Canadian actor and stand-up comedian Gerry Dee is the host for Friday night’s BC Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Auction. (Tijana Martin – Canadian Press)

Canadian actor and stand-up comedian Gerry Dee is the host for Friday night’s BC Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Auction. (Tijana Martin – Canadian Press)

Comedian Gerry Dee ready to lighten things up at BC Hockey Hall of Fame

Canadian actor and stand-up comedian Gerry Dee is hosting the event in Penticton

For Canadian actor and stand-up comedian Gerry Dee, it’s all for the love of the game.

That’s why he agreed to host the 2019 BC Hockey Hall of Fame induction dinner and auction in Penticton.

“I’m just going to keep the night moving while I add my knowledge of the game and my humour. I have some knowledge about the people of being inducted and I’ll add some of my own comedy to lighten the mood for a bit of the night,” said Dee. “But it’s an honour to get to do this, and welcome these athletes to the BC Hockey Hall of Fame. Anytime you can get excited into any hall of fame in any city, region or place, it’s an honour and a fun night so I’m looking forward to it.”

READ MORE: Sedin twins, NHL ref among 2019 BC Hockey Hall of Fame inductees

Long before Dee was known for his comedy routines, gaining notoriety on the show Last Comic Standing in 2007, he played varsity hockey while attending St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., and went on to teach high school physical education for 10 years while he continued his hockey involvement as a coach.

Dee also got to live out the dream of many die-hard hockey fans when he hosted his own segment, entitled Gerry Dee: Sports Reporter, on the Canadian cable channel The Score and interviewed sports legends from all walks of life. Some of his notable interviewees include Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Cito Gaston and Chris Bosh.

When asked which players he’d like to see face off, he said, “I saw a lot of players face off, when I was growing up it was (Wayne) Gretzky for me, and then (Mario) Lemieux. Now it’s (Nathan) MacKinnon and (Sidney) Crosby. But if I was to take players from different generations, it’d be nice to see Crosby and Gretzky go together, in their primes. I’d love to see what that would look like.”

READ MORE: Gerry Dee to host B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame induction in Penticton

And as much as he loves all aspects of the game, Dee has a particular interest in advocating for women and girls’ hockey.

“There’s a lot of girls I got to know on the national team over the years, so I was trying to lend my voice to that. These girls have put so much in, the same amount of time and energy, and same dreams as the men,” said Dee. “But the end goal is not as lucrative. So it’s just something I’m trying to bring attention to, how good and competitive women’s hockey is and see if we can slowly move the needle on their jobs and making it accessible to make it a livelihood.”

READ MORE: NHL official from Penticton celebrates milestone

Dee said he’s excited to host the induction dinner and auction in Penticton, noting he’s been to the city a few times before so he’s happy to be returning.

Unfortunately, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who are both being inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame that evening, are unable to attend as they are back in Sweden with their families for the summer, but inductee Barret Jackman will be in attendance and Dee looks forward to honouring his success.

“I unfortunately never got to meet the players being inducted on Friday, I did meet a lot of players doing The Score interviews. But they all have had great careers,” said Dee. “For the Sedins, I’m fascinated that they got to play together, I think Brian Burke (former GM of Vancouver Canucks) worked some magic there and that was a special thing.”

When pressed on anything he plans on highlighting during the special evening,

Dee said he’ll talk about the involvement of each player’s family.

“I’m a parent, and I know these parents put in a lot of time and effort into their kids, and money and travel and a lot of their own sacrifices. So it’s also about the families that night, and getting to see their son or daughter get inducted,” said Dee. “It’s special, so I always think of the parents since they don’t always get the credit. Of course, the kids always give their parents credit first, which is nice to see. But it’s important for us as fans to realize that its kind of like the whole family is getting inducted if you ask me.”

Also being inducted is Shane Heyer, from Summerland, an on-ice NHL official for the past 30 years. Ron Delorme, a member of the Vancouver Canucks organization for many years as a player and scout will be inducted into the Builders Category, along with the late Karen Wallace, an integral part of Women’s hockey development in B.C. The 1997-98 South Surrey Eagles of the BCHL, winners of the RBC Cup, will be inducted into the Team Category.

Tickets for the induction dinner and auction, which will be hosted at the South Okanagan Events Centre from 5 to 10 p.m., can be purchased online at www.bchhf.com or at the door between 5 and 6 p.m.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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