Two men with ties to the WHL were honoured for their contributions to the sport of hockey in B.C., late last month.
Vancouver Giants President and Majority Owner Ron Toigo and former WHL linesman Brad Lazarowich were officially inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton on July 28.
They were joined by former Vancouver Canucks Tony Tanti and Thomas Gradin, former Canucks GM Dave Nonis, Sportsnet hockey commentator John Shannon and the 1996-97 Allan Cup champion Powell River Regals.
During the ceremony, Kamloops Blazers Athletic Trainer Colin Robinson was presented with the 2017 Larry Ashley Award. The humanitarian award is presented annually to a trainer or an equipment manager who has demonstrated a commitment to community sports by helping young players achieve their goals and aspirations.
Ron Toigo was inducted into the Builders Category. He is a longtime resident of Tsawwassen, B.C. His background in junior hockey dates back to the 1990’s when he owned the Tri-City Americans. He is the President and Majority Owner of the Vancouver Giants Hockey Club. In 2006 Ron was the driving force behind bringing the IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver, Kelowna and Kamloops. A year later, Toigo continued to bring premier hockey events to B.C. as his Giants hosted the 2007 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament for the first time in over 30 years in Vancouver. The host Giants went on to win the Memorial Cup that year. Now, Toigo is playing a key role in bringing the World Junior Championship back to the province as he serves as the co-chair of the 2019 World Juniors in Vancouver and Victoria.
Brad Lazarowich was inducted into the Builder Category. Born in Vancouver, Lazarowich worked more than 2,000 NHL games as a linesman working his way through B.C. minor hockey and the WHL. Lazarowich worked the WHL Championship series in all three years he spent as a WHL official and was selected to work the MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament before graduating to the American Hockey League and the NHL. Over the course of his long NHL career, Lazarowich worked three Stanley Cup Finals, two World Cup of Hockey tournaments and the 2014 Heritage Classic. He retired from on-ice officiating after the 2016 season but he has stayed involved with the game, working with officials in the B.C. Hockey League and doing some scouting and development with the NHL.
Colin ‘Toledo’ Robinson was presented with the Larry Ashley Award in recognition of his commitment to the sport of hockey in the community. The Kamloops Blazers athletic therapist began his career as a trainer in the WHL in 1995. Prior to joining the Blazers in 2005, “Toledo” worked as the athletic therapist for the Swift Current Broncos and was part of Team Canada’s training staff at two IIHF World Junior Championships and at the World Under-18 Hockey Challenge. He was also chosen as an athletic therapist in three CHL-NHL Top Prospects Games and was a member of the training staff at five WHL All-Star Games. This season, the veteran trainer surpassed 1,500 WHL games.