By Lesley Dawson
On March 1, 2014, Randy Heath will move into his new position as Deputy Chief of the West Vancouver (British Columbia) Fire Department, the next big step in the former Winterhawk’s career after nearly 25 years with the Department.
Heath, who spent the duration of his WHL career as a Winterhawk, was a key member of Portland’s offensive core during the 1983 Memorial Cup run, contributing 18 points in the postseason. Heath’s 11 points in the 1983 Memorial Cup Tournament, which tied him for the tournament lead, helped the Hawks become the first U.S. team in tournament history to win the Memorial Cup. Heath's efforts in the tournament also earned him a spot on the 1983 Memorial Cup All-Star Team.
Almost thirty years after his final game in Portland, Heath’s name continues to populate both the Winterhawks’ Regular Season and Playoff All-Time Record Book along with his former teammates and high-scoring notables such as Cam Neely, Ken Yaremchuk, and Ray Ferraro. Playing in nearly every game in the three seasons from 1982-1984, including a 151-point season in 1982-83, Heath is still in seventh place in all-time points with 178 goals and 162 assists, just one goal behind Dennis Holland for second place in regular season goals.
When Heath donned the Winterhawks jersey, WHL players weren’t required to attend school while they played hockey away from home.
“We were quite young to be away from our families, so we came together and became a family,” he explained.
However, becoming part of the Winterhawks family meant following strict rules issued by both Ken Hodge and Brian Shaw, who sought to instill certain qualities in the players which included responsibility, punctuality, and a solid work ethic.
“Hockey was one thing, but it’s just as important how you carried yourself off the ice,” Heath said. “My experience there and the family I lived with molded me into who I am today.”
Along with his relationship with his billet family in Portland and Hodge’s tough rules, Heath considers playing in front of the fans to be among his favorite memories as a Winterhawk.
“We were proud to wear the jersey and it was a phenomenal team,” said Heath. “Playing in Portland and playing in front of the people down there was by far my biggest thrill… anywhere I played after that never matched the thrill down there.”
Heath has remained involved in both charity work and hockey development at all ages since the end of his professional career, which includes two years split between New York with the Rangers and their AHL affiliate in New Haven, and three years between Skelleftea AIK and Vasteras IK in the Swedish Hockey League.
For the last fifteen years, Heath and other former professional hockey players, including many Canucks alumni, have travelled around British Columbia helping the Canucks organization raise money for local charities.
“I’ve always been involved with kids in the fire service and through hockey,” Heath said. “I’ve been fortunate to be involved in so many different charities…it’s been a good venture.”
In recent years, Heath continued his hockey development efforts within the community by helping to create a hockey academy through Windsor Secondary School in North Vancouver that allows high school kids to play hockey every day as part of their school’s curriculum throughout the academic year.
Heath lives in his hometown of Vancouver, B.C., with his wife Liz. They have been married since 1987 and have two daughters: Alexandra, 24, and Hanna, 21.
For Alumni Spotlights from previous months, please follow the link below...
November 2013: http://www.winterhawks.com/page/nov13alumnispotlight