Next time you’re at a Kamloops Blazers game, head to the east end of the rink — that’s where you’ll find over two decades worth of hockey pride and handiwork by Duane Torgunrud.
The 81-year-old retired oil refinery worker has been a dedicated fan of the Blazers ever since he and his wife, Doreen, moved to Kamloops in 1993. In fact, an unbreakable love for Canada’s game is what drew the couple to this hockey-loving B.C. town in the first place.
“We moved I think on a Friday night and we were at a hockey game by Sunday afternoon,” says Torgunrud.
They’ve been season-ticket holders ever since.
Torgunrud’s love for the Blazers doesn’t end at the rink. He carries that passion for the team each year as he chips away at a new tribute to the franchise in his basement workshop.
The tradition began with a few hockey-player pins and a love for carpentry. His first project, a Memorial Cup replica for the 1994-95 CHL champions — which included Darcy Tucker, Shane Doan, Tyson Nash and, Torgunrud’s all-time favourite Blazer, Jarome Iginla — began a long tradition of what he calls his “Blazers button boards.”
The Toronto Maple Leafs were Torgunrud’s first hockey love as a boy growing up in Midale, Saskatchewan.
“I had some friends back then that were Montreal Canadiens fans,” he says. “We came close to not being friends.”
It’s clear, though, that he’s found his true team in the Blazers. His current project — pictured above, in the shape of B.C. — will join the rest of the collection at Sandman Centre at season’s end.