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B.V. Nitehawks Alumni to host golf tournament and awards banquet

Nitehawks will honour volunteers, team builders, and retire two jerseys at August celebration
Beaver Valley Nitehawks coach Terry Jones, along with president Steve Piccolo and alumnus Mike Morissette can’t wait to tee off at the Nitehawks Alumni Golf Tournament at Champion Lakes on Aug. 19. Photo: Jim Bailey

The Beaver Valley Nitehawks are thrilled to announce they will be hosting a golf tournament for its alumni and supporters on August 19, and will also honour its builders and volunteers, while hanging two more jerseys from the rafters.

“At our alumni celebration we are celebrating the volunteers that make our team unique,” said alumni organizer Connor Jones. “As well, one of the important happenings will be the recognition of some important builders of the team.”

Following a shotgun start at Champion Lakes Golf Course at 1 p.m., the Nitehawks invite all participants to convene at the Fruitvale Memorial Hall for a celebratory banquet and ceremony at 5 p.m.

The evening will feature the team retiring the jerseys of two former Nitehawks, defenceman Cody Franson and centreman Craig Cunningham.

“We look forward to this long overdue recognition of their accomplishments both on and off the ice,” said Jones.

Franson skated in 48 games with the Nitehawks in 2003-04, scoring 9 goals and 31 points. The following year, he went straight to the WHL Vancouver Giants where three years later, he and Cunningham, a rookie, shared a Memorial Cup victory in 2007.

Franson also won gold with Team Canada at the 2007 World Junior Championships, before making the jump to the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL.

In 2010, he spent his first full season with the NHL Nashville Predators and ultimately the Toronto Maple Leafs for four years, before making stops in Nashville, Buffalo, and Chicago.

In all, the Sicamous product spent 10 years in the NHL, and finished his career in the AHL with the Hershey Bears in 2022,where he contributed 35 points in 62 games.

At age 15, Cunningham skated for Beaver Valley scoring 19 goals and 44 points. The next year, the Trail product made the jump to the same Major Junior Giants where he spent most of five years there, before finishing the 2010-11 season in Portland with the Winterhawks.

Cunningham played professional hockey in the Boston Bruins and Arizona Coyotes organizations over the next six years. A tragic and rare health condition cut short his career in 2016 after going into cardiac arrest during a Tucson Roadrunners pre-game skate, forcing his lower left leg to be amputated.

Coincidentally, Cunningham and Connor Jones currently serve as a pro scouts for the 2023 Stanley Cup champion Las Vegas Golden Knights. Both had the opportunity to raise the cup on June 13 after the Knights 9-3 win over Florida.

The Nitehawks will also honour the founders of the franchise, Shirley Levesque and Darrel Dickson, as well as former coach and General Manager, Hank Deadmarsh.

“All three of these builders have been integral in the formation of our franchise and in fostering the long term success of the Nitehawks,” said Jones.

Levesque and Dickson were the manager and coach of the B.V. Midget team, when Dickson had the idea of entering a team into the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL).

The league recognized the potential for intense local rivlaries, and invited the Nitehawks team to join for the 1981-82 season.

Over the next 40 years the Nitehawks won the KIJHL Championship eight times (1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2012, 2014, 2017), and three provincial championships for the Cyclone Taylor Cup (in 1997, 2001 and 2014 ).

Deadmarsh contributed mightily to the Nitehawks success for more than two decades. Starting as an assistant coach in 1985-86, he was the Hawks’ head coach from 1990-92 and General Manager from 1996 to 2006, winning five KIJHL championships and two provincial championships.

The Nitehawks will celebrate its 42nd year of hockey in the KIJHL this season, thanks to the the builders, volunteers, players and fans that have made the team the most successful in KIJHL history.

Franson’s and Cunningham’s jerseys will join an elite few homegrown products that include Adam Deadmarsh, Barret Jackman, Rocky Dickson and Sam Swanson.

The day kicks off with a nine-hole golf scramble at Champion Lakes Golf course starting at 1 p.m. with prizes, and a $10,000 hole in one hole. Cost is $40 per person.

The catered banquet ($45 per person) will begin at 5 p.m., with cocktails and dinner at 6 p.m. Silent auctions, trivia and lots of fun will be had at this banquet.

Alumni, players, coaches and volunteers are invited to register for one or both on the Nitehawks or the NH Alumni facebook pages by clicking on the links.

For the golf scramble register at this link: Golf Link and the banquet use this link: Dinner Link.

Read: Nitehawks complete comeback with thrilling Game 7 victory

Jim Bailey

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