Saturday, July 26, 2014

What an honour

  • What a night! The Kelowna Rockets 2004 Memorial Cup championship team was inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame Friday night in Penticton. The Rockets - in the Team Category - were recognized for their 2-1 win over Gatineau, winning all four games at the four team tournament. Here are some of the highlites of the evening. 
  • Eleven players from the 2004 Memorial Cup winning team were there. Captain Josh Gorges, Shea Weber, Blake Comeau, Cam Paddock, Brett Palin, Darren Deschamps, Tyler Mosienko, Nolan Waker, Chris Ray, Justin Keller and Simon Ferguson.
  • The coaching staff was well represented as then head coach Marc Habscheid was joined by assistants Jeff Truitt, Ryan Huska, Larry Keating and Kim Dillabaugh.
  • Also on hand for the induction ceremony was Paul Mitchell and Bill Winters. These two gentlemen were co-chairs for the Kelowna Rockets bid committee for the 2004 Memorial Cup. The lawyer and accountant were rock stars during the teams presentation to WHL governors back in  November of 2002. They did enough to sway the governors to pick their bid over the one presented by the Vancouver Giants.
  • It was nice to see Gavin Hamilton Senior on the Rockets bus as we made our way down to Penticton for the ceremony. Hamilton SR. has been the chairman of the board for the Kelowna Rockets for 23 years. Hamilton SR. is the father of Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton. Hamilton SR. was presented the hall of fame plaque on stage from Calgary Flames President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke.
  • One of the highlites of the evening was the speech given by captain Josh Gorges. It didn't surprise me that Gorges pulled it off like a true pro. The Buffalo Sabres defenceman spoke straight from the heart and didn't read a word of what he said. 
  • Gorges had one word to describe the Kelowna Rockets organization. 'Class' was the word he used. The now 29 year-old also paid tribute to athletic therapist Scott Hoyer. Gorges spoke glowingly about Hoyer, a trainer that every player loves. Hoyer was a friend. Hoyer provided a listening ear. Hoyer gave advice to the players when they asked. It was nice to see Hoyer recognized in that way for being the bridge between the players and the coaching staff and being more than just an employee who tapes ankles and orders new sticks. I thought it was a great tribute to Hoyer, who is quietly going about his business behind the scenes.
  • Among the heavy hitters from the NHL that were in attendance were Brian Burke, Trevor Linden (President of the Vancouver Canucks), Patrick LaForge (Oilers President and COO), Bob Nicholson (Oilers Vice Chairman) and Brad Treliving (GM Calgary Flames) to name a few.
  • Speaking of Linden, is there any NHL upper management type more accessible than him? Since taking on his role with the Canucks, Linden is a p-r machine. The ex-Canuck captain was offering himself up in the auction portion of the Hall of Fame ceremony last night where fans could bid on a package that including dinner before a Canucks game with him. He also sweetened the pot half way through the bidding process by allowing the winning bid to meet two players after the Canucks game. It seems that Linden has been given the green light to do whatever he wants to do to get the fans back on their side.
  • Maybe Linden realizes that Canuck fans in BC are fading. An auction package at the ceremony last night for the Calgary Flames went for more than the Canucks package. To be fair, the Flames package did include flights to the game. The Canucks did not.
  • Congratulations to colleague Dan Russell for picking up the first ever Bernie Pascall award. It will be given yearly for broadcasting excellence in BC.  
  • On the ride back home on the Rockets bus, it was interesting talking to Josh Gorges about his fallout with the Montreal Canadiens. That will remain confidential. It was also pretty cool to see him wearing his 2004 Memorial Cup ring with pride.

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