NeveHarms About the Neve Harms Award
The Neve Harms Award for Meritorious Service to Sports was established in 1966.
Neve was director of Proctor Recreation Center. He knew the need for all youths to participate in sports activities, not just the few who excelled. He therefore adopted a firm policy that assured all youths would have an opportunity to play in various sports activities.
Neve was a 4-sport player at Manual High and a member of the 1929 Manual High State basketball champions.
His tradition was carried on by former winners Tony Van Dyke, Paul Reatherford, and many others who made sure all participated, boys and girls.
In the last number of years, many teams were formed, in basketball, football, soccer, hockey, but that also required sponsorship from various organizations throughout the Peoria area. Such a group is the Independent Sports Club of Peoria (ISC), a current member of the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame. It was established in 1945 with its goal to help kids in the greater Peoria area.
Our winner this year is Cliff Coddington a man who has belonged to this club for 50 years, serving as past president, board member, and many activities chairman, but by far his most important achievement is that of being treasurer this past 16 years. He took the ISC through a very troubled era to where today it is financially sound, while contributing thousands of dollars to our youth and fulfilling Neve Harms' dream that as long as men like Cliff Coddington are alive, that dream will last forever.
About the Neve Harms Award
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.