Noun: 1. Great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle. “The medals are awarded for acts of valour.”
Nothing exemplifies courage, honour, and heroism more than the story of three young Winnipeg men who lived on the same quaint street in the West End in the days leading up to World War I.
The three neighbours enlisted together for the barbaric war. Only one came home.
Yet, Corporal Leo Clarke,Sergeant-Major Frederick William Hall, and Lieutenant Robert Shankland would be connected for eternity through the highest military honour in the British Empire – The Victoria Cross – and their “human gallantry in the presence of the enemy.”
Corporal Clarke was honoured for his heroism on the Somme Front in 1916, killing or capturing 18 German soldiers and two officers, but was killed by enemy shell fire two months later.
Sergeant-Major Hall refused to leave three wounded soldiers behind in the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915, rescuing two of them but dying while attempting to pull a third to safety.
Lieutenant Shankland’s platoon was taking heavy enemy fire in the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, but he managed to reach battalion headquarters before returning with reinforcements for a counter-attack. He was the only of the three Winnipeg men to survive the war.
Their heroism led to the renaming of Pine Street to Valour Road in their honour in 1925.
Theirs is a Canadian story that resonates from coast to coast, but is proudly owned by Winnipeg.
This story of valour, of heart, of strength and fearlessness in the face of danger embodies the very traits that make Manitobans the beating heart of the nation. Winnipeg is more than just the geographical centre of North America, it is the very heart of our continent. The people here are tough, hard-working and honest, and they are among the most generous in the country.
This is the common thread that runs through the veins of those who have called Manitoba home through thousands of years: courage and togetherness in the face of adversity.
Clarke, Hall and Shankland’s remarkable story of heroism occurred over 100 years ago, but their courage, honour and pride will never be forgotten.
For Valour, for Winnipeg.
Inspiration of Crest
Designed to be reminiscent of a military medal, the Valour FC logo and crest draw their inspiration from the Victoria Cross and military medals of honour and recognition: The ‘V’ emulates the folded ribbon of a military medal, and the circle below the ‘V’ is the shape of the medal itself.
But further to the initial inspiration, the logo and crest are truly Manitoban, with the centre of the ‘V’ representing the geographical meeting point of the Red River and Assiniboine River – a location that has long defined this city. Similarly, the crest’s shape mirrors the merging of the two rivers, with the three lines representing the Red River, and the two lines representing the Assiniboine River.
The right side of the ‘V’ also creates a ‘W’ – for Winnipeg of course, and also a nod to the Blue Bombers.
The logo was designed to be clean and modern, but at the same time incorporate the city’s rich soccer history by using parts of former crests. The maroon circle is a tribute to the banner on the Victoria Cross, which was awarded to the men who inspired the team’s name.
The arc of wheat at the top of the crest symbolizes the thriving agriculture industry that has been a mainstay in the province and has grown into an iconic Manitoban symbol, the province being blanketed with golden wheat fields in the summer months.
Inspiration of Colours
The striking swatch is a nod to the story of three soldiers from Winnipeg’s Valour Road, back when it was known as Pine Street. Awarded the Victoria Cross for their show of bravery in World War I, the ribbon from which their medals hung is the deep maroon of Valour FC’s identity.
The gold represents the golden hue of the prairies from expansive wheat fields stretching as far as the eye can see, hence its name – Wheat Gold.
The eye-catching Golden Boy standing prominently atop the Manitoba Legislative Building is also, in part, the inspiration for the shade. Modelled after Mercury, the statue was sculpted in France in 1918 but was taken on a detour as its cargo ship was commandeered for use in World War I. The torch in its hand is a call to the youth of the region to join in his pursuit of a prosperous future.
And from the rich black soil grows the golden wheat, hence the third and final colour making up the palette for Valour FC – Earth Black.
Manitoba was a pioneering province in the early years of Canadian soccer; not only was the first meeting of the Canadian Soccer Association held here in 1912, but the first two official national champions resided in the province.
The Norwood Wanderers of St.Boniface won the first two Connaught Cup championships -awarded to the national champions – in 1913 and 1914. Winnipeg Scottish were also perennial powerhouses, joining United Weston teams in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
The city’s professional history in the sport is not extensive, but the Canadian Soccer League’s Winnipeg Fury did provide the community with a championship in 1992, after shocking the mighty Vancouver 86ers in a two-game series.
The Fury name still resonates in the Canadian soccer community to this day, and Valour FC’s valour-maroon stripe is inspired by the CSL club. The Fury debuted at University Stadium at the University of Manitoba before moving to the old Winnipeg Stadium.
In more recent years, Winnipeg has provided Canada with multiple soccer professionals, including Internationals Desiree Scott and Tony Nocita, pioneer builder Fred Stambrook, and one of the country’s most decorated FIFA officials, Hector Vergara.
Valour FC aspires to help grow that list.
There are 12 Manitoba teams in total who have won either the Connaught Cup or the Challenge Cup, both presented to the national champs:
- Hellas SC, 2009
- Sons of Italy (FV Winnipeg Lions), 2002
- Lucania SC, 2000, 1987
- Manitoba Selects, 1970
- AN&AF Scottish, 1962, 1954
- United Weston FC, 1926, 1924
- Winnipeg Scottish, 1915
- Norwood Wanderers, 1914, 1913
President & CEO
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Wade Miller played eleven years in the Canadian Football League and is a member of the Winnipeg Football Club’s Hall of Fame. The former University of Manitoba Bison is also a business leader, an entrepreneur and has been previously recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40, which recognizes young achievers in Canadian business who are both visionaries and innovators. Miller became the President & CEO of the Winnipeg Football Club in 2013 and looks forward to leading Valour FC and bringing a new sport and club to Investors Group Field.
Winnipeg’s newest pro sports club is a not-for-profit community organization led by a volunteer board of directors. The board of directors is a governance board and they will work directly with the club’s President & CEO, Wade Miller, to build a successful and sustainable organization that brings professional soccer to Manitoba. Valour FC will create new opportunities for aspiring local players to play professional soccer in our community, and will give all Manitobans a chance to cheer on our hometown soccer team.