Lew Hendrickson ‘community hero’ for saving Grizzlies

Revelstoke Grizzlies owner Lew Hendrickson deserves credit for keeping team in Revelstoke.

Editor,

In reference to your article (Sale of Revelstoke Grizzlies close) of June 4, 2014, I would like to clarify a few points that were printed erroneously. Since Mr. Lewis Hendrickson became a part of the ownership group in 2009, the Revelstoke Grizzlies’ accomplishments should be further emphasized and highlighted in a more amiable fashion:

­— 2009-2010: Overall KIJHL League Champions, Keystone Cup Champions, and Cyclone Taylor Cup Champions

— 2010-2011: Placed first in the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference and Doug Birks Division, fourth overall in league standings. Made it to conference finals.

— 2011-2012: Placed first in the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference and Doug Birks Division, second overall in league standings. Lost in Game 7 to the Sicamous Eagles in first round.

2012-2013: Placed third in the Doug Birks Division with a rookie coach and overhaul in ownership. Lost in hard fought first round to Sicamous Eagles.

These accomplishments seem to have been omitted or forgotten in your article. Mr. Hendrickson has been a part of an ownership group that has brought unprecedented success in the KIJHL to Revelstoke. He has helped to keep this team in Revelstoke and that should be celebrated; not vilified as your comment seems to infer, “In two seasons under Hendrickson, the team’s record plummeted…”

Although the team’s record was not as stellar as past years, at least Mr. Hendrickson stepped up when no one else would. It was his efforts that stopped the sale of the team to 100 Mile House, not the Revelstoke Grizzlies Society. In May of 2012, I was present at the Board of Governors’ meeting in Castlegar when we made an impassioned speech pleading our case to not move the team. Members of the society were there and were given an opportunity to speak on the matter and did not.

In 2012-13, Mr. Hendrickson took over majority ownership and I worked as a volunteer to help him run the team. In that year we cleared close to $73,000 in previous debt and unpaid bills left over by previous management to local businesses in a highly successful year of operations (not $60,000).

Try doing that and running a franchise at the same time on limited funds! We accomplished this goal and I am extremely proud of that fact, while having a competitive and hard-working team with record attendance figures and community support from great organizations like the Revelstoke Credit Union; stepping up to be such great helpers nightly.

In my opinion, Mr. Hendrickson should be treated as a community hero in this regard for working to do what no other individuals would do — SAVE this team, keep it local and provide stellar entertainment to the community which really hasn’t always supported it.

He ensured local players got the opportunity to play and has personally sunk a small fortune into this team to keep it going. He provided an active, vibrant, entertaining sports venue for our winter visitors and the community of Revelstoke while never asking for praise or accolades.

In the future, please ensure that your facts and figures are correct and that they tell the whole story. Your articles should not be insulting to people who’ve given so much back to the community.

Yours truly,

Steve Smith

Past business manager, Revelstoke Grizzlies

 

 

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