A pair of former Surrey Eagles are among a handful of players who were named this week to the BC Hockey League’s 60th Anniversary Team.
Both Shane Kuss – who is the BCHL’s all-time leading scorer – and John McNabb were among the forwards to be selected for the team, which also includes such notable names as Brett Hull, Paul Kariya and Kyle Turris, all of whom went on to lengthy careers in the National Hockey League.
Kuss, who played for the team from 1993 until 1997 – and also coached the Eagles from 2007-10 – is listed in the BCHL announcement as “a slam dunk” choice as the league’s best-ever forward, and it’s hard to argue. In his four seasons in the league, Kuss – who now coaches with Semiahmoo Minor Hockey – scored 418 points, including 282 assists, in 238 games. Both point and assist totals are all-time league records.
Kuss capped his BCHL career by leading the Eagles to a Fred Page Cup league title in 1997.
After Kuss graduated from junior hockey after the ‘97 season, McNabb took over as the Eagles’ go-to offensive weapon. In his first year in Surrey, he finished second in league scoring with 106 points while leading the team to a second-straight Fred Page Cup championship.
McNabb – who spent parts of two seasons in the Western Hockey League before coming to the BCHL – was even more prolific in his second season, scoring 132 points. He was also named the league MVP that season.
After his BCHL career, he went on to play minor pro in a number of cities – including Long Beach, Calif., Pensacola, Fla. and Austin, Texas – before retiring after the 2009 season, which he spent playing in Phoenix and Corpus Christi, Texas.
Other forwards named to the BCHL anniversary team are Hull (Penticton Knights, 1982-84); Gordie McKay (Penticton Broncos/Vees, 1973-77); Kariya (Penticton Panthers, 1990-92); John Newberry (Nanaimo Clippers, 1979-80); Kyle Greentree (Victoria Salsa, 1999-04); Robb Gordon (Powell River Paper Kings, 1992-94); Wayne Dye (1967-72); Turris (Burnaby Express, 2005-07); Alex Newhook (Victoria Grizzlies, 2017-19) and Joe Potskin (Chilliwack Chiefs, 1990-91).
On defence, the honoured players were Campbell Blair (Shuswap Totems/Summerland Buckaroos/Vernon Lakers, 1983-87); Ian Kidd (Penticton Knights, 1983-85); Tom Serviss (Vernon Essos, 1967-68); Scott Frizzell (Delta Flyers/Powell River Paper Kings, 1987-88); Mike Reilly (Penticton Vees, 2011-12) and Dante Fabbro (Penticton Vees, 2014-16).
In goal, Michael Garteig (Powell River Paper Kings/Penticton Vees, 2009-12) and Hunter Miska (Penticton, 2013-15) were chosen.
In the release announcing the selections, the BCHL noted that the team was selected with the help of three experts – the BCHL’s official historian, Fred Hume; BCHL Network website owner Brian Wiebe and Paul Beugeling, creator or VernonJrAHockey.ca.
Each person created a list for all three positions and were combined into one team. Tiebreakers were decided by the BCHL head office.
To celebrate the BCHL’s 60th season, the junior ‘A’ league planned a number of events throughout the year. In addition to naming the 60th anniversary ‘best of’ squad, there were also a handful of events scheduled around the league’s all-start weekend in Penticton in mid-January. However, those festivities had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic – and specifically, the Omicron variant, which hit its peak in January.
The league still plans to honour its history at next year’s all-star game, BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb told Peace Arch News earlier this year.
“It was going to be a fantastic celebration, it was going to be great. And it still is going to be great – we’re just going to have it in our 61st year, instead of our 60th,” he said.