Beaver Valley Nitehawks alumni celebrated its history by honouring its team builders and volunteers on Saturday (Aug. 19) at its alumni golf tournament and awards banquet at the Champion Lakes Golf Course and Fruitvale Hall.
About 200 supporters, current and former coaches and players attended the four-person scramble and dinner at the inaugural event that inducted three team builders into the Nitehawks Hall of Fame.
“Our hope is that every year we recognize people who help make this team much more than a team, more like a community and family within it,” said Nitehawks head coach Terry Jones. “Tonight we will induct three people into the Hall of Fame. Each person brings special qualities and intangibles that make the Nitehawks special.”
The Nitehawks honoured Shirley Levesque, Darrel Dickson and Hank Deadmarsh and will add their names to the Nitehawks Hall of Fame.
“We thank them each for their service, their dedication, intensity and work ethic, and their willingness to go the extra mile to strive for excellence,” added Jones.
The Nitehawks were also poised to retire the jersey of defenceman Cody Franson, but the former Hawk could not make it due to the Kelowna wildfire.
The team recognized the small army of volunteers led by Sharon Thompson and Elaine Marshall, and former players and coaches like Kyle Weatherford, Scott Makway, and Paul Matteucci, who all shared memories of their time as a Nitehawk.
And of course the inductees.
Levesque and Dickson were the manager and coach of the Beaver Valley Midget team respectively, when Dickson had the idea of entering a team into the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL).
Dickson explained how he lobbied all the East Kootenay teams to vote for their bid to enter a team into the KIJHL despite concerns from local West Kootenay teams like Trail, Rossland and Castlegar.
“Really what we wanted to accomplish was to have local players being able to play here in Fruitvale and have a competitive team,” said Dickson. “I think over the years it’s worked out pretty good.
“We accomplished what we wanted … but the Nitehawks really turned around and became what they are today, when Hank Deadmarsh took over as manager, brought on Pat and Terry, and it’s never been the same since. The culture changed, and all of a sudden it wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs, we had to go out and win the playoffs.”
Beaver Valley joined the league 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 captured three provincial championships, the Cyclone Taylor Cup in 1997, 2001 and 2014.
Deadmarsh started as an assistant coach in 1985-86. He became the Hawks’ head coach from 1990-92 before taking over as General Manager from 1996 to 2006, leading the Nitehawks to five KIJHL championships and two provincial titles.
“Over the years I have been pretty blessed with the people around us, the community I lived in, and the people who played for the Nitehawks,” said Deadmarsh. “I don’t deserve any credit for it, but the coaches and players do.
“When you watch and see how these young men have turned out, that’s pretty damn satisfying. I think I taught a lot of them how not to be, but unfortunately, that’s the only way I knew how.
“And for the guys I may have said a bad word to or was a little loud,” he added with a smile. “Too bad.”
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.