Murray Baron of Kamloops is among the 2016 inductees into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame made its annual announcement on Monday.
Baron, 48, was born in Prince George and grew up in Kamloops, where he now resides.
He played junior hockey with the Vernon Lakers before going on to spend three seasons at the U of North Dakota. He was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the eighth round of the NHL’s 1986 draft and went on to a 16-season professional career. He split 988 NHL games between the Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Phoenix Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks.
He spent five of his last six seasons (1998-2003) with the Canucks before finishing up with one season with the Blues.
Baron called it a career with 129 points, including 35 goals, and 1,309 penalty minutes.
"I was just a house-leaguer . . . I played for fun," Baron told Mark Hunter of the Kamloops Daily News four years ago while helping out as an assistant coach with the junior B Kamloops Storm. "I made my midget rep team in my second year. I guess I was a late bloomer . . .”
After ending his playing career, Baron lived in Arizona for six years before returning to Kamloops.
Back then, Baron made some points with Hunter that hold just as true about hockey today.
"The big dollar sign is what they're chasing," Baron said. "When I was growing up, we just wanted to play hockey.
“There are these two different aspects to this game, which I think is unfortunate. I think it's too money-driven . . . and I feel bad for these kids who have parents pushing them from Day 1 and I think it hurts the kids more than it helps them. By the time they're 15, 16, they're sick of hockey and they want to pack it in.”
He also questioned the way hockey has turned into a year-round sport.
“I don't see how the kids could even want to be near the ice that much," he told Hunter. "When the season ended in the spring, we were done. I think it gave us a better perspective coming back in August because we were ready to get back on the ice.
“With kids going year-round now, they never get a break — I would be sick of it by the time I got to be a teenager."
The Canucks will be well-represented during the induction ceremonies in Penticton on July 22.
Going into the Hall of Fame alongside Baron will be John Grisdale, a former Canucks defenceman who now is the BCHL’s commissioner, former teammate Brendan Morrision, and Pat O’Neill, the Canucks' equipment manager. Baron and Morrison were teammates with the Canucks.
Also to be inducted is Brian Barrett, who has supported hockey at all levels in Merritt, including a number of roles with the BCHL’s Centennials, for a long time, and the 1998-99 Vernon Vipers, who won the Canadian junior A championship.
Troy Mick, who later did a short stint as head coach of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, was the Vipers’ head coach. The roster included defenceman John Bradley of Kamloops.
Baron told Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun that he is thrilled with the honour.
“Your career goes by really fast,” Baron said. “I can remember my first game like it was yesterday and the next thing you know 15 years has gone by.
“To get some recognition like this 10 years later is definitely something to be proud of.”