Meeker helps honor trio
Sep 27, 2015 at 1:00 AM
Hockey legend Howie Meeker will be the guest speaker at the Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame induction dinner Oct. 17 at the Village Green Inn.
A pair of winter athletes and a year-round community booster will be inducted into the shrine.
Two-time Olympian and snowboard cross star Drew Neilson, triple Paralympic Games sit ski medalist Josh Dueck and longtime volunteer John Topping will enter the Hall of Fame.
“I’m thrilled to be able to attend and especially share the event with my good friend John Topping,” said Meeker, 91, the last surviving member of Toronto Maple Leafs 1947 Stanley Cup team.
“John is a wonderful man who has done so many good things for his community.”
Meeker, a former Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster who lives in Parksville with his wife, Leah, was in Vernon a few times supporting the Special Olympics charity golf tournament run by Topping.
In 1946–47, Meeker joined the Maple Leafs and scored 27 goals and 45 points during his NHL debut and he was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as top rookie. Meeker also played in the 1947 NHL All-Star Game and he also tied an NHL record for most goals by a rookie in one game with five goals against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Tickets for the evening banquet are $40 a person. Sponsorship/table packages are $400.
Contact the Greater Vernon Museum (250-542-3142) for ticket and sponsorship information.
The Hall of Fame will also present a special tribute to the late Lew Neilson (Drew’s father), who is in the shrine for auto racing and hang gliding.
The Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1982 through the vision of Vernon resident and sports enthusiast, Nick Alexis.
With the support of Vernon city council, Alexis and a dedicated group of volunteers created a series of outdoor exhibits celebrating the region’s dynamic sporting history in Vernon’s Cenotaph Park.
That same year, the new organization unveiled its first round of inductees to the Hall of Fame.
Several years later, in 2001, the Hall of Fame moved its exhibits into the newly constructed Vernon Multiplex (Kal Tire Place).
In 2011, the Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame and Museum became a function of the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives.