NeveHarms Bruce Saurs, the successful local businessman and avid sports fan who saved professional hockey for our city, has been named winner of the 1990 Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award.
Saurs' purchase of the debt-ridden Peoria Rivermen on July 1, 1989 began a success story beyond imagination that has brought the team to prominence on the Peoria sports scene. To immediately stabilize the team, Saurs signed a three-year lease with the Peoria Civic Center and a six- year affiliation with the NHL St. Louis Blues. Under his leadership, the team showed a profit in its first fiscal year of operation.
A life-long Peorian, Bruce graduated from Peoria High School where he lettered in baseball for three seasons, making two state tournament appearances. He returned to teach and coach at Peoria High after graduation from Bradley University. He was the head baseball mentor for six years, and also served as assistant in both basketball and football. From1950 to 1955 his baseball teams compiled an impressive record of 121-62, making two trips to the Illinois State High School Tournament.
In 1951, working with the late Ed Stonebock and Harold Llntz, Bruce was instrumental in helping to establish the first Little League Baseball Program in Peoria. He later followed in the footsteps of his father, the late Eddie Saurs, a 1968 Neve Harms winner, taking over as Manager of the
Cohen team in the Sunday Morning League for several seasons. He started playing A.M. ball at age 14 ending his career at age 21, when, as Bruce often states, "I built such a great team - I couldn't make it myself."
For the Peoria Rivermen, Bruce Saurs developed a marketing plan geared to good hockey, entertainment, and a family audience. The club drew a franchise record 190,000, and drew praise from League Commissioner Tom Berry.
So far, the 1990-1991 season has been an even bigger success story, highlighted by the 18-game winning streak that gave the Rivermen the longest winning streak in Professional Hockey history, while bringing to Peoria national media attention.
Bruce Saurs, the successful local businessman and avid sports fan who saved professional hockey for our city, has been named winner of the 1990 Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award.
1983 Elmwood Cross Country Team
Coach Tom Meyers (in back left), Left to right: Brian Opper, Curt Smith, Joe Harkness, Mitch Inskeep, Brian Miller, Jeff Kalteux, Todd Dewalt, Stan Johnson, Tracey Roberts, and Assistant Coach Greg Silzer.
The 1983 Elmwood Cross Country team could be compared to the flight of the Phoenix. The ’83 team rose from the ashes of a 106 point drubbing from number on ranked Erie at the Amboy invite to capture the state championship four weeks later. Elmwood defeated second place Erie 62 to 147 by putting three runners in front of Erie’s number one runner and seven runners in front of Erie’s number three runner. Elmwood had four all-staters and the fastest team composite time (all seven runners) in class A history. The Elmwood runners were Sr. Mitch Inskeep, 5th in 15:09; Jr. Joe Harkness, 16th in 15:16; So. Stan Johnson, 20th in 15:22; Jr. Curt Smith, 24th in 15:27; Jr. Jeff Kalteux, 37th in 15:44; Sr. Brian Miller, 43rd in 15:47; and Jr. Brian Opper, 45th in 15:50.