B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame salutes Kamloops Blazers, first female member, ex-Canuck, NHL stars
Bob Brown, now a scout with the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, at a news conference at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. Brown was general manager of the WHL's Kamloops Blazers team that won consecutive Memorial Cup championships in 1994 and 1995. On Tuesday his Blazers were named inductees into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame.
Photograph by: Ward Perrin, PNG
VANCOUVER — There are times when Bob Brown says it seems like only yesterday that the Kamloops Blazers were stringing together back-to-back Memorial Cup wins.
But there are other times, Brown added with a laugh Tuesday, when he is reminded that it was in fact quite some time ago.
Brown, now a scout with the Edmonton Oilers, was general manager and chief architect of the 1993-94 and 1994-95 Blazer teams that on Tuesday were announced as inductees into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame.
In recent years, Brown has found himself scouting some of the kids of the kids that were on some of the great Blazers teams during his decade-long tenure in Kamloops.
"That shows you how old I am," Brown said after Tuesday's announcement at Rogers Arena. "Dave Chyzowski, who played for me in Kamloops and was a high draft pick with the Islanders, his son (Nick) was drafted by Kamloops and played a game as a 15-year-old this season. And Mike Needham, who also played for us and was a Pittsburgh draft, his son (Matt) is in his second year with Kamloops. So it does make you feel old when you are looking at them."
Brown was GM in Kamloops from 1986 through 1995 and those were the glory years for the Blazers, when they won three Memorial Cups. He has particularly fond memories of the 1993-94 team that won the Memorial Cup because it was unexpected. The Blazers were building toward success in 1995 when Kamloops played host to the Memorial Cup.
"We just wanted to be competitive in 1994 because we were building for the 1995 team," said Brown, who was inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. "We had a good team, but we didn't think we'd be challenging for the Memorial Cup.
"But we made a trade for (goalie) Steve Passmore and I remember his first night in the dressing room. He stood up and said 'I'm not here just to be here, I'm here to win the Memorial Cup' and I think he just had that charisma with the team and he just dragged us along and sure enough we ended up in Laval in the Memorial Cup."
Brown and Vancouver Giants coach Don Hay, who coached those two Blazers' teams, both attended Tuesday's Hall of Fame announcement.
"I think any time you can win back-to-back Memorial Cups it really tells of the quality of the players and organization," Hay said. "I think the groundwork kind of got going in 1993-94 when we had five 16-year-olds on our team, guys like Shane Doan and Nolan Baumgartner, that really led the way … I don't think we were expected to win in '94 and we just got better and better and beat a Portland team that was expected to win. And then we went into Laval, into the House of Pain, and were able to win there.
"In ’95 it was all set up. We were hosting, we were rated No. 1 from start to finish, we added a young guy named Jarome Iginla in '94 that was a pretty good player for us. We had quality people."
That 1994-95 team was so good that Iginla's 71 points that season were only seventh best on the team. Darcy Tucker led the way with 137 points, Hnat Domenichelli added 114 and Doan had 94.
Those two Blazers teams will joined in the hall by five individuals, including the first female inductee. Nancy Wilson's long coaching career includes stints with the UBC Thunderbirds, Vancouver Griffins and BC Breakers. Wilson, who has also served as an assistant coach with the Canadian women's team at the Four Nations Cup and world championships, currently serves as a mentor coach with Kazakhstan's national women's team.
Two former NHL players, Kamloops native Mark Recchi and North Vancouver's Paul Kariya, will also be inducted, as well as former Vancouver Canucks coach Marc Crawford and longtime coach Colin Patterson of Cranbrook.
The 2013 class will be inducted July 26 at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun