One of the little known facets of Johnson’s presidency is the part he played in negotiations between the National Hockey League and the World Hockey Association. In fact, on occasion, he was chairman for meetings between the two.
It was during Johnson’s term that Canada returned to the International Ice Hockey Federation in 1975 and was back in international competition at the 1976 world championships. Johnson was deeply involved in the introduction of the Canada Cup international hockey tournaments.
The decision to make helmets mandatory for players and officials was finalized and passed while Johnson was president, and an important officials development program involving the NHL, became a reality under Johnson. At the time of the helmet decision, Wakelin was minor delegate for Newfoundland and Labrador and was deeply involved in the major decision that had Johnson, as CAHA president, cast the ballot that broke a tie vote.
Johnson has retained a deep interest in the national hockey association, attending every annual meeting since 1966 as an honorary life member. The Don Johnson Cup has been placed in competition for the Atlantic Junior B championship.
Wakelin was born in Sudbury, Ontario and moved to St. John’s in 1954 when his father Lorne was appointed manager of the new St. John’s Memorial Stadium. A good scoring player, Brian was a member of minor, high school and provincial senior hockey teams prior to serving as provincial minor hockey chairman from 1971 to 1979.
He resided in Grand Falls and Harbour Grace in addition to St. John’s, and moved into the Canadian hockey organization as national minor chair from 1979 to 1984 as a lead up to his CAHA presidency. He was elected president of Canada’s amateur hockey organization in 1985 and served for three years.
In addition to playing a role in the compulsory helmet decision, Wakelin had several important constitutional changes while he was president. One gained recognition for deceased honorary life members, and the other changed the overall voting procedure.
He was chair for the 1986 world junior hockey championship when that tournament was held at 15 venues in Ontario. After representing hockey with the Canadian Olympic Association, Wakelin moved up to the vice-presidency of that organization.
Wakelin retained his great interest in Canadian hockey and attends the annual meeting of the national organization.
Russell was born in Bay Roberts and first moved into provincial hockey as the minor director for Labrador.