|Mark Recchi, who played 22 NHL seasons and won three Stanley Cups greets Bruce Judd during FridayÕs B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee ceremony at the South Okanagan Events Centre.|
"It was here that I started to develop as a player under coach Gary Davidson," said the Vancouver native, who was one of six inductees at the 2013 B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame dinner and ceremony at South Okanagan Events Centre on Friday.
This year's class included, Marc Crawford, Mark Recchi, Nancy Wilson, Colin Patterson and the 1993-94 and 1994-95 Kamloops Blazers.
Kariya said he's enjoyed returning to Penticton to visit with some old friends and see some familiar faces.
"It's amazing how much the city has grown, obviously the new facility here, it's world-class," he said.
In his second year with the Panthers, Kariya was named Canadian Junior A player of the year.Ê He went on to play for Maine and helped lead the Bears to an NCAA championship in 1993 and was named NCAA player of the year.
He began his NHL career with the Anaheim Ducks, where he remained with for nine seasons and played alongside Teemu Selanne. ÊIn 2003, the Ducks made it to the Stanley Cup finals but lost to the New Jersey Devils.
"Teemu made me a better player and a better person," said Kariya, a two-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy as the league's most gentlemanly player.
Kariya won a gold medal with Team Canada in 2002 in Salt Lake City.
After suffering a series of concussions, Kariya was forced to retire in 2010.
He also played for the Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and St. Blues.
In 989 games in the NHL, he had 989 points and registered 402 goals.
Recchi, from Kamloops, played 22 seasons in the NHL with career stats that included 1,652 games played (fourth overall) and 1,533 points (12th).
Recchi played for the Kamloops Blazers from 1986-88 and began his career with the Penguins in the 1988-89 season.
He closed out his career in 2011 as a member of the Stanley-Cup winning Boston Bruins. He also won cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.
Recchi said he was extremely fortunate to play for seven teams in his career with some of the best players in the game.
"It's something I'll never forget," he said.
As one of four boys, he recalled there was lots of rough-housing which led to "lots of holes in the walls."
He thanked his parents for their support while he was growing up playing minor hockey, calling his mom, "my biggest supporter" and his dad, "his best buddy" and "an incredible guy."
Wilson, the first female to be inducted began playing hockey at age 12 in the 1970s when the idea of a girl playing hockey was relatively unusual.
"When I began hockey . . . I could've never imagined the journey I'd have," said Wilson. "I'm proud to be the first female. This award is a celebration for all of us who've been involved in the game."
Wilson talked about honing her skills by taking shots on her brother at home.
"He was a pretty good goalie, so I had to be a pretty good shooter," she said.
She was captain of the University of Western Ontario and later embarked on her coaching career.
She is a former head coach of the UBC Thunderbirds, coach of Team B.C. at the Canada Winter Games and was an assistant coach with Canada's Women's Team at the Four Nations Cup and World Championships.
Wilson said she was fortunate to witness the development of the women's game into a highly organized sport.
"Having the chance to work with Team Canada is as big a thrill as you can imagine," she said.
Crawford was with the Canucks' organization between 1981-1989 and scored a total of 19 goals in his career before getting into coaching with the Cornwall Royals of the Ontario Hockey League.
He coached in the American Hockey League with the St. John's Maple Leafs and received the league's coach of the year award in 1992.
He joined the ranks of the NHL in1995 and in 1996 he coached the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup. Two years later Crawford was coach for Team Canada in the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
"I thought I was inducted as a playerÑI really did," joked Crawford, who added that between himself, Kariya and Recchi, "We have more than 1,000 goals."
Crawford was also a member of the Canucks' magical Stanley Cup run in 1982 under coaches Harry Neale and Roger Neilson.
"I learned so much from that team, about winning with character," he said.
He eventually returned to the Canucks as head coach midway through the 1998-99 season and remained there until 2006 when he was replaced by Alain Vigneault.
"I was really blessed with having good players during my time there," said Crawford, noting the likes of Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi. Ê"Hockey is a great game. It brings you to places you like and introduces you to great people."
Colin Patterson's contribution came as both a player and a coach.
In 1965, he won an NCAA championship with Michigan Tech and later played with the Kimberley Dynamiters.
His coaching resume included the Swiss Elite League, assistant coach with Memorial Cup champion Kootenay Ice as well as Canada's coach at the Spengler Cup and Izvestia Championships and he wrote a an acclaimed Lesson Plan for the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association.
Patterson admitted when he initially heard he was going to be an inductee, he admitted he thought it was the victim of a practical joke at the expense of his friend, Ernie Gare.
"I'm most proud of those players that have gone on to play in the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League," he said.
Any player who has been part of a Memorial Cup-champion team can attest to the determination and fortitude it takes to win one.
The Kamloops Blazers managed to accomplish the feat two years in a row under head coach Don Hay, who was inducted into the BCHHF in 2008.
Some of those who played for the Blazers at that time were future NHLers, Darcy Tucker, Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan, Nolan Baumgartner and Jason Strudwick.
Other people recognized included: Don Klepp, winner of the Duncan Jamieson Award, Cody DePourcq of the Penticton Vees for the Patricia Carter Award, Karen Wallace for the Okanagan Hockey School Pioneer Award and Minor Hockey Player of the Year, Dante Fabbro.