Jim Peterson and Richard Hajdu are both long-time residents of the Cowichan Lake area and have both contributed much to the sports culture of the area. As such, it seems fitting that these two gentlemen were inducted into the Lake Cowichan Sports Wall of Fame on Sat., May 18 at the Cowichan Lake Sports arena.
Their two plaques will now hang with the other inductees in the foyer of the arena for visitors and residents alike to see and admire.
“When people come from out of town to visit the arena, they see those plaques and it means a lot to the community here having the recognition that these athletes get,” says Mayor Ross Forrest, who presented the plaques. “The selection committee that we have for this puts a lot of thought into who goes up on that wall and it’s very tough choices all the time.”
Richard Hajdu is a hockey player who started his career here in Lake Cowichan playing at the arena. He boasts 22 goals, 36 assists and 101 penalty minutes with the Kamloops Junior Oilers, and he was drafted in the second round, 34 over all by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1983 NHL draft. He also played for the Victoria Cougars from 1981-85. In 1986 he turned professional with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League playing for the Buffalo Sabres.
Hajdu was humble, and even a little emotional, in accepting his plaque.
“I have to say that growing up in Lake Cowichan was simply a great experience,” says Hajdu. “Whether it was spending weeks at the arena here during the summer at hockey schools and the enjoyment of that, or it was spending the winter months here at the arena, in and out, for many events, or at the jam-packed Laker games.”
Jim Peterson is the original owner and builder of the March Meadows golf course in Honeymoon Bay. He was honoured as both a hockey player and a promoter in the sport of golf.
“If ever there was a person who always gave 100 per cent effort, Jim was that person,” Forrest read from the plaque upon presenting it. “Because of his work ethic, Jim not only had the admiration of his teammates, but all of his opponents also respected the relentless determination he played with.”
Peterson played for the Lakers Intermediate A hockey team when the Cowichan Lake Arena first opened in 1970. He received the MVP award in the team’s inaugural season, as well as the fan voted most popular player award. Peterson coached hockey in the area for many years and was picked up to play for island teams because of his reputation for speed on the ice.
“Since [March Meadows] inception in 1970, Jim and his wife Carol have insured golfers a great facility with continued improvements, providing us the beautiful course March Meadows is today,” says Forrest.
Once the presentation was done, those family and friends who had gathered to witness the event spent time sharing stories over snacks and drinks in the Curling Lounge of the arena.