By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
The tight-knit group that is the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice officials lost a friend Monday morning when Jim Hill died at the age of 70.
Hill, a volunteer with the WHL team since 1990, had been dealing with a heart condition and was scheduled for surgery on Friday.
Dan Cournoyea, who supervises the off-ice officials, said Tuesday that Hill was awaiting surgery.
“He had gone to Vancouver a couple of times and everything was scheduled,” Cournoyea said. “I talked to him last week. He was excited . . . he told me his surgery was upcoming. It was a lot less serious than he was first led to believe.”
Hill first volunteered with the Blazers in 1990, starting out as an usher at Memorial Arena.
The Blazers moved to their new home in Riverside Coliseum in 1992 and Hill switched to security, working by the Blazers’ bench. For the last eight seasons, he was located in the penalty box as a timekeeper.
With the off-ice officials, Hill dealt with a lot of the scheduling.
“He really liked doing it and really wanted to do it,” said Cournoyea, who had known Hill since 1998. “He enjoyed doing it.”
Hill was, Cournoyea said, “absolutely . . . absolutely” a good guy.
If you are a regular at Blazers games, you will recall Hill from his role in various video shorts that were shown on the scoreclock, all of them poking fun at visiting teams.
Two years ago, Fred Nicolson, who headed up the off-ice officials, lost a battle with cancer. Like Hill, Nicolson was 70 when he died.
Hill is survived by his wife, Noreen, daughters Lucy and Kathy, and sons Tom and Bob, along with 12 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
At Hill’s request, there won’t be a funeral; however, a celebration of Hill’s life, in the form of an open house and barbecue, is scheduled to be held on Friday.
The obituary that appears in the Kamloops Daily News today is right here.
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