Just this past Saturday, The Morning Star had a chance to reminisce with Vernon Vipers owner Duncan Wray. It was at the Celebrate The Civic game against the Prince George Spruce Kings, the final Junior A game to be played in the Vernon Civic Arena, 80 years to the day the facility opened.
Wray, who died suddenly Thursday morning, was talking about his national championship teams of 1996 and 1999. He was laughing with 1999 captain Lennie Rampone. He was remembering a lot of the players who played in the Civic under his ownership from 1992 to 2000 before the team moved over to Kal Tire Place.
He was introduced to the crowd at the beginning of the game and received a large ovation. Why not? Since he bought the team in 1992, Wray’s teams have won seven BCHL titles and four Royal Bank Cup Canadian championships. At the end of the night, Wray – an avid photographer – took back the long lens he loaned Morning Star photographers on numerous occasions.
That was Wray in a nutshell.
He would give you the shirt off his back. He would walk around the Civic or Kal Tire Place and talk with fans and the media.
He might not have agreed with all the things written about him and the Vipers – and believe us, he let The Morning Star know – but he knew we had a job to do and respected that, as much as we respected him.
Wray continued on a winning tradition established by then Vernon Lakers owner Mel Lis, but also created his own legacy when the team became the Vipers in 1996. There has not been a more successful Junior A franchise in Canada in the last 26 years.
Rest in peace Duncan. Thank you for your amazing contribution to Vernon’s history.
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