Jim Robson? Jim Hughson? Bob Cole? Foster Hewitt? Danny Gallivan?
Were any of these famous play-by-play artists Dennis Berarducci’s inspiration for his announcements at hockey games at the Revelstoke Forum?
No, the newly awarded Revelstoke Citizen of the Year told me. It was Bernard Nelson, the announcer for Revelstoke’s Tournament of Champions that made him want to be behind the microphone. “He inspired me, and I always said to myself as a kid, ‘I want to do that someday,’ and here I am.” And he never even really met Nelson, just admired his work from the crowd watching the ski jumpers.
Berarducci has been a fixture as a volunteer at the Forum since the mid 1970s, which is one of the reasons he earned the citizen of the year nod from the Revelstoke Lions Club.
He started when his kids got into hockey, where he filled a number of roles for the Revelstoke Mighty Mites and still volunteers with Revelstoke Minor Hockey to this day. “Minor hockey treats me like gold,” Berarducci said. “I can’t say enough thanks to them and their organization.”
He then served as a goal judge and timekeeper for the Revelstoke Selkirks senior men’s team before getting involved with the booster club for the Revelstoke Rockets, a Junior A team in the early 1980s.
Berarducci also served as a goal judge and timekeeper for the Revelstoke Merchants senior men’s team in the ‘80s and early ‘90s.
Of course, he now serves behind the mic at the Revelstoke Forum for the Revelstoke Grizzlies, and also volunteers for Revelstoke Minor Hockey. “Usually on the weekends I’m there all weekend,” he said.
He’s won accolades for his involvement with hockey before. He was awarded the Heather Ward Memorial Trophy for a dedicated minor hockey volunteer in 2006.
He was awarded a Life Members’ Award by BC Hockey in 2010, something he remembers with pride.
Through it all he collected local hockey memorabilia, including news story clippings and collectibles, which led to the creation of The History of Hockey Society.
Its creation started when he was rummaging through boxes with his brother. “I gathered up so much memorabilia over the years, and I had it just sitting at home,” Berarducci said. “He said, ‘You should do what they do in the Montreal Forum,’” his brother suggested. “And I said what’s that?”
Trophy cases adorned with memorabilia adorn the concourse level of the famed Montreal venue.
He managed to get a few unused cases from the parks department and started the collection that now rings the Revelstoke Forum.
Berarducci is a hockey history buff, and lists off professional or drafted players whose hockey journey came through Revelstoke.
Ron Flockart, Darren Cota, Sandy Molger, Bruce Holloway and Aaron Volpatti are some examples. He’s also proud of those who made it to college via hockey, or are college-bound, such as recent Grizzlies Riley Hunt and Jeff Jones.
“Revelstoke’s got a lot of hockey talent,” he said.
It’s not just about those that make it to the big leagues.
“The kids just enlighten you. Just to see their progression through the year, year after year is just absolutely amazing to watch,” he said. “Whether they go on to play any higher level of hockey … it’s still an amazing development process.”
The History of Hockey isn’t just about preserving and presenting memorabilia. They also provide bursaries for graduating students and assistance for children interested in skating.
“It is community money going back into the community,” Berarducci said. “The reason we are there is to help less fortunate kids in hockey or figure skating.”
Dennis was also cited for his work with Revelstoke Vintage Car Club, where he serves as president, putting on events like the summertime show ‘n’ shine in downtown Revelstoke. Berarducci has been involved with car clubs since the late 1960s, and answered one of those questions I’ve been meaning to ask for years: Why is the Lord’s car club called that?
He explained it came from an early meeting in 1969 when they were searching for a name, when a vision struck one of the members – but it wasn’t a holy one. A member saw the name on a cigar box that was sitting around and suggested it – it stuck. Berarducci still has the original-issue Lord’s jacket.
Dennis was known as the hot dog man for much of his life. Along with his wife Glenalee, he operated a hot dog stand on the corner of First Street and Mackenzie Avenue, just next to what was then the offices of the Revelstoke Review. “I met people from all over the world,” he said of the work.
He still loves hot dogs, but doesn’t eat them anymore. “I had a heart attack,” he said with a laugh.
Berarducci was just wrapping up at a hockey game in December when Una McInnes of the Revelstoke Lions Club came up and told him the news.
“I guess you could have knocked me over with a feather – I had no idea,” he said. “I volunteer because I enjoy doing what I do and have fun doing it. To me, it’s just part of my winters.
“I’ve been very lucky. That’s all I can say. It’s very humbling. I volunteer because I enjoy it – I don’t volunteer for the recognition. I think all the people on that trophy are the same – I don’t think one of them ever thought they’d been awarded,” he added.
Dennis would like to thank his wife Glenalee, those who nominated him and the Revelstoke Lions Club for the award.