Lakers’ Wayne Strachan named 2019-20 Gary Cook Memorial Award honouree

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The Superior International Junior Hockey League announced Tuesday that Fort Frances Lakers head and general manager Wayne Strachan has been named the 2019-20 recipient of its prestigious 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.

Strachan, the long-time Fort Frances bench boss and GM is the winningest coach in SIJHL history.

He has led the Lakers to multiple league finals, a trio of Bill Salonen Cup championships along with numerous Dudley-Hewitt Cup appearances.

Strachan also boasts a SIJHL-record five Coach of the Year honours from his time in the league.

“Wayne Strachan has been one of the leading figures in the SIJHL since its inception and not many are more deserving of this award,” offered commissioner Bryan Graham.

“His commitment to the Fort Frances program for nearly two decades has been a vital cog to the club’s success throughout the years, added Graham.

“We at the SIJHL thank Wayne for his continuous efforts and extend our heartiest congratulations to him on receiving this well-deserved recognition.”


The 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 Gary Cook Memorial Award recipients:

2019-20: Wayne Strachan, Fort Frances Lakers
2018-19: Tom Annelin, SIJHL Director of Communications
2017-18: Eric Vastamaki, SIJHL 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

Gary Cook Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame Bio