in 50 Footballers (1900-1950). He was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame in 2017.
Stanley Yorke Wakelyn was born in Sutherland, England on May 29, 1890. In 1905, when Stan was 14 or 15, the family moved to Calgary, Alberta. In 1915, 24-year-old Stan enlisted for the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force, and served with the 31st Battalion during World War I. He was one of six Wakelyn boys to serve during the Great War, joining Ernest, Harold, Arthur, Herbert and Edwin. He played with Calgary Hillhurst FC both before and after the war.
In 1922, Calgary Hillhurst FC won the Dominion of Canada Football Championship over Toronto Ulster United FC, with Stan, a centre forward, serving as team captain. It was the only time in the championship’s first 60 years that it was won by a team hailing from Alberta. From 1922-24, Stan guided Hillhurst to three straight Bennett Shield provincial titles, and helped them qualify for the Connaught Series Playdowns (national championship) in 1924 and 1930. Stan also played on a Calgary all-star team that faced off against a number of international teams from England and Scotland that were touring Canada.
Away from the pitch, Stan worked for Canada Post for 38 years and was also a member of the Royal Canadian Legion No. 1 Branch.
In 1962, the Calgary Herald’s Dunc Scott said Stan was “probably the greatest centre forward this city has seen.”