Brian Lundberg and Rod Tipton joined eight other Cowichan Lake sports legends on the Wall of Fame in a special ceremony Saturday, May 17.
Lundberg, or Lundy as he is widely known in the Cowichan Valley, is one of a small group of hockey players who have played a single game in the National Hockey League.
After playing minor hockey in Lake Cowichan, followed by a university hockey career with the Michigan Wolverines, he was drafted 177th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1980. He saw his first pro action as a defenceman with the American Hockey League’s Erie Blades in 1981/82.
The following season, Lundberg was called up by the Penguins to play at Toronto’s storied Maple Leaf Gardens, picking up a twominute minor on a major league evening.
Unfortunately that was his only NHL game and after playing in both the U.S. and Germany, Lundberg decided it was time to come home.
"I wanted to devote my energy to my relationship with my girlfriend [local girl Angie Friesen, who became his wife]. That’s one thing in my life I did get right," he told the big crowd gathered at the Cowichan Rocks curling rink for the ceremony last Saturday.
Since returning to the Lake, Lundberg has continued to be an active athlete and he thanked his friends from the Appollos hockey team, who came out in force to see him honoured, for the good times they’ve all enjoyed down the years.
Rod Tipton may be 66 now but he began waterskiing at age 13, back when the Lake Cowichan Water-Ski Club was just starting up.
Right from the start, he told the crowd, he was hooked on the sport, and with the help of his dad, Walt, he jumped right in.
In 1962, he won the boys junior Vancouver Island Championship on Shawnigan Lake. That same week he flew to Winnipeg where he won the Canadian Water-Ski Championship ski jumping event in the boys division. He also placed second in tricks and third in slalom.
At age 19, in 1967, he won the Men’s Division at the Canadian Nationals, which were held that year at Victoria’s Elk Lake. By 1971, he had qualified for the Canadian national team to go to the World Championships in Spain.
But tragedy struck.
He tore the ligaments in his knee, forcing him to withdraw.
"My alternate got to go and he was happy about that," Tipton recalled.
He qualified again the following year but, as the world competition was only held every two years, he decided he’d had enough and handed over his chance to that lucky alternate.
He continued to water-ski for many years and even slalomed at age 65 to show his grandchildren how it is done.
After the recognition ceremony, both Tipton and Lundberg went out into the lobby of the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena to unveil their plaques on the Wall of Fame.