THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The Superior International Junior Hockey League announced Friday that long-time referee Eric Vastamaki has been named the 2017-18 recipient of the prestigious CCM Hockey – Gary Cook Memorial Award.
This distinguished honour is presented annually by the SIJHL to an individual in recognition of their efforts, commitment and contributions to the league.
Based out of Thunder Bay, Vastamaki has officiated in the SIJHL since its inception back in 2001 and has refereed countless contests throughout all the SIJHL markets in northwestern Ontario in each of the league’s 17 years of operation.
“The SIJHL would like to congratulate Eric on this deserving honour,” offered league commissioner,” Bryan Graham.
“Officiating at any level can be a thankless task on many nights, but Eric has always fulfilled his obligations with class and distinction and has been an utmost professional all these years,” added Graham.
“We at the Superior International Junior Hockey League thank him for his years of steadfast commitment to the growth of the SIJHL and all of its on-ice officials.”
Vastamaki will be recognized with the presentation of the Gary Cook Memorial Award at an upcoming SIJHL game.
ABOUT THE GARY COOK AWARD
The CCM – Gary Cook Memorial Award is presented annually by the SIJHL in honour of the late hockey icon for his five decades of hockey-related service to the community of Thunder Bay.
An honoured member of the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, Mr. Cook was the ultimate hockey executive who boasted a resume of championship clubs that was second to none in hockey circles around North America.
Among his many accomplishments as a general manager and executive with multiple Thunder Bay-based franchises, was a record five Allan Cup Canadian senior hockey championships, three Colonial Hockey League crowns, a CHL executive of the year award, a trio of SIJHL Bill Salonen Cup titles and a Dudley-Hewitt Cup trophy all the while earning the admiration and respect of the many, many people he was associated with over the years.
The following are the all-time CCM – Gary Cook Executive of the Year Memorial Award recipients:
2017-18: Eric Vastamaki, Referee
2016-17: Doug Colbon, Thunder Bay North Stars
2015-16: Milt Strachan, Fort Frances Lakers
2014-15: Ron Whitehead, Former SIJHL President/Commissioner
2013-14: Mike Ebbeling, CKDR Radio Dryden
2012-13: Trevor Hosanna, Hockey Northwestern Ontario
2011-12: Malcolm Robertson, Dryden Ice Dogs
2010-11: Rod Aldoff, Wisconsin Wilderness
2009-10: Ted Lake, Dryden Ice Dogs
2008-09: Doug Lawrance, Sioux Lookout Flyers
2007-08: Carolyn/Scott Kellaway, Fort Frances Jr. Sabres
CLICK HERE to view Gary Cook’s Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame Bio