Before the Beaver Valley Nitehawks take to the ice against Penticton on Friday, they will first celebrate a former Nitehawks’ recent achievements – not at the rink – but on the baseball diamond.
Frutivale’s Chris Kissock won gold as pitcher for Canada’s baseball team at the Pan Am Games in October and also picked up a bronze medal two weeks earlier at the IBAF World Cup.
“We try to recognize people who have a high level of achievement and Chris definitely fits that,” said Fruitvale Mayor Libby Nelson.
Kissock will be at the Nitehawk game to drop the ceremonial puck and receive accolades from his former team and the Village of Fruitvale.
“It feels really good . . . it’s nice to come home and get some recognition,” said Kissock. “I never really expected it, but once we won gold with Team Canada we did something special there.”
Kissock played on the 2002-03 Nitehawks alongside current Beaver Valley assistant coaches Jeremy Cominotto and Kris Boyce, and he looks forward to being reunited with them in his hometown arena once again.
The Nitehawks did lose out that year in the provincial championship but it was a memorable year for Kissock who was named to the KIJHL first all-star team.
“I still miss hockey a little bit but I think I made a good choice,” he added.
Indeed, the Philadelphia Phillies product played on the first Canadian national team to win gold at the Games, beating the U.S.A. in the final and halting Cuba’s forty year gold-medal streak.
The 26-year-old spent his formative years chasing pucks at the Beaver Valley Arena and throwing fastballs at Haines Park. He returned to Trail for the off season and his parents continue to call Fruitvale home.
The Nitehawks host the Penticton Lakers Friday at 7:30 p.m. and play Nelson on Sunday at 6 p.m.