The B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame brought six new members into its elite family this year.
The 1997-98 South Surrey Eagles were the 18th team to join the Hall of Fame. During their season, they took 43 wins and only 15 losses, before going through the playoffs with a 12-1 record through three series. They would defeat the Penticton Panthers in the BCJHL final to make it to the provincial championships, where they defeated the Cranbrook Colts.
They would go on to defeat the Albertan St. Albert Saints, and then the Weyburn Red Wings to win the RBC Cup. For the team, the induction was an honour, and a chance to remember those who made their victories possible but had passed on before they could be at the ceremony.
“There are some people I’d like to acknowledge, that aren’t here today,” said Mark Holick, the head coach for the team in 1997
“I was hired by a man named Cliff Annable. On February, as we were announced for our induction at Rogers Arena, Cliff and I, and Willie -our captain, Chris Wilson and John Short the assistant coach went down for the announcement. He was so excited to have that induction, and he was so looking forward to being here today.
“Unfortunately, Cliff passed shortly thereafter.”
The Hall of Fame is not only about the players and teams who make an impact on the ice, but also recognizing those whose work outside the game. The late Karen Wallace, who passed away in March last year, was recognized and welcomed into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame for her tireless work in advancing the cause for women’s hockey, not only in B.C., but across Canada.
“Female hockey in 1990, 1990, had 8,100 registered players in Canada. In 2018, we had 87,000. In the United States, they have 75,800, almost equal,” said Karen’s husband Norm Wallace.
“Karen would really be pleased (with) this past world hockey championships, where Russia was in the medal round, they lost to Canada who got the bronze. But being pleased because you were playing Canada. For her, it was making everybody compete. Everybody was there competing. That was the key, competition. Spread the game.”
Long-time B.C. hockey scout Ron Delorme was recognized for his commitment to the sport, and for his work encouraging and advocating for First Nations youth. Delorme played for the Kansas City Scouts, the Colorado Rockies and the Vancouver Canucks. After retiring, he continued to work with the Canucks as an amateur scout and is now Vancouver’s chief amateur scout.
“I’ve been inducted here as a builder, and you can build in different ways,” said Delorme. “Coaching, management, or in other off-ice roles. And as a builder, I hope that I contributed to the foundation of the game, by scouting players for the Canucks for 33 years. Scouting players is a long, gruelling decision, it’s a process that requires diligence and study.”
Trail-native Barret Jackman was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player, having played with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks and winning the Cyclone Taylor Cup, and then with the Trail Smoke Eaters in the BCHL. In his first season in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues, he would win the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year. Jackman has represented Canada at both the World Juniors, and the World Championships.
“You know, growing up in B.C. you watch the Canucks, and you play against a lot of great competition,” said Jackman.
“You know, Trail Smoke Eaters cut me a couple times I think, so it’s great that you mentioned them. But I have great memories of playing in Junior B, and the Vancouver Super Series, and a lot of things that I’ve done in this province.”
A product of Penticton minor hockey, Shane Heyer began officiating games at the age of 11. He joined the BCHL at 16, and the WHL by 19. He became a full-time NHL linesman in 1988, going on to officiate 2,016 regular-season games and 214 playoff games, including multiple Stanley Cup Finals, and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Heyer retired in 2018, and is one of few officials to have officiated NHL games as both a referee and linesman.
“For 30 years I had the pleasure to go on the ice with the best players and the best officials in the world,” said Heyer. “As I said at my last game, the players are getting younger and faster, and my skill-set’s going the other way, so it’s time for me to move along.”
The final inductees are a pair that need no introduction to a B.C. hockey fan: two legends of the Vancouver Canucks, Henrik and Daniel Sedin. The twins were in Sweden with their families and unfortunately unable to attend the dinner. Accepting on their behalf were former Canuck Stan Smyl, and Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster Jim Hughson.
Even if they couldn’t make the dinner in person, the Sedins were there in spirit, with a recorded speech played on the screens for the audience.
“We grew up in a small town in Northern Sweden called Örnsköldsvik, roughly the population of Penticton. It’s located next to the ocean, it’s beautiful year-round, and people there are passionate about hockey. Sound familiar right? What I remember most about being in such a special place growing up was that people cared about the welfare of others, and were there to help one another,“ said Daniel Sedin.
“We’re grateful to have learned those values and be from that community. Luckily for us, we were drafted by a team, and welcomed to a much larger city and province, that shares the same values (of) respect, responsibility and compassion.”
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