by Jeff Hubert
February 7, 2014, Calgary, AB (ISN) – Ron Robison, Commissioner of the Western Hockey League, announced today, on behalf of the WHL Board of Governors that former Kamloops Blazers Director and Alternate Governor Dennis Coates is a recipient of the WHL Distinguished Service Award for the 2013 – 14 season.
Dennis Coates has been associated with the WHL since 1971. The Kamloops Blazers’ long and eminent relationship with the WHL was born and continues today much in part to his dedication and leadership over the past 40 years. Dennis was involved with the return of a franchise in 1981 from New Westminster as a member of the initial ownership group, and then participated as a shareholder in Kamloops Blazers Holdings Ltd.
His involvement extended to the formation of the Kamloops Blazers Sports Society in 1987, which was crucial to the viability of the franchise in Kamloops. Dennis has also provided complementary legal counsel to the organization for the duration of his association with the Blazers. From 2003 to 2007, Dennis became a Director and Treasurer of the Society and also served as Alternate Governor. He continued in this role in 2007-08, assisting with the sale of the team to the current ownership group headed by Tom Gaglardi.
“Dennis Coates has been a fixture with the Kamloops Blazer franchise for over 40 years” stated WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “The professional advice and leadership Dennis has provided has made the Blazers one of the most respected franchises in the WHL” “Everyone associated with the Blazers and the WHL appreciate the enormous contributions Dennis has made not only to the Kamloops franchise but to the WHL as a whole” Robison added.
The WHL Distinguished Service Award, which was introduced by the WHL in 2004, is presented annually to an individual associated who has made an extraordinary contribution over an extended period of time at the Club or League level.
The WHL will honour Dennis Coates in Kamloops on Friday, February 7, in a special ceremony prior to the Kamloops Blazers game against the Victoria Royals.
Previous recipients of the WHL Distinguished Service Award include:
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).