VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A former world champion pro-wrestler with strong local ties has yet to be inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame, but that could change if Steven Verrier gets his way.
The author of the 2018 biography “Gene Kiniski — Canadian Wrestling Legend” is among those vouching for the man who was a household name across Canada for decades.
“In fact, I nominated Gene for induction last year. He was a finalist but not successful,” he explains. “Now, this year, the induction committee has all of the materials, they’re going over them, and the committee will be meeting in mid-September and then induction announcements will be made, I believe, in the middle of November.”
Verrier is confident this year will be different.
“In the past, Kiniski was nominated simply as an athlete. This time around, we’ve nominated him for the W.A.C. Bennett award, which factors in a lot of other things, like impact on people in the community and on the sporting world,” Verrier says.
Former sportscaster Bernie Pascall, car dealer Moray Keith, and members of the local amateur wrestling community are also backing his induction.
Kiniski, an Edmonton native who once played for the CFL Eskimos, spent much of his life in B.C.
“He started appearing on the West Coast, in Vancouver, in the late 1950s. He lived in the Vancouver area through much of the early 60s,” Verrier explains.
“When he was a World Champion wrestler, he was based in St. Louis most of the time, but from 1968 on he was based in the Vancouver area.”
Kiniski died in 2010 at the age of 81.