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They went by the Kinosota Cougars starting in 1961, but the Parkland-based baseball team dates back to the mid-1930s when it was formed and played in exhibition games against teams from nearby communities. 

With a roster full of elite players who were dedicated to representing Kinosota with great pride, the Cougars became a team to watch out for, especially in the late 1960s and moving forward to the late 1970s. For years, the Cougars spent weekends travelling throughout the province competing in tournaments and any exhibition games that they could.

They would frequently go up against some of the best teams in the province and more often than not, the Cougars would come out on top. Don Asham was a member of the team and played with the Cougars for more than two decades.

Don stopped playing with the team in the late 1980s but still cherishes the amazing memories from that time.

"The thing that stands out most to me is the closeness and the unity of our entire group," said Asham. "Many of us were relatives and even if we weren't, we were all great friends. We also had such incredible support from family and friends. They hit the road every week to cheer us on."

As we look back at June of 1969. It was a month that to this day is still remembered as 'Cougar Month' by so many members of the team, including Don. Playing tournaments in Ste. Rose, Ashern, Glenboro, Morden, and everywhere in between, it was a month for the history books.

Playing in 28 games that month, the Cougars won 26 of them. 

"We had it all going for us, we had a great offensive team," offered Asham. "We could hit the long ball and play small ball. We also had great defence and great pitching. It was a great run for our team, I will never forget about that month."

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One year later in 1970 while Queen Elizabeth was in Manitoba for the province's Centennial celebration, Don and the rest of the Cougars were invited to play a game in front of the Queen in Portage la Prairie. Kinosota went up against the Portage Mallard all-star team in that game and the Cougars came out on top. 

They had one year prior won 26 of 28 games in a single month. Then they had the opportunity to play in front of royalty and they came to play. The Kinosota Cougars were receiving all the attention and rightfully so, Don and crew loved representing their community and were all outstanding ball players.

Don remembers seeing the Queen for the first time ahead of the game.

"That was quite special, we had a fantastic turnout. All of our players made a special effort to be at the game," said Asham. "It was an extremely special day and one that I will never forget."

The Cougars ultimately folded quite a few years ago, but their legacy lives on. On Saturday, June 15, the Cougars team from 1965-1970 will be inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame. Don was inducted to the HOF seven years ago with another team; however, this induction on Saturday is a step above in his eyes.

"It's a great sense of satisfaction, this one is much more special," offered Asham. "I played alongside so many special players and human beings. I think of Kinosota as my team. This means everything to me."

Following Saturday's induction ceremony in Winnipeg, Don will be in the stands on Sunday as the Winnipeg Goldeyes take on the Sioux City Explorers at the beautiful Blue Cross Park in Winnipeg's downtown. The Goldeyes will be wearing replica jerseys in honour of the Cougars. A large contingent of team supporters will be in attendance and Don's nephew will be throwing out the opening pitch.

It is set to be another afternoon to remember. Don's lucky number 14 jersey will be worn and he is excited to get his hands on it after the contest.

"Incredibly, this will be happening on Father's Day, what a great day it will be," said Asham.

On top of his achievements on the diamond with the Cougars, Don also cherishes the time spent with his daughter and son on the field as Don coached them both in the late 1970s and into the 1980s. Asham is a true family man.

"Family is everything to me, I grew up with fantastic parents," ended Asham. "I married into a large family and they are extremely close as well. I have lucked out and I feel so fortunate, family is everything to me."