Sydney Halter’s name is synonymous with sports in Canada. He was the first commissioner of the Canadian Football League, a role he held until 1968. While commissioner of the CFL he was appointed vice-chairman of the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission. He served the sport in that capacity from 1966 to 1971. During that tenure he compiled the rules of racing for the Commission.
In 1972 Halter was appointed chairman of the Manitoba Horse Racing Commission, a post he held until 1982. Under his care and guidance, both standardbred and thoroughbred racing grew and prospered in his home province. Thoroughbred racing at Winnipeg’s Assiniboia Downs expanded from 42 to 120 days. He was also responsible for the creation of the Manitoba Rural Harness Circuit. The 38 rural race days at the fairs were a fine complement to the 100-day harness meet conducted at Assiniboia. Many knowledgeable observers in Manitoba said if it were not for his foresight in establishing the Fair Circuit the major meet at Assiniboia could never have become a reality.
Halter, who was born in Winnipeg, in April, 1904, was a lawyer and helped organize the Winnipeg Blue Bombers football club in 1934. He was the club’s president in 1942. During World War II he joined the RCAF and following his discharge from the military became involved in football once more. In 1952 he was appointed deputy commissioner of the Western Interprovincial Football Union and named president the following year. When the western and eastern football leagues amalgamated in 1958 he was appointed commissioner. In 1924 Halter became involved in sports administration as the manager of the University of Manitoba hockey team. Halter was president of the Winnipeg Amateur Athletic Association Track and Field Club and later president of the Manitoba Athletic Union.
Halter was honored by numerous associations and was inducted into six halls of fame. He was honored by his country in 1977 when he was named an officer of the Order of Canada. He died in 1990 at age 85.