The Class of 2019 was inducted into the Richmond Sports Wall of Fame Nov. 23 at Gateway Theatre.
Photo by Jennifer Strang/City of Richmond
Sports Wall of Fame welcomes Class of 2019
By Don Fennell
Published 12:39 PST, Tue December 3, 2019
Last Updated: 2:41 PST, Tue January 7, 2020
A talented group of individuals, whose dedication to sport has been extraordinary, are the latest inductees into the Richmond Sports Wall of Fame.
Exemplary of the Class of 2019, organizers of the annual Dolphin Basketball Classic (recognized in the Builders category), reflect the city’s rich sporting history.
Tony Wong-Hen, Bruce Watson, Bira Bindra and Taj Johal all grew up playing basketball in Richmond. They so loved the game, that upon graduating from high school in 1986 they organized what is today a staple on the summer sports schedule. The first Dolphin Classic between the graduating Steveston Packers and Richmond Colts was for little more than bragging rights.
“It’s truly a made-in-Richmond grassroots tournament,” noted Mayor Malcolm Brodie during the formal presentation at Gateway Theatre. “From modest beginnings, it continues to be one of the premier basketball events in the province and inspires countless Richmond youth to pursue their passion for sport.”
Born and raised in Richmond, Mills attended Cambie Junior Secondary and later Richmond High where he excelled in many sports including football. It was on the gridiron where he starred, signing with the NFL Baltimore Colts in 1983 for whom he continued to play when the team moved to Indianapolis. He joined the hometown BC Lions in 1986, and prior to retiring in 1995, the 6-foot-8 offensive lineman earned five Western Conference all-star nods, was a three-time All-Canadian offensive tackle, and twice the most outstanding lineman in the CFL.
Born and raised in Richmond, Stoddard attended London Junior Secondary and later Steveston High where he played many sports. He didn’t pick up football until Grade 11, but in 1994 became the Packers’ MVP and played eight season in the CFL as a wide receiver for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He finished with 2,800 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Stoddard is currently a teacher and athletic director at Steveston-London Secondary.
A multi-sport athlete who excelled in basketball, soccer and football as a youth, Thomas developed his love of basketball after attending the Dolphin Classic. He went on to become the all-time assists leader at Simon Fraser University and, in what he considers to be the opportunity of a lifetime, played for Canada under coach Jay Triano at the 2002 worlds, 2003 Pan-American Games and 2003 Olympic qualifier. He also played professionally in Europe, and is now a head coach at Brandon University.
Since entering his first road race in 1986, Pawluk has become synonymous with the athletic pursuit. He began racing competitively in 2003 and through 2018 has earned 55 first-place finishes in various meets. In 2014 he was part of the team that set a Canadian indoor record in the 4x400 relay. Pawluk also continues to help young athletes reach their potential as a dedicated volunteer with the Richmond Kajaks.
During a 34-year career as an educator (23 of those in Richmond), Young also found time to coach with the Kajaks. Demonstrating a unique ability to lead, he took numerous athletes from grassroots to the elite level, while also holding several positions within the club from president to meet director. Twice a coach for Canada at the Pan-American Games, Young also helped found the first BC Elementary Track and Field Championships—an event hosted annually by the Kajaks.
Synonymous with fastball in Richmond, Shields’ passion for coaching became pronounced when his son Ryan began playing. Coaching all ages and levels of boys’ fastball locally, he guided teams to 10 gold medals and to the Western Canadian championships. Later, he coached senior men’s fastball and led the Mariners to three consecutive titles.
Upon settling in Richmond in 1967, Savage dedicated his life to serving others. As an educator, he was a teacher and administrator here for over 30 years. Always seeking to motivate youth and empower them to be their best, he also spent 33 years coaching with the Kajaks—initially on the premise it would be for “just one or two nights a week.”
Savage also played rugby locally, chaired the recreation commission, and played adult recreation soccer.
Entering the coaching realm early, Lochbaum was only 16 when he began his decorated career that saw his teams enjoy considerable success in both baseball and football. His love of coaching also inspired him to pursue a teaching career, during which he guided school teams at Richmond High and elsewhere to many provincial titles.
JJ, as is best known, can thank his daughter for requesting his lifetime involvement in track and field. It was she who asked that he attend his first meeting with the Kajaks in 1980. Since then, he’s held various positions in the club, and contributed to the success of many members.
From Ehsan Sharenejad to Jesse Tupper to Tyler McLaren, the torch of success was passed from one captain to the next during an unmatched era of football success at Richmond High.
From 1996 through 1998, the Colts won three consecutive provincial championships under the watchful eye of head coach Jeff Lochbaum.
“This remains a truly high standard of achievement for all high school teams,” noted Mayor Malcolm Brodie at the Class of 2019 induction ceremony.
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