Leible Hershfield became a track & field star at Isaac Newton Junior High School where he was a gold medalist in the 1924 Winnipeg High School Track & Field championship. At the age of 16, Hershfield began his softball career at the senior level with the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA) team. After playing 27 consecutive seasons, Hershfield’s playing days ended in 1952 as a member of the Western Canadian Champion Ukrainian Canadian Veterans team.
Hershfield also played soccer for the YMHA and several non-Jewish teams from 1924-45. In 1930, Hershfield received a Gold Medal Award from the Winnipeg and District Amateur Football League as acknowledgement of his outstanding performances. In 1936 & 1945, he was chosen to represent Manitoba against touring European teams. For over 40 years, this sports enthusiast also participated in the Winnipeg Recreation Ten Pin Bowling League. An accomplished gymnast, Hershfield also played/coached volleyball and basketball.
Leible Hershfield’s name has had an honourable association with the growth and development of the YMHA. He was appointed Physical Education Director in 1936 and served the membership until 1942. After the YMHA’s relocation to new premises in 1952, Hershfield was lured and remained until his retirement in 1974. This caring instructor conducted hydrotherapy classes at the YMHA and HMCS Chippewa for polio patients following the devastating epidemic of the 1950’s. In 1970, Hershfield received a Manitoba Centennial Medal for his work in physical education. In 1975, he was named to the YMHA’s Board of Governors and elected a life member. The most important acknowledgements of Hershfield’s athletic abilities came when he was selected as the “Best Jewish Athlete of the Half Century 1919-1969” and when he was named “Jewish Athlete of the Century” in 2000.
b. August 30, 1909
d. June, 1999