By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Sohen Gill, a staunch supporter of the racing industry for as long as anyone can remember, was struck with a thought when he saw BC Sports Hall of Fame members Dale Walters (boxing) and Archie McDonald (media) huddled in a corner in deep conversation at Hastings recently.
“We have so many legends from our local sports community who are regulars at the track maybe one day we should have them all out as guest decorators,” Gill suggested. “It sure would bring back a lot of memories.”
As humble as he is, Gill neglected to include himself in the group. In fact, it was in May of 2009 when Gill, McDonald and Chris Loseth were all inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Banquet of Champions in downtown Vancouver.
Loseth was being acknowledged for his illustrious career as Hastings’ leading jockey an unprecedented eight times and 3,668 career wins over a span of 30 years and more than 26,000 mounts.
Sohen’s induction was inspired by his long and colorful career in local lacrosse as a player, coach, manager and Western Lacrosse Association commissioner as well as president of the British Columbia Lacrosse Association.
His dedication did not go unrecognized. He was named winner of the Tom Gordon ‘Mr. Lacrosse’ award three times and was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2005.
The story that simply must be repeated about Gill appeared in the 2009 BC Sports Hall of Fame official program, penned by Curator Jason Beck.
“In December 1990, Sohen Gill’s life changed forever,” Beck wrote. “As a lieutenant firefighter, he was on the roof surveying a burning Kitsilano building when it disintegrated, plunging him into a scorching inferno. Miraculously, he dove out a window and survived. Following weeks of intensive care and the burn unit, then nearly three years of rehab, he recovered.
“Some might scale back their activities after such an experience. Gill increased his lacrosse involvement, feeling he’d been granted a second lease on life.”
Gill speaks of legendary figures who visit Hastings Racecourse on a regular basis. None is more of a legend than the man himself.