Allan “Whitey” Carlson has been called “Mr. Basketball” in Manitoba and was an entrepreneur, in every sense of the word. Between 1948 and 1953, he took basketball and shook some life into it and actually made it an attraction.
The Civic Auditorium at the corner of St. Mary’s and Memorial Blvd. was where Winnipeggers gathered long before they invented The Forks, and it was a lot of fun. Carlson had the basketball team, the Paulins, and Jack Shapira had the band, a 12-piecer, and the union made beautiful music. They shot hoops and danced the night away every Saturday, at the Aud meanwhile keeping the Paulins team together with gate receipts.
When Paulins played the Vancouver Cloverleafs in a three-game Western Canada Championship series at the Aud they drew 9,000 fans, and all because of the inimitable Carlson entrepreneurship. When Paulins needed $7,000 to get to Brazil for the World Championships, “Whitey” organized donkey baseball games, auto races, halftime entertainment at Bomber games, and he also had the savvy to ask Eddie Cass, “Mr. Baseball”, for help. Between the two of them, they got it done.
It was vintage Carlson, all the way. His passion for basketball knew no bounds, and neither did his energy. His hoops started at Kelvin High, then onto Toiler Juniors, then Toiler Seniors, one thing led to another and he wound up forming Paulins, which was easy because his firm, Paulin Chambers, agreed to pay the bills. Paulins operated three teams simultaneously - Junior, Senior B and Senior A. The Senior A’s won a National Championship. Player-Manager for King’s Best. One of the founders of the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame, “Whitey” Carlson refereed Senior and Varsity games for 12 years.
b. November 14, 1919