The 2020 BC Sports Hall of Fame inductees, back row, from left, are: Cleve Dheensaw, Robin Bawa, Chris Hebb, Alex Stieda, Brent Johnson. Front: Kathy Newman, Sonja Gaudet, Gerri Tarchuk, Carol Mitchell, Valerie Johnson, Kirk McLean. (Photo submitted)

Vancouver Island south Asian sports pioneer honoured

Duncan-raised hockey named to the BC Sport Hall of Fame

A hockey player from Duncan who got his start at Fuller Lake Arena in Chemainus is among the 2020 induction class for the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

Bawa is being honoured in the pioneer category as the first Indo Canadian to play in the National Hockey League. He suited up for four NHL teams over the years: the Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Robin Bawa gained prominence as a youth in the Fuller Lake Minor Hockey Association’s rep system. His frequent coach during those development years was Jack Rochon of Chemainus.

Bawa is proud of his heritage and the role hockey played early in his life.

“My family has a long history in Duncan, with my grandfather settling down in Paldi in 1906 and then my dad and I both being born and raised in Duncan,” he indicated.

“My fondest memories come from my early years playing association hockey for the Fuller Lake Flyers in Chemainus. Having great friends as teammates, such as Doug Bodger and Richard Hajdu, was quite inspiring. My goal back then was just to get an opportunity to play for the Fuller Lake Jr. B Flyers, as the NHL was not even on the radar at the time.

“Being from a small town on Vancouver Island and now being inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame is a huge honour not only for myself, but my family as well. I hope this inspires our young to dream big and let their passion dictate their path of success.”

Bawa was inducted into the North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame in 2012.

The 2020 BC Sports Hall of Fame induction class, announced Oct. 29 in Vancouver, also includes: five athletes, three builder-coaches, one team, one media member and the W.A.C. Bennett Award winner.

Athletes named to the hall are: Sonja Gaudet (wheelchair curling); Alex Stieda (cycling); Jeff Francis (baseball); Brent Johnson (football); and Kirk McLean (hockey).

Builders-coaches include: Harry White (golf); Bill Mitchell (wrestling); and Valerie Johnson (trampoline gymnastics).

The team being inducted is the 1979-80 University of Victoria Vikings in men’s basketball

Team members include: Ted Anderson, Bill Chapman (manager), Reni Dolcetti, Jim Duddridge (assistant coach), Kelly Dukeshire, Bruce Hamilton, Chris Hebb, Craig Higgins, Ian Hyde-Lay, Gerald Kazanowski, Gregg Kazanowski, Tom Narbeshuber, Eli Pasquale, Ken Shields (head coach), Billy Turney-Loos, Norm Vickery (assistant coach) and Mickey Welder.

In a bittersweet twist to the announcement, Pasquale died of cancer Monday at the age of 59.

Rounding out the Class of 2020 is Cleve Dheensaw in the media category and W.A.C. Bennett Award winner Kathy Newman.

“Our Class of 2020 is a terrific cross-section of the personalities and teams that make the history, heritage and culture of sport in British Columbia so notable and inspiring for the next generation of young people in B.C.,” noted Tom Mayenknecht, chair of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

The honoured members will be officially inducted and celebrated at the Induction Gala, Thursday, June 4, 2020 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

 

Robin Bawa’s plaque from his 2012 induction into the North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame. (Photo submitted)

One of the National Hockey League teams Robin Bawa suited up for was the Washington Capitals. (Photo submitted)

The Anaheim Mighty Ducks were one of four NHL stops for Robin Bawa. (Photo submitted)

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