Locating Fort McMurray’s sports legends

Catch You on the Rebound

By Curtis J. Phillips, Connect Contributor

Curtis J. Phillips (left) talking sports with local sporting legends Compton Vigilance (centre) and Ruel Altares (right). Supplied photo

Curtis J. Phillips (left) talking sports with local sporting legends Compton Vigilance (centre) and Ruel Altares (right). Supplied photo

Between the two of them, more than 70 years of volunteering within the Fort McMurray community is accumulated.

Volunteering in not only quality, but quantity. A double whammy.

Sitting down for dinner with local legends Ruel Altares and Compton Vigilance recently, it is easy to see that they come from the same cloth.

Both are humble men. Both are well-respected in their faith communities.

Our sports community, from basketball to soccer, has benefited from the thousands of hours they have put forth into unlocking the age of spirit and enthusiasm in our youth.

Both believe in the power of one encompassing many and have passed on those lessons to their children… all community leaders in their own right.

For example, Dwayne Vigilance is coach of the Keyano Huskies women’s basketball team while Chantelle Altares is coaching at Norfort Gymnastics Association. Their siblings are also busy, busy in the local sporting world.
I first met these incredible gentlemen on the local hardwood in the early 1980s when they were great athletes in their own rights.

Compton, despite his diminutive size, would do layups from 20 feet out. A quicksilver guard.

Ruel was a born gunner. He led the local league in scoring one season averaging 30 points-per-game.

Both would venture into local high school coaching and officiating….giving daily of their time.

A quick walk down the Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame hallway at the Syncrude Sport & Wellness Centre, you should be able to pick their mugs out from the large murals showcasing various sports personalities in the community.

One day, they may be inducted into said WBSHF.
It is people like this who are the fabric of our community.
Most importantly, both men love to laugh and love to live.
May you have another 70 years of making our community great!


Keeping with great role models, another McMurrayite and former Challenge Cup athlete, Dr. Kellie Leitch, was on the cover of a recent MacLean’s Magazine.

She is now campaigning for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, while at the same time being one of handful of pediatric orthopedic surgeons in Canada.

Our local school boards and schools, highlight graduates in the field of entertainment and sports with notables actress Natasha Henstridge, singer Aaron Lines and retired athlete Chris Phillips, and rightfully so.

But we should also in our wisdom showcase people like Dr. Kellie Leitch and Dr. Peter Brown, a world leader in planetary astronomy.


Feeling sky high right now is Danny Dion who was in Bensalem, Pennsylvania recently, where he bear hugged a jockey.

Not a disc jockey, but a thoroughbred horse jockey as rider Eurico Rosa Da Silva rode Noholdingback Bear to a win at the $300,000 G3 Gallant Bob Stakes. Up next is the $1.5 million Breeder’s Cup.

This will be the third time for Dion attending the Breeder’s Cup with Bear Now and Fatal Bullet having run the turf there before.

It was back in 2002 that Dion bought his first racehorse for $5,000. Now, both with his own finances and partnerships, his Bear Stables Ltd, has claimed 437 races in 2,463 starts with earnings of $18.2 million.

Catch you on the rebound.

– Connect Weekly –