PENTICTON - Former Penticton junior star Paul Kariya will lead an elite class of inductees into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.
Kariya and another recently retired NHL star, Mark Recchi, will be inducted along with the 1993-94 and 1994-95 Memorial Cup-winning Kamloops Blazers teams, former NHL coach Marc Crawford and builders Colin Patterson and Nancy Wilson, who resides in Summerland, and becomes the first female to be inducted into the BCHHF.
The 22nd annual induction gala will held in Penticton, July 26, at the South Okanagan Events Centre, now the official home of the BCHHF. The inductees were announced on Tuesday at GM Place in Vancouver.
BCHHF chairman Bruce Judd said Recchi and Kariya have confirmed they will be coming for the inductions.
Calgary Flames star Jarome Iginla and head coach Don Hay are among the ex-Blazers who will be coming, with the Blazers hoping to make the induction ceremony the highlight event in a reunion of the championship teams.
Judd also said Wilson and Patterson were "ecstatic" about being inducted.
"We're really excited about this year's inductions," said Judd. "It's a big class and all the names are prominent in the hockey world. It should be one of the best ever."
Kariya, 38, played two seasons with the then-Penticton Panthers in 1990-91 and 1991-92, amassing 91 goals and 244 points in 94 games. He was named the Canadian Junior A Hockey League Player of the Year in 1992.
Kariya won an NCAA champion-ship and the Hobey Baker Award with the University of Maine Black Bears, and was taken in the first round of the NHL draft, fourth overall, by the Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks in 1994.
The North Vancouver native went on to a distinguished 15-year NHL career, racking up 402 goals and 989 points in 989 games, and another 16 goals and 39 points in 46 playoff games. He played for Anaheim, Colorado, Nashville and St. Louis.
A highlight in his international career was helping Canada capture the gold medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Concussions forced Kariya to retire in 2011.
Recchi, 45, enjoyed a tremendous 22-year NHL career punctuated by Stanley Cup triumphs with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991, Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and the Boston Bruins in 2010-11, after which the Kamloops native announced his retirement.
Recchi played in 1,652 NHL games, tallying 577 goals and 1,533 points. He added another 61 goals and 147 points in the playoffs.
Recchi was drafted by Pittsburgh in the sixth round of the 1988 draft and went on to have two stints with the Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers, as well as stops in Montreal, Carolina and Boston.
Recchi starred with the Kamloops Blazers and eventually had his No. 8 jersey retired. Recchi was named Kamloops' male athlete of the century in 2000.
Recchi played briefly with Langley in the BCHL before going on to play in New Westminster and Kamloops in the WHL.
The Blazers teams of the early 1990s won three WHL and Memorial Cup titles. The Kamloops teams that went back-to-back in 1993-94 and 1994-95 combined for a regular season record of 100-36-8.
Among the most notable players from those teams were Iginla, Darcy Tucker, Shane Doan, Tyson Nash, Brad Lukowich, Jason Strudwick, goaltender Steve Passmore and Ryan Huska. The franchise has won five Memorial Cups - most by a WHL team.
Wilson, one of the original members of Hockey Canada's national women's program, has an extensive background as a player and coach. She played for the University of Western Ontario, as well as the Edmonton Chimos.
The owner/operator of Centre Ice Hockey School in Summerland, Wilson is head coach of the Canadian U-22 women's hockey team, a provincial coach for B.C. Hockey and an
assistant coach of the UBC Thunderbirds female team. Wilson is a retired RCMP officer.
Patterson is a former player and coach who lives in Cranbrook. He was one of the first Canadian players to earn a scholarship to a U.S. university when he was recruited to Michigan Tech and won an NCAA title there in 1965. He enjoyed a distinguished coaching career in North America and in Europe, with tenures in Switzerland, Holland and Britain.
The Canadian Amateur Hockey Association gave Colin Patterson the prestigious Gordon Juckes Award for his Contribution to Hockey in Canada in 1983.