Don & Ethel Hlewka – Builders
Prince Albert’s Minto Bowl has been a second home for thousands of Prince Albert residents for over 50 years since Don & Ethel Hlewka took over the operation in 1968. Family has always been the theme for the Hlewka’s and it has resulted in a lifetime of memories for many at Minto Bowl.
In 1967 Don & Ethel began negotiations with Art Swift to purchase the original location of Minto Bowl: 154 – 8th Street. However, before the final deal was reached a fire damaged the alleys. Don told Swift if he rebuilt the alleys he would buy them. That transaction was completed in April, 1968 and Don & Ethel became the owners of Minto Bowl which featured 11 mixed leagues, 1 men’s league and the introduction of the Youth Bowling Council.
In 1983, with the popularity of bowling and expanding numbers, the Hlewka’s would move to a much larger location beside Superstore. This new facility would include 20 lanes and the opportunity to modernize. The Hlewka’s always wanted to stay on top of new trends in the industry to keep bowlers coming back and attracting new ones, so they would make improvements over the years. This included new seating, a lounge, computerized scoring and overhead monitors showing scores, and the ever-popular Saturday Night Glow Bowling! During a 6-year period in the 80’s YBC bowling was at an all-time high at Minto Bowl with over 400 youth taking part each week.
With Superstore eyeing expansion, and looking to purchase the alley, Don looked to buy the land where North American Lumber was located on 13th Street East. So, in 2004, another new location was purchased allowing the Hlewka’s to expand again, and introduce the Minto Bowl Recreation Centre. The new location includes 20 lanes and allows for more recreational activities for families.
Prince Albert YBC bowlers prospered out of Minto Bowl with no less than 68 provincial champions and 19 National medalists: 3 gold and 16 Silver & Bronze coming from P.A. Don would serve 9 years as the Chairman of the Youth Bowling Council in Saskatchewan. Across Canada, Minto Bowl ranked 2nd or 3rd for YBC registration for 17 years.
Minto Bowl was the pride and joy of Don & Ethel. Since Ethel’s passing in January, 2018. Don Sr. has been joined on the staff by his son Derek, and Derek’s son Mark in providing a high quality, family-friendly bowling facility in Prince Albert.
Don & Ethel Hlewka are inducted into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame together in the builders category.