Prestigious honour for North Okanagan sports icons
Three men known for their grit and determination in the NHL, one extraordinary female amateur golfer, four former world curling champions and a man who helped found the local swim club will be inducted into the Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame Nov. 2 in Vernon.
Highlighting the list as a builder is Ken Holland, already a B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame member who is entering his 15th season as general manager of the Detroit Red Wings. Holland, who started as a scout, is in his 29th year with the organization.
“Kenny said he is committed to being here for the induction ceremony whether there is a work stoppage or not,” said shrine director Roger Knox. “The Red Wings are in Calgary on the Thursday and the luncheon is on the Friday. We’re really excited to have Kenny able to join us.”
Since Holland was appointed to his current position in July 1997, the Red Wings have won more games (741) than any other NHL franchise. Under Holland’s watch the Red Wings have won three Stanley Cups (1998, 2002, 2008) and four Presidents’ Trophies.
Holland, 55, was named the NHL’s GM of the Decade (2000-09) by Sports Illustrated.com. after the Wings recorded their 11th straight 100-point season. He was executive director for Canada’s Olympic gold-medal men’s hockey team in 2010.
Brent Gilchrist, 45, of Vernon, who won the ‘98 Stanley Cup alongside Holland in Detroit, amassed 305 points in 792 NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota North Stars, Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators.
Eddie Johnstone, who played with Holland and the WHL Medicine Hat Tigers, went on to record 258 points in 426 games with the New York Rangers and Detroit.
Johnstone enters the Okanagan shrine having played in the 1981 NHL All-Star Game.
He produced back-to-back 30-goal seasons with the Rangers from 1980-82.
Jackie Little goes into the Hall of Fame after a scorching 20-year golf career which saw her win 17 individual international, Canadian and provincial golf championships.
Her latest title was acquired this past summer, winning her third B.C. Senior Women’s crown in five years, her eighth senior championship since turning 50 five years ago. She now lives in Port Alberni.
Brad Kuhn’s curling rink, winners of the 2000 World Junior title in Geising, Germany, will be inducted alongside his brother Ryan and teammates Kevin Folk (Kelowna) and Hugh Bennett (Salmon Arm). Brad is a teacher in Kelowna, while Ryan is a pilot in Vernon.
Joining Holland in the shrine is Keith Brewis, who used to work alongside Ken’s father, Rienie Holland, with B.C. Hydro.
Brewis, a former Vernon Good Citizen of the Year, was instrumental in getting the Vernon Kokanee Swim Club off the ground. He also helped the Sovereign Lake Nordic Ski Club for several years.
Tickets ($25) for the hall of fame banquet luncheon at the Schubert Centre, will be on sale soon at Ticket Seller.
The hall of fame committee also includes Ron Candy of the Vernon museum, teacher Chad Soon, retirees Donna Hall and Stu Robertson, and Morning Star sports editor Kevin Mitchell.