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Five New Inductees to the Sports Wall of Fame
November 18, 2013
Five inductees were added to the North Cowichan Duncan Sports Wall of Fame at induction ceremonies held on Saturday, November 16, 2013 at the Cowichan Golf and Country Club.
Ron Andruff HockeyDon Bodger MediaChemainus Blues Hockey Club 1968 1977 HockeyRon Sonny Collinson - BaseballLarry Irving Baseball
Ron Andruff played in the Fuller Lake Minor Hockey system before joining the Flin Flon Bombers of the Western Canada Junior Hockey League in 1971. Ron was selected as the first draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association, as well as 32nd pick overall (second round) of the National Hockey League amateur draft. In his NHL career, Ron recorded 19 goals and 36 assists in 153 games.
During his nine years as a professional hockey player, Ron had the distinction of winning the bronze medal with Team Canada in the Moscow Izvestia Tournament, shared in three Stanley Cups, and won the American Hockey League Championship, the AHL Scoring Title, and the Les Cunningham Award for the leagues Most Valuable Player. He played his last two seasons in Germany with Mannheim Eis-und Rollsport-Club winning the Deutsch Masterschaft (German National Hockey League Championship) along with the Lieblingsspieler (MVP award as selected by the fans).
For his work as Honourary Chairman to Big Brothers Association, Colorado Chapter, Ron was nominated by the Colorado Rockies for the Bill Masterton Trophy which honours the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication both on and off the ice.
Known as the Dean of Cowichan Valley sports reports, Don Bodger has been known for over three decades for his work in the media and his devotion to community sports. Don has focused not only on star athletes, but also provided well-deserved recognition to other teams and athletes of all ages.
A native of Chemainus, Don was an excellent hockey player in the Fuller Lake Minor Hockey system before joining the fuller Lake Flyers for the South Island Junior B League. In parts of five seasons, he finished as the teams all-time leading scorer with 75 goals, 179 assists and 254 points in 151 games. This led Don to being selected to play for Team BC, and winning a gold medal in 1979 at the Canada Winter Games in Brandon, Manitoba. He was also an accomplished high school basketball player with the Chemainus Timbermen and received the Most Valuable Player award in the 1977 High School Island Tournament.
Dons media career started in 1980 with the Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle covering Chemainus community news and sports. He studied broadcasting through the Columbia School of Broadcasting which led to an opportunity in 1982 to work at CKAY Radio in Duncan. Don was the morning newscaster, wrote all the sports stories, and also filled DJ shifts as required. In 1983, Don returned to the newspaper business as the local sports reporter at the Cowichan Leader (currently the News Leader Pictorial) and covers news and feature assignments as well as sports. Don was instrumental in creating one of the newspapers most popular features the top 100 Youth Athletes of the Year in the Cowichan Valley for which he received the Ma Murray Community Newspaper Service Award in 2010.
The Chemainus Blues began operations in the Big Six Intermediate League 1968-1969 season and was coached by former NHL player, Red Carr.
The Blues were immensely popular in their early years as hockey fever caught on in the Cowichan Valley. The team played entertaining hockey to capacity crowds on Saturday nights at the newly-opened Fuller Lake Arena in Chemainus. Home games were broadcast on the local radio station, CKAY, and the team continually iced opponents competing for the Coy Cup (Intermediate Provincial Championship).
Names such as Griff, Lemon, Simmons, Woodruff and Wilson became synonymous with hockey in the Cowichan Valley. Many players had previously played at the Junior, Major Junior or at the Minor Pro levels, which made the Big Six Island League very competitive. The team became an institution for fans and the players were bigger than life for the younger generation. The biggest game of the season was always hockey day when Fuller Lake Arena would be filled to capacity for two days, culminating with a Blues game on Saturday night.
Ron (Sonny) Collinson
If youve ever been near any ball fields in the Cowichan Valley, chances are you knew Ron (Sonny) Collinson. Sonny was a long time baseball coach and follower of everything on the diamond from softball, to slo-pitch and fast pitch. While a Crofton resident, Sonny would show up to watch anywhere ball games were played.
Sonny loved playing, coaching and watching baseball. He would be at the Crofton Ball park every day devoting endless hours teaching baseball fundamentals to anyone wishing to improve their game. His focus was always on the children and their experience playing the game. To lessen the financial burden to kids, Sonny would supply players with baseball equipment to ensure they were able to play.
Sonny was very modest, and never asked for or expected accolades for all the effort and time that he put into the sport. Sonnys dedication, consistency and experience made him invaluable to the youth in the communities of Crofton and Chemainus.
Sonny passed away in April, 2013.
There are people in every sports community that everyone knows. Larry Irving, Mr. Sports Page, is one of those people. Larry devoted over 50 years of volunteer service to the Chemainus and Duncan Baseball Associations.
Larry can easily be classified as a baseball lifer form his Chemainus youth and adult playing days, to his coaching and work as a dedicated volunteer with the Chemainus Baseball Association. Larrys quiet demeanor and knowledge of the game served him well through his many years of dedicated work with young players. He was an excellent coach who helped build many successful teams, including teams that competed at the Youth World Series, Vancouver Island, Provincial, California and Pacific Northwest Championships.
Larry has always been willing to make a difference by stepping up to help better the sport as a coach, groundskeeper, umpire, equipment manager and tournament statistician. He was also the Baseball BC representative for the region.