I just got home from the ceremonies inducting Brian Burke, Bret Hull, Dennis Kearns and Bob Hall into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame here in Penticton BC. It was an absolutely amazing ceremony mc'd as usual by former BCTV sportscaster Bernie Pascal. This is an annual event sells out every year and this year was no different. Anybody that is able to come to this event should as you can mingle with current and past hockey dignitaries and players.
The most amazing part of this years event was the fact that Brian Burke brought the Stanley Cup with him. Everyone was able to see and actually touch the cup. It was a once in a lifetime experience for me being able to touch the holy grail of hockey for myself and get my picture taken with it. I was amazed to see all the damage that has happened to the cup over the years, all the dents dings and scratches. If you ever hear of the cup coming to your area don't miss it.
Before the ceremonies started I got the chance to meet Brian Burke. He is nice guy and a class act and actually took the time to talk to me. I didn't even ask him about anything regarding the Penner situation or anything else related to this offseason. I also got a picture taken with him and that was also quite a great experience.
There was a silent and live auction with quite a bit of hockey memorabilia donated by local organizations. Some of the hilights in the silent auction were a signed Bobby Lu (Roberto Luongo for those of you who don't watch Don Taylor on Sportsnet) goal stick, an autographed Wayne Gretzky Stanley Cup picture, an autographed Bobby Orr stick blade photo and puck as well as signed jerseys from Brendan Morrison, Brendan Shanahan, Ed Jovanovski, Justin Pogge and several other junior players. The live auction featured a Bobby Orr autographed allstar jersey which sold for only $2000, an autographed Scott Niedermayer jersey and five pucks used in the cup finals which went for $7300 as well as a second Niedermayer jersey and a pair of tickets to the Ducks game where they will raise the cup banner for $7000. Thanks to Mr. Burke for the Niedermayer jerseys and the Ducks Tickets.
Unfortunatly Bret Hull was not able to attend the ceremony but Ken Hitchcock accepted on his behalf and had quite a few interesting stories to tell about Bret when Hitch coached him with the Stars. He is quite a funny guy and knows how to tell a great story. Hull played all of his minor hockey in North Vancouver and player his junior in Penticton with the Knights where he scored 105 goals in a single season.
Bob Hall who was a referee in the NHL from 1979 to 1989 and is currently an NHL Officiating Manager was born in Penticton. He was introduced by current ref Rob Schick. It is good to see refs getting some recognition as all you normally hear is fans, players, and management giving them a hard time. Besides being a ref Bob also worked closely with the BC Amateur Hockey Association holding referee schools and instructor clinics. Besides Hall and Schick another ref was in attendance and that was Penticton's Steve Kozari who was just made a full time official.
Dennis Kearns who has a stellar career with the Canucks playing from 1971 for 10 seasons. He still holds the Canuck all time record for assists by a defenseman with 220 and tied for the lead in points with 321. If you ask anybody about who the best ever Canuck defenseman is, Kearns will be on or near the top of most lists. Besides a great NHL career he also played for Canada at the 1977 and 1978 World Hockey Championships.
The obvious star of tonights show was Brian Burke. He was inducted by his good friend and Canucks GM Dave Nonis. As usual Burke was not at a loss for words. He had high praise for Pat Quinn, who was also in attendance, for giving him his first job in hockey as the Canucks Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations. He and Quinn were instrumental in establishing the Canucks Alumni. Burke also had high praise for Nonis saying that he was the best hockey hire that he has ever made. He also mentioned the Penner situation. He didn't say much just that he was pissed off with the situation and with Kevin Lowe. Burke who is also very big in working in the community and with charities said that it is his duty to give back to the community whenever and wherever possible.
Other hockey personalities of note in attendace were Canucks alumni Stan Smyl, Orland Kurtenbach and Greg Adams. As well Leafs goaltending prospect Justin Pogge, who is also from Penticton, was there.
Proceeds from the night go to the BC Hockey Hall of Fame Foundation and the Canucks for Kids Fund.