Jayna Hefford (Kingston, Ont.), Ken Hitchcock (Edmonton, Alta.) and George Kingston (Biggar, Sask.) are the Distinguished Honourees of the Order of Hockey in Canada for 2019.
Here is the statement from Hockey Canada on the great feat accomplished by the Edmonton Oilers' head coach.
"The Order is a Hockey Canada initiative that began in 2012 to celebrate individuals for their outstanding contributions or service to the growth and development of the sport of hockey in Canada.
A fixture on the Team Canada bench for more than a decade, Hitchcock got his first taste of international hockey at the 1988 IIHF World Junior Championship, winning gold as an assistant coach. He returned in 2002, winning Olympic gold in Salt Lake City, and added two more at the 2010 Games in Vancouver and 2014 Games in Sochi. Hitchcock also won a World Cup title in 2004, and served as head coach at a pair of IIHF World Championships, in 2008 and 2011. Currently the head coach of his hometown Edmonton Oilers, Hitchcock won a Stanley Cup championship with Dallas in 1999, and his 837 wins leave him third in NHL history. He earned the Jack Adams Award in 2011-12, and was twice named WHL Coach of the Year during his time with the Kamloops Blazers, in 1986-87 and 1989-90.
“As players and coaches, this group of honourees has proudly represented Canada on some of the biggest stages in the game,” said Tom Renney, CEO of Hockey Canada. “To be recognized as a Distinguished Honouree of the Order of Hockey in Canada is one of the most prestigious accomplishments one can receive, and this year’s honourees are certainly well-deserving. On behalf of my colleagues at Hockey Canada, the Order of Hockey in Canada selection committee and our board members, I would like to congratulate Jayna, Ken and George on this achievement, and we look forward to celebrating with them in June.”
Since 2012, the Order of Hockey in Canada has recognized 24 honourees: Mike Babcock (2018); Jean Béliveau (2012); Scotty Bowman (2017); David Branch (2016); Cassie Campbell-Pascall (2012); Clare Drake (2014); Danielle Goyette (2018); Jim Gregory (2015); Wayne Gretzky (2012); Geraldine Heaney (2016); Paul Henderson (2013); Gordie Howe (2012); Dave King (2013); Mario Lemieux (2016); Mark Messier (2013); Bob Nicholson (2016); Pat Quinn (2015); Gordon Renwick (2012); France St-Louis (2014); Serge Savard (2015); Ryan Smyth (2018); and Steve Yzerman (2014).
A selection committee of 12 members – appointed by the Order of Hockey in Canada executive committee, established by Hockey Canada – is tasked with nominating and selecting, via secret ballot, the annual recipients of the Order of Hockey in Canada. The committee members represent a cross-section of individuals with great and varied experience around the game of hockey in Canada, including members of the media and hockey administration."