The BC Sports Hall of Fame welcomed some very special Richmondites this week as part of its 2023 inductees.
Judo coach and pioneer for the sport Jim Kojima and the all-conquering 1971 Richmond Roadrunners Men’s Lacrosse team now have their place in sporting fame.
Kojima and Roadrunners coach Ron Phillips, along with team captain Gary Bregani, each received a plaque at the ceremony in Vancouver earlier this week.
Born and raised in Steveston, Kojima racked up almost 70 years of service devoting most of his life to the sport of judo in various capacities and roles, including as an athlete, coach, referee, official, and administrator.
He has served with Judo Canada since 1957 and Judo BC since 1958 and is still active with both to the present day.
Kojima was also an international Judo Federation referee at six Olympic Games and 22 world championships from 1974-2001.
He was an original member of the Steveston Judo Club, which was formed in 1953, and has helped raise nearly $100,000 to build the Steveston Martial Arts Centre in 1972, the first dojo built in the traditional Japanese architectural style outside of Japan.
The 1971 Richmond Roadrunners team, meanwhile, won the Canadian Junior A Minto Cup, the first western Canadian team to win the cup in nine years.
They defeated Peterborough 4-3 in a thrilling seven-game series held at New Westminster’s Queens Park Arena, with the deciding seventh game a 13-11 victory in overtime before over 5,000 spectators.
Lacrosse experts consider this one of the greatest lacrosse series ever in Minto Cup history.
Earlier that season, Richmond won the BC Junior A lacrosse championship defeating top-ranked Burnaby Cablevision 4-3 in a thrilling seven-game series with Game 7 a 14-12 overtime victory.
This series featured four games that went to overtime. Richmond finished second in the Pacific Junior A Lacrosse League with a 14-10 win-loss record, rallying from a five-game losing streak to start the season.
The team included: Stan Ackerman (public relations), Ed Ashcroft, Barry Atkinson, Chuck Bourne, Gary Bregani, Jim Bregani, Jack Buchanan, Bill Clearie, Randy Crowe (president), Roy Crowe, Larry Dean, Dave Durante, Mal Follis (secretary-treasurer), Ted Gernaey, Bob Holmes, Doug May, Grant McCauley, Harvey Olsen, Gord Osinchuk, Tom Penway, Larry Phillips (team manager), Ron Phillips (coach and general manager), Jerry Pinder, Ron Pinder, Mike Safianuk, Pat Safianuk, Butch Skirzyk (assistant coach), Mike Smith, Fred Sutton (equipment manager), Bob Tasker, Brian Tasker, Dave Tasker, Bob Taylor (trainer), Dave Taylor, Gil Tetrault, Lyle Trowski, Walt Weaver and Sandy Wheelhouse.