Kaleden resident Bill Ohlhausen was awarded BC Hockey’s prestigious Diamond Stick Award.
The award was presented to the 82-year-old at BC Hockey’s annual general meeting June 8 in Kamloops.
Ohlhausen has been involved in hockey in B.C. for 50 years and is best known for his record 17-year tenure as president of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, a post he retired from following the 2017-18 season.
Ohlhausen was on the KIJHL executive starting in 1995 and became president in 2002.
During his time with the league, the KIJHL grew from a two-division league of 12 teams to a 20-team league with four divisions.
Bill and his wife, Mary, who served as treasurer during his 22 years with the league, were instrumental in successfully lobbying league members to support academic scholarships for players and league officials that are awarded each year.
Ohlhausen’s introduction to hockey began in a game in the 1969-70 season as he found himself coaching his son’s game when the team’s two regular coaches were not available.
Having never been a player, let alone a skater, Ohlhausen overcame the challenge and although he can’t remember the outcome of the game, he was hooked.
Ohlhausen did such a terrific job the administrative scouts of the Penticton Minor Hockey Association recruited him to take on the position of director for the Atom division. This was followed by terms with PMHA as peewee and bantam director, various director positions with the Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association and with the Penticton juvenile team that attended three BC Winter Games Championships.
The Ohlhausens molded the KIJHL into the premier Junior B league in Canada and under his guidance, it became a league that other leagues strived to emulate. It was, and still is, a league that attracts not only great players and coaches, it is also known as the best Junior B league for players to develop.
“Bill is a true gentleman who has been involved in all levels of hockey to make the game the best it can be for those who participate,” stated a BC Hockey release. “He has made a positive difference and strived consciously to make that difference beneficial for everyone involved.”
The Diamond Stick is presented to someone who has provided outstanding service to the game of hockey for more than 10 years. The outstanding service may be provided to national or international hockey programs, BC Hockey, or its membership clubs.
The Diamond Stick was first awarded in 1951 to G.M Thompson of Trail. The Diamond Stick has been awarded 33 times since 1951, and has once been awarded to two people in the same year, when Florence Rempel of Penticton, and Bob Woodward of Kimberley received it in 2002.
The most recent recipients of the Diamond Stick award, were Al Matthews of Williams Lake, who received the honour in 2015 and Bill Ennos, who received the honour in 2018 after 39 years with BC Hockey.