The Beaver Valley Nitehawks are committed to developing young hockey players to be the best that they can be in all facets of their life; focusing on education, skill development, leadership, fitness, and personal growth.
The idea of starting a junior hockey team in Fruitvale was born when Shirley Levesque, manager of the Beaver Valley Midgets, and Darrell Dickson, their coach, hosted a Beaver Valley Minor Hockey Tournament. During this tournament they noticed people from the valley, who had never before been inside the 10-year-old building, coming to games to watch the young talent. This was a good indication that there were many local hockey fans just waiting for some exciting and entertaining hockey.
Darrell suggested to Shirley that they start a junior team, and the work began. First they had to convince the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League that there were enough young hockey players in the area to man another junior team. This was not an easy task, as many KIJHL teams at the time were situated within a half-hour of Fruitvale, and a new team might cause them to lose players they had counted on—but on the other hand, it was also appealing to them. They knew that great rivalries would begin, bringing new fans to their arenas. Since BVMH was one of the strongest minor hockey programs around at the time, it seemed fitting they should have their own junior team.
Once the KIJHL accepted, an executive was formed consisting of Darrell Dickson, Shirley Levesque, Roy Taylor, Noel Smith and Stuart McPhee. There was a contest to choose the name, and when Robbie Taylor of Fruitvale suggested Nitehawks, the executive knew they had a winner. Kim Campbell of Trail designed the hawk for the jersey crest.
The first coaches were Tom Gawryletz and Murry Price, Darrell Dickson was the manager, and the trainers were Barry Marshall and Leo Campeau. The 1981/1982 KIJHL season saw the first Beaver Valley Nitehawks hit the ice, led by captain Tyler Bolduc. The first year was very successful as the team went into a wild playoff with the Trail Junior Smoke Eaters, and additional bleachers had to be brought into the arena for these exciting games. The Nitehawks were up 2-0, but when Trail came back to win the series they set the tempo of rivalry for years to come.
Over the next 38 years the Nitehawks won the KIJHL Championship 8 times (1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2012, 2014, 2017), and three provincial championships for the Cyclone Taylor Cup (in 1997, 2001 and 2014 ). When they won the Cup in 2001, their playoff win-loss record was a perfect 16-0. The Nitehawks went through the Cyclone Taylor Championship and the Keystone Cup Championship, undefeated, in 2014. In the 1997 season the Nitehawks went undefeated in the playoffs and had a 39 game winning streak that extended into the 1998 season. Through the years many players received scholarships and continued on to play college hockey but, of course, the pride of Fruitvale and the Nitehawks is Adam Deadmarsh, who not only won the World Cup with team USA but also brought the coveted Stanley Cup home to the Beaver Valley Arena in 1996.
Other former Nitehawks who played in the NHL were: Ed Cristofoli from the 1983 team, Neil Eisenhut from the 1985 team, Barrett Jackman from the 1997 team, Cody Franson (03-04), Craig Cunningham (05-06) and Connor Jones (06-07). Currently four jerseys have been retired: #12 belonging to Adam Deadmarsh, #2 belonging to four-time KIJHL all-star goalie Rocky Dickson, #6 Barrett Jackman the NHL rookie of the year for 2002/2003 and #29 Sam Swanson, an incredible leader and 5 year veteran.
All the coaches in the history of the team include: Tom Gawryletz, Murray Price,Roy Casler, Leroy Heustis, Ed Wyatt, Keith Tomasson, Dave Rugg, Norm Dennis, Doug Jones, Larry Kucher, Rich Chobanuk, Hank Deadmarsh, Darcy Dickson, Mike Deloise, Terry Hanik, Darrell Boisvert, Ken Koshey, Pat Corrado, Terry Jones, Paul Matteucci, Dennis McKinnon, Jamie Friess, Craig Mohr, Jamie Cominotto, Jeremy Cominotto, Mike Morissette, Kris Boyce, Dave Pasin, Kevin Limbert, Jim Ingram, Paul Barclay, Bill Birks, Shane Drake, Sam Swanson, Ryan Edwards, Mason Spear.