Skip to content

Boxing coach Ken Scullion joins Sports Hall of Fame after decades fighting for the kids

Lac La Biche Boxing Club founder recognized for one-two combination of compassion and care

LAC LA BICHE – Over the years, the name Ken Scullion has become synonymous with the Lac La Biche Boxing Club. The name will soon be engraved into the Lac La Biche County Sports Hall of Fame. 

Surprise and disbelief were Scullion’s first reactions when he found out that he was one of the latest inductee into the Hall of Fame. “I was shocked about it,” he told Lakeland This Week, a few days before he and fellow inductee Randy Wowk were officially honoured at last Friday night's Portage College scholarship fundraising gala.

"I was overwhelmed about the whole thing, and I certainly appreciate the people who nominated me. I’m humbled about it all,” said Scullion who has been ring-side with local boxers for more than 40 years. 

Scullion's nomination highlighted his dedication not only to the sport of boxing, but to local youth

While he's pleased to be recognized, he's never been in it for his own spotlight. 

 “It was just more about giving back to some of the youth in our community here in Lac La Biche... it just happened to be through boxing.” 

The Beginning 

Scullion always had an interest in boxing, but it was around the mid-1980s when the Northern Alberta Winter Games were to be hosted in Lac La Biche, that he agreed to host the boxing events. He also created the local boxing club, so local boxers could compete in the Games.

"I said, if we’re going to coordinate it and have boxing here, wouldn’t it be nice if we had some Lac La Biche kids?”

The club began with less of a goal of creating good fighters and more to give the area's youth an outlet to learn a disciplined sport, get healthy and keep busy.

The club started with humble beginnings, using the gym in the Vera M. Welsh Elementary school as its home base, with Scullion and a few members bringing equipment to the school for each practice. “We eventually got a heavy bag —  and would carry it into the gym... that’s where we started.” 

For years, there was “very little support,” and they had to fight for survival. Club members worked bingos and held bottle drives to raise enough funds to go on trips for boxing tournaments, in addition to buying equipment and other necessities. 

Scullion's passion for the sport and his desire to help the young male and femal athletes was part of a winning combination that rolled with the punches, eventually leading to a permanent home in the basement of the old Jubilee Hall.

“We've eventually evolved into a full-fledged club, and we were down in the Jubilee Hall in Lac La Biche for quite a few years with a very small space,” he said.

The space might have been small, but the club's reputation was growing. Scullion helped to coach and train several regional, provincial and national champions, giving the Lac La Biche Boxing Club impressive credential and respect in the sport.

Some of the family names from the region who have represented the club include a few Laboucanes, a Kruk or two, current co-coach Jeremy Trimble, Chris Murphy and national amateur heavyweight champion Willard Lewis.

The hard work to create strong boxers and a strong club foundation has continued to help the program expand. The club was ready to move into a new Bold Center location when the Lac La Biche recreation complex was built in 2011.

When the Bold Centre was built, “we worked with the County to try and get a space there and they gave us one," he said, proud of the new location ... and the fight to get there.

Working with youth 

The club continues to attract young athletes in the community, said Scullion. Many of the club's members look forward to the stability and the attention shown by their coaches. The club also does all it can to help fund or sponsor some youngsters who otherwise might not have an opportunity to join a sports team.

"Some just just don’t have the same opportunities as other youths in community,” said Scullion, who instills guidelines and codes of respect for all of his boxers.

“My only rules are that they follow the rules... and that they’re dedicated... that they put in an effort.” 

Not everybody is going to be a Canadian boxing champion, but the benefits of the club go beyond competition, he said, explaining that there are kids who have been involved with the club for years, but chose not to compete. They train and learn, “but the club became a place for them to be... It’s big family,” he said proudly.  

The boxing club has given young athletes something positive to focus on, helping and motivating them to become better citizens. 

"There’s benefit from it for me as well,” he said. “I have built long-lasting relationships as far as friendships go,” not only with the members of the club, but with other coaches and boxers within the boxing community - despite the rivalry in the ring. 

When asked what keeps inspiring him, Scullion said it’s simple - “The kids motivate me. There are so many kids that have gone through the program that don’t have a real role model in their life for whatever reason... and we try to display that as best as we can so that they do have one.” 


Scullion thanked his family — his wife Mary, and his children — for supporting him over the years,  

He is also thankful for ongoing support from the Lac La Biche community. Support from groups like KidSport has helped many youth with fees in boxing and other sports.

According to Scullion, there would not be a club if it was not for the community’s support to help keep it running. 

“It’s a place for kids to burn off energy and focus. It’s a safe place for kids.” 

Staci Lattimer, manager of recreation and culture with the Lac La Biche County said Scullion has been a long-standing, dedicated, and diverse volunteer within the sports sector in the Lac La Biche community. 

Lattimer is also responsible for the Lac La Biche County Sports Hall of Fame, who makes the recommendations to County council to formally induct nominees who meet eligibility requirements. “[Scullion] had multiple residents support his nomination and provide letters of recommendation which was awesome to see,” said Lattimer. 

Mario Cabradilla

About the Author: Mario Cabradilla

Read more