Former Vancouver Canuck Trevor Linden addresses the 700-plus crowd Saturday night in Mission.

Former Vancouver Canuck Trevor Linden addresses the 700-plus crowd Saturday night in Mission.

Champions gather in Mission

The Celebration of Champions event was Saturday night at Mission Raceway

Mission’s BC Games events centre, a 12,000 sq. ft. heated tent, made a warm, comfortable respite from the wind and torrential rain Saturday night, where about 700 people came together to hear Trevor Linden and Brent Hayden speak at the Celebration of Champions event.

Mission’s Hayden, who won a bronze medal in the 100 m freestyle at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London, England, spoke first and was greeted with a standing ovation in the building, which boasts a large stage, twin suspended television screens, and chairs and bleachers for more than 1,000 guests.

He told stories about the beginning of his swimming career as a six-year-old at the Mission pool.

He commended small-town sports and the Mission swim program in developing three 50 m world champions, and compared his Olympic experience with his competing in the 1998 BC Games. He said the BC Games experiences were fundamental to his Olympic success.

A video tribute was shown of former Vancouver Canuck Linden, which prompted a standing ovation from the crowd until the ex-captain took the stage.

Now an entrepreneur and motivational speaker, Linden said his hockey career prepared him for success in business and life, with lessons learned on the ice of goal setting, structure, discipline and accountability.

Linden credited former Detroit Red Wing player and Tampa Bay Lighting general manager Steve Yzerman for demonstrating the importance of leading by playing whatever role was necessary.

Linden also mentioned Tim Hunter, and said he demonstrated sheer determination and worked hard, which set a positive example far better than any natural skill set can.

Hayden and Linden shared the stage later in the night and fielded questions from the audiences and signed autographs.