The RV Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada hailed one of its national sports heroes and honored one of its own members Monday (Nov. 26) at the annual Canada Night dinner in Louisville, Ky. The event, held at the Galt House Hotel, preceded the start of the National RV Trade Show on Tuesday (Nov. 27).
Headlining the Canada Night Dinner was keynote speaker Paul Henderson, a former pro hockey player revered by Canadians for scoring the winning goal for Team Canada against the Soviet Union in the eight-game Summit Series during the height of the Cold War in 1972. The game winning score – Henderson’s third consecutive winning goal in that series – is known in Canada as “The Goal of the Century.”
“You see folks, it was no big deal. I could have scored that last goal anytime I felt like it,” Henderson deadpanned. “I get the impression you do not believe me.”
Roy MacGregor, an award winning Canadian journalist and current hockey reporter for The Globe and Mail, interviewed Henderson in a sit-down presentation in front of the estimated 250 RV dealers who attended the event.
Prior to Henderson taking the stage Monday night, the spotlight was fixed squarely on Garth Bromley – the immediate past chairman of RVDA of Canada and owner of Transcona Trailer Sales in Boniface, Manitoba. Bromley was honored during the beginning of the dinner reception as the 22nd recipient of the Canadian RV dealer of the Year award.
“Well, for once I think I’m actually speechless. Many of you will appreciate that,” he said, before crediting his wife and children for helping him succeed. “If both my parents that started the dealership were here, they’d be very proud of where our dealership is today – where the family has taken it.”
The Canadian dealer of the Year award is presented each year in memory of the late Walter Paseska, who helped found the RVDA of Canada, according to the Association.
“It is presented each year to an individual who shares Walt’s enthusiasm and dedication to the RV industry,” said Norm Rosen, who presented the award on behalf of RV Lifestyle Magazine. “The Canadian RV dealer of the year is (nominated) by peers. This honor carries the respect and recognition of the RV community as a whole.”
Bromley was among five other nominees for the Canadian Dealer of the Year award, including: Paul Belanger, CEO and owner of Earlton RV in Earlton Ontario; Kevin Cropper, general manager and sales manager at Cropper Motors in Naicam, Saskatchewan; Gerard Dufresne of Caravans de la Petite Nation in Gatineau, Quebec; Ross Hodgins, principal of RV City in Morinville, Alberta; and Sylvia Thistle-Miller, owner of Triangle RV in Sidney, British Columbia.
Nominees for the award are recognized for their long-term dedication to the RVDA of Canada, as well as for their personal and professional character, according to RV Lifestyle Magazine.
Bromley was a difficult act to follow, but Henderson regularly had the crowd laughing and applauding during his presentation with MacGregor. The themes Henderson covered included faith, family, forgiveness, teamwork and life ethics.
“I’m absolutely convinced that people don’t dream high enough. It doesn’t matter where you are. Don’t ever quit dreaming,” Henderson said. “I don’t care how many (RVs) you sold last year or whatever it may be. You’ve got staff – make your staff the very best that they can be. Provide them training, because when you know someone is interested in your well-being and wants you to do better, it raises you up.”
Henderson also discussed his current bout with cancer and how his Christian faith has helped him defeat the negative feelings that can sometimes be associated with the disease.
“I have a 9-year-old grandchild who tells me that she’s going to the Olympics in 2020 and is going to win a gold medal. She tells me, ‘don’t go dying on me because I expect you to be there,’” he said. “Lord, that’s my goal now.”
Chris Milosek, a principal of Primo Trailer Sales in Ottawa, Ontario, said he appreciated RVDA of Canada for including Henderson in Canada Night.
“I think he exceeds the expectations (of a national hero),” Milosek said. “There’s more to the guy than just the (Goal of the Century), or Henderson the hockey player. That’s the cool thing.”