According to the Canadian Press on Tuesday, Edmonton Oilers president and chief operating officer Bob Nicholson will receive the Order of Hockey in Canada in 2016. Nicholson is one of four people who will be recognized this year. The list also includes Canadian Olympic gold medalists Mario Lemieux and Geraldine Heaney, along with Canadian Hockey League president David Branch.
A major reason why Nicholson is being honoured is for his outstanding work for Hockey Canada. He was the president and chief executive of Hockey Canada from June of 1998 to May of 2014. During that time team Canada won four consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Winter Games in women's hockey (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014), and three gold medals at the Olympic Winter Games in men's hockey (2002, 2010 and 2014).
A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Nicholson was also in charge for Hockey Canada while the Canadian men's hockey program achieved success at other prestigious international hockey tournaments. For example, while Nicholson was the president of Hockey Canada, the Canadian national junior team won five consecutive gold medals at the World Junior Hockey Championship from 2005 to 2009. Team Canada also won gold at the World Hockey Championship in 2003, 2004 and 2007 and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
Lemieux and Heaney reached success internationally at the highest level at the Olympic Winter Games while Nicholson was at the helm of Hockey Canada. Lemieux won a gold medal for Canada at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City in men's hockey and Heaney won a gold medal for Canada at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City in women's hockey.
This is the fourth time in the last decade that Heaney has been honoured. In 2008, she was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame. In 2013 Heaney was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and in 2014 was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.
The Oilers meanwhile lost 5-3 to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. They next play host to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.