The Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame recently announced its Class of 2020, but this year’s celebration of excellence induction ceremony has been moved from April 26 to a tentative date of Sept. 26.
The 2020 class is headlined by pro hockey standout David Van der Guilk and international softball umpire Scott McLaren.
This year also marks the first time ever that the ASHOF will feature its coaches of the year category, and this year’s trio is made up of Doug Primrose (rugby), Luis Garcia (football) and Harold Willers (track and field). This year’s Wall of Fame, which which honours athletes in the 14 to 25 age bracket who had outstanding accomplishments in 2019, will recognize 17 individuals and three teams.
David Van der Gulik
David Van der Gulik honed his skills in the Abbotsford Minor Hockey Association, and went on to an outstanding junior, collegiate, and professional career.
Van der Gulik first drew notice as a minor hockey star, winning a B.C. peewee championship in 1997 with the Abbotsford Hawks. He went on to star at the junior level locally – in 1999-2000, he led the junior B Abbotsford Pilots to the first Cyclone Taylor Cup provincial title in team history, and a bronze medal at the Western Canadian championship where he was the tournament’s top scorer. He spent the next two seasons with the junior A Chilliwack Chiefs, earning BCHL rookie of the year honours in 2000-01 and leading the Chiefs to BCHL and Doyle Cup titles the following season.
Van der Gulik was selected by the Calgary Flames in the seventh round of the 2002 NHL entry draft, and subsequently starred for four years at Boston University before turning pro. He earned the Mickey Cochrane award as the BU’s top male athlete in 2006, and was later named to the Terriers’ all-decade team.
Van der Gulik turned pro in 2006, and played professionally for 10 years. He saw action in 49 NHL games with the Flames, Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings, posting two goals and 11 assists. He spent the bulk of his career in the American Hockey League, playing 535 games with 137 goals, 170 assists and 307 points. He suited up for his hometown Abbotsford Heat in 2009-10, and earned the team’s American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year nomination for his community contributions. He would go on to win an AHL Calder Cup championship as an assistant captain with the Manchester Monarchs in 2014-15. He retired in 2016 following one season overseas with Dusseldorf in Germany’s DEL.
Scott McLaren grew up in Abbotsford and began playing softball at age 6, continuing to play on rep teams into his teens. But it was in umpiring where he found his true calling on the ball diamond.
McLaren started his umpiring career at age 12 under the tutelage of Sid deHaan. He went on to serve as umpire-in-chief in Abbotsford during his university days, and advanced to work numerous provincial, Canadian and World championships over the years.
McLaren has achieved the highest level of umpire certification in Canada, and is International Softball Federation-certified. In 2017 he became the first Canadian to win the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC) umpire of the year award, and his most recent major international tournament was the 2019 Olympic Qualifying Tournament at Softball City in Surrey.
McLaren has been active with Softball BC, serving as the province’s deputy umpire-in-chief, facilitating training and development of new umpires, running clinics, and mentoring younger umpires. He is a member of the Softball Canada officiating development committee as deputy umpire-in-chief, and also works at the university level, umpiring games for the UBC and SFU women’s teams.
Coaches of the Year
The Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame is introducing annual coaching awards for the first time this year. These awards recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements and significant contributions coaches have made to their athletes and their sport. Selected coaches of the year will be recognized at the annual banquet and will be honoured with a plaque on the newly created Coaching Wall of Fame.
Doug Primrose has coached school rugby in Abbotsford dating back to 1994, helming teams at Abby Junior, Abby Senior, Bateman and Yale over the years. Primrose-coached teams have won Fraser Valley titles at the Grade 8, junior and senior boys levels, and he’s won a trio of B.C. provincial AAA senior boys medals (one gold and two bronze). He’s also coached extensively with the Abbotsford Rugby Football Club, guiding a trio of senior men’s teams to B.C. Div. 1 provincial titles, and helming one B.C. Div. 1 senior women’s championship-winning squad.
Harold Willers, a four-time Canadian champion in the hammer throw (1981 to 1984), went on to a distinguished three decade-plus career as the throwing coach with Abbotsford’s Valley Royals Track & Field Club. Willers has coached several athletes who have gone on to represent Canada internationally, including Wes Boudreau, Vikramjit Gondara and Rowan Hamilton, and he was named the Canadian development coach of the year in 2018 by Athletics Canada. In addition to his work with the Royals, Willers has coached throws with a number of schools and clubs in the Fraser Valley.
Luis Garcia has coached with the Abbotsford Falcons community football program since 2006, and has guided his squads to a remarkable 10 Fraser Valley titles. His Falcons peewees won back-to-back provincial championships in 2018 and 2019. While coaching the Falcons, Garcia has also coached in the school system with Howe Middle School and W.J. Mouat Secondary.
Wall of Fame
The Abbotsford Sports Wall of Fame for 2020 comprises 17 individuals and three teams who excelled during the previous calendar year.
Individual honourees include:
Tyson Ardell – Volleyball
Noah Bain – Rugby
Bryana Buttar – Soccer
Mathieu Caron – Hockey
Jalem Catlin – Football
Carlin Dick – Baseball
Gagandeep Grewal – Wrestling
Kira Katan – Rugby
Josiah Lavale – Rugby
Madison Makara – Rugby
Ty Martens – Football
Phoenix Moller – Football
Blake Neufeld – Football
Kira Peary – Rugby
Mariessa Pinto – Archery
Sarah Portas – Water Polo
Lucie Romeo – Rugby
Championship-winning Wall of Fame teams include:
MEI Senior Boys Volleyball
UFV Men’s Golf
UFV Men’s Baseball