Kamloops, B.C. – Western Hockey League Commissioner Ron Robison announced today, on behalf of the WHL Board of Governors, that Dr. Bob Smillie, Executive Director of the Kamloops Blazers Sports Legacy Fund, has been named a recipient of the WHL Distinguished Service Award for the 2018-19 WHL season.
Dr. Smillie was honoured by Commissioner Robison in Kamloops during a special ceremony prior to Friday’s game between the Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds.
“Having served in a volunteer capacity with the Kamloops Blazers organization for over 40 years, Bob Smillie exemplifies what the WHL Distinguished Service Award is all about,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “From his role as a longtime board member with the Blazers, to serving as the Team Doctor and Education Advisor and now in his current role as head of the Blazers Sports Legacy Fund, Bob has played an integral role in the Blazers franchise and it is only fitting he is a recipient of this prestigious award.”
Since 1973, Dr. Smillie has been involved in Major Junior hockey in Kamloops, fulfilling a variety of roles along the way. Currently, Dr. Smillie is the Executive Director of the Kamloops Blazers Sports Legacy Fund, a role he has held since 2007. With Dr. Smillie at the helm, the Kamloops Blazers Sports Legacy Fund has contributed over $3.26 million to local community sports groups in the Thompson-Nicola region.
“I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of the WHL Distinguished Service Award than Bob Smillie,” said Don Moores, President and Chief Operating Officer for the Kamloops Blazers. “Bob has been a tremendous ambassador of the Kamloops Blazers Hockey Club in so many different capacities over the years. He exemplifies what ‘extraordinary contributions’ are when it comes to the amount of time and effort he has spent to help better our hockey club and the WHL.”
Dr. Smillie served as the Team Physician for the Kamloops Chiefs beginning in 1973-74, continuing with the Kamloops Jr. Oilers (1981-84) and the Kamloops Blazers (1984-95). Prior to the sale of the Blazers to private ownership led by Tom Gaglardi, Dr. Smillie was a member of the Kamloops Blazers Board of Directors where he served as Governance Committee Chair from 1987-90 before moving into the role of Education Liaison from 2003-07.
The WHL Distinguished Service Award, which was introduced by the WHL in 2004, is presented annually to individuals who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of WHL franchises and in doing so have made an extraordinary contribution at the Club and League levels over an extended period. The WHL will present Distinguished Service Awards annually to an individual from both the WHL Western and Eastern Conferences.
Previous recipients of the WHL Distinguished Service Award:
Bob Bartlett (Lethbridge Hurricanes – Director, Player Development); Sue Johnson (Portland Winterhawks – Education Advisor); Herman Elfring (Lethbridge Hurricanes – Board Member); Norbert Heinzelmann (Kelowna Rockets – Off-Ice Officials); Bill Sanderson (Victoria Royals – Off-Ice Officials); Bob McGill (Edmonton Oil Kings – Scout); Ralph Zander (Calgary Hitmen – Off-Ice Official); Terry Bonner (Vancouver Giants – Scouting Director); Dr. Mary Smith (Spokane Chiefs – Team Dentist); Dennis Coates (Kamloops Blazers – Volunteer Board Member); Judy Seher (Red Deer Rebels – Billet Coordinator); Balzer, Frank, Tony & John Lanz (Medicine Hat Tigers – Off-Ice Officials); Rose Mary Hartney (Moose Jaw Warriors – Education Advisor); Greg ‘Spike’ Wallace (Kamloops Blazers – Community & Sponsorship Coordinator); Nella Rounsville (Kootenay Ice – Education Advisor); Lorne Frey (Kelowna Rockets – Asst GM/Head Scout); Graham Tuer (Saskatchewan Hockey Association – Volunteer); Jann Boss (Portland Winterhawks – Administration); Ruth “Grams” Pollock (Prince Albert Raiders – Billet Coordinator); Dr. Ian Hill (Regina Pats – Team Doctor); Dr. Alfred Blue (Seattle Thunderbirds – Team Doctor); Doris Rubel (Kamloops Blazers – Billet Coordinator); Colleen MacBean (Swift Current Broncos – Education Advisor); and Bob Ridley (Medicine Hat Tigers – Play-By-Play Announcer).
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 350 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.