Fuller Lake Flyers plaque will join the others in the North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame in the Cowichan Aquatic Centre lobby in Duncan. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Fuller Lake Flyers plaque will join the others in the North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame in the Cowichan Aquatic Centre lobby in Duncan. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Flyers hockey program inducted into Sports Wall of Fame

Junior B teams attracted huge crowds in the early days of Fuller Lake Arena

Way back in ancient times before social media, people in the community used to communicate at work, at school or on old-fashioned telephone landlines to make arrangements to meet at Fuller Lake Arena Wednesday nights for Fuller Lake Flyers Junior B hockey games.

It didn’t matter that the starting time was as late as 8:30 p.m. on a weeknight (eventually getting rolled back to 8:15 and then to 8), the games were a gathering place during the early days of the arena in the 1970s. People simply made it a priority to be there to witness Flyers’ action in the South Vancouver Island Junior B Hockey League.

It was the only game in town of that calibre and the entire Cowichan Valley for a while in those days until the Lake Cowichan, Kerry Park and eventually Duncan arenas were all built during the remainder of the decade.

The Flyers’ program lasted from the 1970-71 season to 1979-80 before the franchise folded and the remaining players went to Kerry Park.

The entire group of Flyers from that 10-year period was among the inductees into the North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame during a ceremony Saturday at the Cowichan Golf and Country Club in Duncan.

The arena opened in 1968 and Mike Armstrong, who spearheaded the nomination process for the Flyers and also played on the inaugural team, pointed out it was “two years later we had a competitive Junior B team. That, I think, is an outstanding accomplishment, not only for the players but the coaches we had.”

Players considered it an honour to be a member of the Flyers. They were like rock stars and games were broadcast on the local CKAY radio station in Duncan so those who couldn’t make it listened at home to Dave Rubenstein calling the action.

Young players coming up through minor hockey watching those initial teams wanted to one day wear the uniform and many eventually did while others, like Greg Adams, Doug Bodger and Robin Bawa, surpassed that to make the National Hockey League.

“You got to meet all your friends there – it was a lot of fun, great memories,” pointed out Bodger in a video presentation that was played as part of the awards ceremony.

“We all met there, wanting to be a Junior B hockey player.”

“Everybody in the Valley was talking about it,” said Rick Adams, older brother of Greg, a former Flyers’ player and coach.

The arena’s seating capacity of 900 was exceeded many times over the years, as fans packed standing room only into the building during the many regular season and playoff battles with rival teams that emerged in the South Island.

Despite the presence of some powerhouse teams in the Victoria area over the years, the Flyers always held their own and were frequently among the league frontrunners and a force to be reckoned with.

Upwards of 30 players from the Flyers’ heyday were there at the ceremony to celebrate the induction and renew acquaintances with some of their old teammates. Many hadn’t seen each other for a considerable period of time and all the players are now ranging in age from the upper 50s to the early 70s.

There are a large number of former Flyers still living in the Chemainus, Crofton, Saltair, Ladysmith, Duncan and south Cowichan areas.

The other 2019 Sports Wall of Fame inductees include: Wes and Roselyn Craig (curling); Patrick Kay (rugby); and posthumously to Brian McKinlay (fastball) and Ted Webb as a builder (basketball).

Outstanding community achievement awards were presented to the boards of directors and community volunteers from the four major Games hosted in the Cowichan Valley – the 1991 BC Winter Games, 2005 BC Seniors Games, 2008 North American Indigenous Games and 2018 BC Summer Games.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Rick Adams speaks about the Flyers’ Junior B hockey program during a video segment. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Rick Adams speaks about the Flyers’ Junior B hockey program during a video segment. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Mike Armstrong receives the North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame plaque on behalf of the Fuller Lake Junior B Flyers program from Mat Ellison, a previous Wall of Fame inductee and long-time professional player in Russia who also had a stint in the NHL. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Mike Armstrong receives the North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame plaque on behalf of the Fuller Lake Junior B Flyers program from Mat Ellison, a previous Wall of Fame inductee and long-time professional player in Russia who also had a stint in the NHL. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Former members of the Flyers are acknowledged in the audience. (Photo by Don Bodegr)

Former members of the Flyers are acknowledged in the audience. (Photo by Don Bodegr)

The Fuller Lake Flyers are now immortalized with a North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame induction. (Photo by Theresa Bodger)

The Fuller Lake Flyers are now immortalized with a North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame induction. (Photo by Theresa Bodger)

Mike Armstrong spearheaded the drive for the Fuller Lake Flyers’ induction into the North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Mike Armstrong spearheaded the drive for the Fuller Lake Flyers’ induction into the North Cowichan/Duncan Sports Wall of Fame. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Just Posted

Protesters stand in front of a truck carrying logs to the WFP Ladysmith log sort. (Cole Schisler photo)
Protesters block entrance to Western Forest Products in Ladysmith

Blockade cleared by Ladysmith RCMP around noon, December 2

A truck arrives with a load of logs at Western Forest Products’ mill in Ladysmith. More work will be coming to the Ladysmith sawmill in February, says WFP. (Black Press file photo)
More work at Ladysmith mill in new year, says Western Forest Products

Company says Ladysmith operation to see second shift in February

After a brief closure, Roberts Street Pizza will reopen with an updated COVID-19 safety plan. (Cole Schisler photo)
Roberts Street Pizza reopens December 3

The store closed for a few days to update their COVID-19 safety plan

Ben Maartman, pictured in his ‘farm office’ has been elected as Area H director. (Ben Maartman photo)
Ben Maartman declared Director of CVRD Area H

Maartman will be sworn in on December 8

Beautiful morning with the sun peaking through, as viewed from Thetis Island. (Photo by Kelly Bannister)
November characterized by a record high, no snow and plenty of rain in Chemainus region

Temperature almost hits the 20 degree Celsius mark on Nov. 4

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are inviting audiences into their home for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’. (Submitted)
Natalie MacMaster coming to you through Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to enjoy the famed fiddler in an online show with her husband Donnell Leahy.

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Most Read