CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada announced Tuesday the names of five individuals that will be the first distinguished honourees to the Order of Hockey in Canada. These first recipients will be honoured at the Hockey Canada Foundation Gala on June 25 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ont.
Hockey Canada introduced this spring the Order of Hockey in Canada, a program that will annually honour a select number of individuals whose ‘role or service in the game is recognized as extraordinary’ in Canada.
The selection committee met on the morning of April 10 and went through an election process that identified these first five distinguished honourees:
Jean Béliveau, 80, captured 10 Stanley Cups in a distinguished 18-year career with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. He won numerous individuals awards during his playing career, including the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top scorer, Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player and Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player in the playoffs. Off the ice, ‘Le Gros Bill’ has remained active in an ambassadorial capacity for the Canadiens’ organization and numerous charitable endeavors. A Companion of the Order of Canada, he is also honoured on Canada’s Walk of Fame, on a Canadian postage stamp and the Canadian Pacific Railway named a station in his honour. In 2010, Hockey Canada named Béliveau an honorary Team Canada member and honorary captain of Canada’s 2010 Men’s Olympic Team.
Cassie Campbell-Pascall, 37, played for Canada’s National Women’s Team from 1994-2006. She is the only captain, male or female, to captain two Canadian hockey teams to Olympic gold medals. Campbell-Pascall appeared in a total of 157 games for Canada, also becoming the longest-serving captain in Canadian hockey history (2001-06). In retirement, the native of Brampton, Ont., has made a very successful transition to broadcasting, serving as a sideline reporter and analyst for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, as well as a television analyst for female hockey during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Campbell-Pascall also continues to play a prominent role in promoting female and grassroots hockey, as treasurer on the Canadian Women’s Hockey League Board of Directors and a spokesperson and host for the Chevrolet Safe & Fun Hockey program.
Wayne Gretzky, 51, set more than 60 NHL records over the course of a 20-year career with Edmonton, Los Angeles, St. Louis and New York Rangers, many of which he still owns 13 years after his retirement. The Brantford, Ont., native is the NHL’s all-time leader in goals (894), assists (1,963) and points (2,857), captured ten Art Ross Trophies as the NHL’s top scorer, nine Hart Trophies as the NHL’s most valuable player, two Conn Smythe Trophies as the NHL’s most valuable player in the playoffs and five Lady Byng Trophies as the NHL’s most gentlemanly player. Gretzky’s international career included one IIHF World Junior Championship (1978), one IIHF World Championship (1982), one World Cup of Hockey (1996), four Canada Cups (1981, 1984, 1987, 1991) and one Olympic Winter Games (1998). Following his playing career, Gretzky served as executive director of Canada’s National Men’s Team, highlighted by a gold medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and a championship at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
Gordie Howe, 83, played a total of 33 years of professional hockey, finishing in the top 20 in NHL scoring for 20 consecutive seasons. The native of Floral, Sask., was selected to 21 NHL All-Star teams, including 12 NHL First All-Star Team berths. He won four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings and holds 14 NHL records, including games played (1,767) and most NHL All-Star Game appearances (23). Howe represented Canada once internationally, in the 1974 Summit Series against the Soviet Union. Howe made a professional comeback in 1973, playing alongside two of his sons, Mark and Marty, in the WHA. Nicknamed Mr. Hockey, Howe continues to stay involved in a number of charities and is part owner of the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants.
Gordon Renwick, 76, was an instrumental figure in establishing Canada and the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, now Hockey Canada, in the International Ice Hockey Federation and international hockey at all levels. The native of Cambridge, Ont., served as president of the CAHA from 1977-79, followed by 20 years as a board member with the IIHF, including eight years as vice-president. Renwick played a prominent role in the organization of Russian club team tours in Canada, and organized the initial Wrigley Cup National Midget Tournament (now the TELUS Cup) and the Canada Cup. Renwick is a Life Member of Hockey Canada.
ORDER OF HOCKEY IN CANADA CRITERIA
Candidates for election as distinguished honourees of the Order of Hockey in Canada shall be chosen ‘on the basis of their outstanding contributions or service to the growth and development of the sport of hockey in Canada, which may include players, coaches, officials, administrators, executives, trainers, physicians, inventors or any other person whose role or service in the game is recognized as extraordinary.’
Candidates are eligible as long as they have concluded their career as an active player or official, if either is applicable, for a minimum of five playing seasons before their election. All other candidates may be either active or inactive at the time of his or her selection. However, there will be no posthumous appointments to the Order of Hockey in Canada.
ORDER OF HOCKEY IN CANADA SELECTION PROCESS
A selection committee of 12 members was appointed by the Order of Hockey in Canada executive committee, which was established by Hockey Canada. The selection committee members, representing a cross-section of individuals with great and varied experience around the game of hockey in Canada, have been selected for a three-year term and can serve for a maximum of nine years. Each committee member can only bring forward one name as an official nomination for consideration annually.For 2012, the executive committee directed the selection committee to elect a maximum of five recipients by an affirmative vote of at least 75 per cent. Going forward, the maximum will be three recipients annually.
The entire selection process is confidential, and the names of those candidates not selected will not be disclosed.
Please note that due to scheduling issues with the participants, there will no longer be a conference call as previously indicated in the media advisory.
For more information on Hockey Canada, its teams, events and programs, please visit www.HockeyCanada.ca.