Original Pioneer George “Juice” Hall to be inducted into American Football Hall of Fame
By Cassie Kickert

The good news just keeps coming for the St. Paul Pioneers, who play the North Texas Longhorns for what would be their second national championship in Daytona Beach, Florida, on January 19.

Pioneers President Chris Kelderman decided it was time to recognize all the valuable contributions George Hall, aka “Juice”, has made to the team over the years. What better way to do that than to nominate him for induction into the American Football Hall of Fame?

So, shortly after the season ended, Kelderman did just that. Hall accepted the nomination and, about a week ago, Kelderman sent Hall a text message saying “Congrats!” Hall asked him what he was talking about. Hall was so busy working as a Surgical Software Analyst, he had not had time to check his e-mail yet. Kelderman also got an e-mail notification saying Hall had been accepted for induction because he was the one who nominated Hall.

How does it feel to be the first Pioneer in the Hall of Fame?

“Bittersweet” was the word Hall used to describe how he felt. He said other Pioneers, like the recently retired Damien Rochon-Washington and Guillaume Paek and defensive line coach Jim Walsh, should also be in the Hall of Fame.

Kelderman said he isn’t surprised that is how Hall felt. He has known Hall for a long time and said, “For as out-going as he is, George is very humble and knows everything that others have given to the Pioneers.”

In fact, the Pioneers wouldn’t exist today were it not for Hall. He stepped in as owner of the team as it was about to disband before the 2008 season. Hall is the one who brought the Pioneers to national recognition, according to Kelderman, as the team reached the NAFL Elite Eight in 2008 and won the NAFL National Championship over the Nashville Storm in 2009. Success seems to follow him wherever he goes. Hall also won championships with the former Minneapolis Lumberjacks.

“Without George, semi-pro football would not be the same in the Twin Cities,” Kelderman said.