For the last two and a half months, Pat Loyer has spent hours each day calling B.C.’s most influential hockey figures and collecting famous memorabilia never seen before by the public.
His goal is simple — to honour the sport he loves and to ensure the province properly recognizes the legacy so many have left behind.
Loyer is the new curator at the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame, which happens to be located in the city he’s called home for over three years — Penticton.
The Edmonton-born curator retired in the Peach City after working as a firefighter in Alberta and thought he’d never work again.
His passion for storytelling and hockey memorabilia, however, changed his retirement plans in a hurry when he received an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I was a fireman in Calgary for 31 years and we retired out in (Penticton) and there are very few things I would have taken a job for, but this was such a perfect fit,” he said.
“I used to tell my mom that sometimes I had a tough time getting up and going to the Firehall but I’ve never had a tough time getting up for hockey.”
Since taking the curator job two and a half months ago, Loyer has reworked and added to many of the inductees’ Hall of Fame displays like Edmonton Oilers’ legend Glen Anderson and Vancouver Canucks’ player and coach Pat Quinn.
And when Loyer picks up the phone every day to call somebody about acquiring new memorabilia for an inductee’s box, he’s got one thing on his mind.
“I try every day to phone two or three of the inductees and I tell them the story about what I’m doing and they’re all very responsive,” he explained. “I just want to make the boxes look nice and be something that them and their family can be proud of.”
Anderson’s Hall of Fame display now features a Stanley Cup Finals game-worn jersey, after Loyer’s work ensured it made its way to Penticton. As for the late Quinn, who passed away in November of 2014, his box has a new addition the curator couldn’t be happier about.
It’s a picture of Quinn, playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, battling in-game against Loyer’s all-time favourite player, Gordie Howe.
“This is kind of my forte,” Loyer said. “I’m good at hunting down stuff and my basement is full of memorabilia.
“I have good contacts and I’m able to find stuff and do it.”
After the Hall of Fame’s curator is satisfied with the inductees’ boxes, there’s a new task he’ll be ready to tackle.
The plan is to have a section in the Hall that showcases the history of the B.C. Hockey League (BCHL) and the Western Hockey League. Loyer himself played in the WHL from 1982-1986 before he became a firefighter.
“We’re celebrating B.C. hockey,” he stated. “I got retros jerseys coming from the BCHL and I’ve talked to all the WHL teams and they’re all sending me stuff as well.”
The B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame is located inside the South Okanagan Events Centre (SOEC), the home of the Penticton Vees.
Loyer’s passion for his new job extends to community initiatives like raffling off Hall of Fame items at Vees games and regularly donating to local food banks.
In addition to hunting down more historic items for people both in Penticton and across the province to enjoy, the former junior hockey defenseman is calling on local businesses and organizations to sponsor each inductee’s display.
“If you want to sponsor your favorite player or person you know and support the Hockey Hall of Fame, you can sponsor it.”
People who are interested in sponsoring a display at the Hall are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though it may be early days in Loyer’s curator tenure, he’s already thought about how he plans on assessing his job when his time at Hall comes to an end.
“My goal is to get everything full and nice so that the next person who comes in after me only has to pay the bills and turn the lights on.”
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