Rockets’ Heinzelmann Posthumously Receives WHL Distinguished Service Award


Kelowna, BC – Western Hockey League Commissioner Ron Robison announced today, on behalf of the WHL Board of Governors, that the late Norbert Heinzelmann has been named a recipient of the WHL Distinguished Service Award for the 2016-17 season.

Heinzelmann was honoured by WHL Commissioner Ron Robison in Kelowna in a special ceremony prior to tonight’s game between the Kelowna Rockets and Everett Silvertips.

“Given his remarkable dedication and commitment to the Rockets franchise and the WHL for over 20 years, it is only fitting Norbert Heinzelmann is honoured tonight with the WHL Distinguished Service Award,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “We salute Norbert and his family for their love of the game and for being such an integral part of Rockets WHL hockey games for over two decades.”

Heinzelmann served as the Head Scorekeeper and Head of Off-Ice Officials for the Kelowna Rockets since their relocation from Tacoma, WA, in 1995. In addition to his regular duties on Rockets’ gamedays, Heinzelmann also worked all National Events hosted by the Rockets, including the MasterCard Memorial Cup, IIHF World Junior Championship, Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game and CIBC Canada-Russia Series games.

By all accounts, Heinzelmann was renowned for his courteous and respectful disposition towards all visiting coaches and trainers, as well as for paying great attention to detail while ensuring the official scoresheet was properly completed for each game.

“Norbert could write a book on what he heard sitting in the penalty box between some of the great characters in the WHL. He was one of the most respected off-ice officials to work in the Western Hockey League,” said Bruce Hamilton, Owner, President and General Manager of the Kelowna Rockets.

Heinzelmann passed away September 2, 2016, at the age of 57.

The WHL Distinguished Service Award, which was introduced by the WHL in 2004, is presented annually to individuals who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of franchises and in doing so have made an extraordinary contribution at the Club or League level over an extended period. The WHL will present Distinguished Service Awards annually to an individual from both the Western and Eastern Conferences.

Previous recipients of the WHL Distinguished Service Award:

Bill Sanderson (Victoria Royals – Off-Ice Officials); Bob McGill (Edmonton Oil Kings – Scout); Ralph Zander (Calgary Hitmen – Off-Ice Official); Terry Bonner (Vancouver Giants – Scouting Director); Dr. Mary Smith (Spokane Chiefs – Team Dentist); Dennis Coates (Kamloops Blazers – Volunteer Board Member); 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).