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From calling games to calling strikes: Four new inductees named to Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame

The inductees, as well as athletes, coaches and teams named to the Wall of Fame will be honoured at a ceremony on June 11.
Bernie Pascall interviews New York Rangers captain Phil Esposito. The longtime broadcaster, who lived in Coquitlam from 1969 until he retired to Vancouver Island in 2004, is one of four new inductees to the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame.

A baseball player, Canadian field hockey star, broadcaster and softball umpire comprise the Class of 2024 at the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame.

Former Montreal Expo prospect Don Gurniak, Olympian Ronnie Jagday, sportscaster Bernie Pascall and softball strike-caller Brian Van Os will be inducted in a ceremony June 11 at the theatre at Centennial Secondary.

Gurniak, a catcher, was signed by the Expos in 1970. But his big league career never panned out.

He played eight games for the Watertown Expos, Montreal’s A-level affiliate in the Northern League, and was released in 1972.

But that wasn’t the end of Gurniak’s baseball journey. He went on to an esteemed career winning provincial, Western Canadian and national championships with various senior men’s amateur and semi-pro teams in Vancouver, Burnaby and Victoria.

Five times Gurnaik was recognized as the most valuable player in various league and at several tournaments, including the 1975 Western Canadian championships. He retired from senior baseball in 1987 after leading the Vancouver Puccini’s to the senior men’s national title in Red Deer, Alberta.

Gurniak wasn’t done with the sport though. He started playing slow pitch in Port Moody and won the Canadian senior men’s championship in 1991, then started coached at Coquitlam Little League in 1991 where he was a key part of the effort to get new facilities built at Mackin and Blue Mountain parks.

Jagday, a grad of Centennial Secondary School, earned 125 caps over 10 seasons with Canada’s national field hockey team.

His achievements include a top-eight finish at the 1998 World Cup in Utrecht, Netherlands and a gold medal at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg. In 2000, he was part of Canada’s team that finished 10th at the Olympic Summer Games in Sydney, Australia.

Pascall moved to Coquitlam from Manitoba in 1969 when he landed a job as sports anchor at Burnaby-based BCTV where he reported on local, provincial and national stories, including doing play-by-play for local broadcasts of Vancouver Canucks games from 1970 to 1985. He was also tapped by national broadcaster CTV to cover six Olympics and he was on the call for the “Miracle on Ice” at the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., when the upstart U.S. team defeated the Soviets in the semifinal of the hockey tournament.

By the time Pascall retired, he’d covered the 1976 Canada Cup hockey tournament, several Grey Cup games and 10 world hockey championships.

Pascall is already a member of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, the B.C. Football Hall of Fame, the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Brian Van Os, who’s being inducted as a builder, umpired local, provincial, national and international softball games for more than 30 years. He was Softball BC’s umpire in chief from 1989 to 1997 and served on Softball Canada’s officiating and development committee for six years and he was the organization’s director of umpires for five.

Van Os was inducted in the Softball BC’s Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Softball Canada Hall of Fame in 2019.

The induction ceremony on June 11 will also honour several athletes, coaches and teams for their accomplishments in the past year by putting their names on the wall of fame.

They are:

  • Junior female athlete: Makenna and Delaney Self
  • Junior male athlete: Laon Kim; Dallen Brereton-Stiles
  • High School female athlete: Kiera Scott; Martina Yu
  • High School male athlete: Nick Matheson
  • University female athlete: Natalie Winter
  • Senior female athlete: Jordan Baxter
  • Senior male athlete: Thomas Milic; Christian Del Bianco
  • Masters athlete: Dave Ross
  • Coach: Larry Moro and Kevin Comeau
  • Team: Centennial senior girls soccer team

The Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame is located in the lobby of the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex.

It’s 1,000 sq. ft. of display space honours 76 inductees representing 21 sports, from Olympic medalists to minor league coaches.