NeveHarms Long-time former Peoria Heights mayor Ray PicI, who has devoted thousands of hours to the local sports scene, is the winner of the Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award for 1998.
PicI, in particular, has been synonymous with the Bradley Chiefs Club and the Chicago Cub Boosters of Central Illinois.
He has been a past president and currently on the board of directors of the Chiefs Club, a major fund-raising organization for the Bradley athletic program. Head man of the Chicago Cubs Boosters for 13 years, his efforts have made the appearance of the cub winter caravan a major event in Peoria with thousands attending the banquet each year. During his presidency the Cub boosters club has donated well over $100,000 to local sports programs.
He also has been coordinator of the Central Illinois Chicago Bears Fan Club and last year he finished second among 96 fan club coordinators in membership recruiting.
He was chairman of the committee that brought Junior League Football to Peoria Heights. Other volunteer duties over the years included public address announcer for Peoria Heights grade school sports and Peoria Heights High School football and basketball, official scorer for the Peoria Heights High School girls basketball team and coach in the Peoria Heights Junior Basketball League.
Long-time former Peoria Heights mayor Ray PicI, who has devoted thousands of hours to the local sports scene, is the winner of the Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award for 1998.
Hockey was a sport local fans could watch only if they went to Chicago or St. Louis until BardezBanian founded the Peoria Stars in 1959.
The two were with the Pekin Stars until 1970, when they formed the Peoria Blades, on the outdoor rink at Logan, in 1971. The Logan "bubble" went up the next year and the Blades, through membership in the Continental League, gave Peoria a solid taste of hockey.
BardezBanian played with the Blades for a few years, then became president while Olson always served as the team's general manager.
And the two gave hockey a boost whenever they could. BardezBanian coached the Bradley University club team for many years and both were instrumental in starting and maintaining youth hockey in Pekin and Peoria.
Both are now retired, Olson from Caterpillar's Mossville plant and BardezBanian from a management position with the City of Peoria.