Faces of the Valley – Gerry Pang

Gerry Pang was born on November 12, 1936 in Montreal, Quebec. He has since made his home here in Fernie.

Gerry Pang is this weeks Faces of the Valley.

Gerry Pang was born on November 12, 1936 in Montreal, Quebec. He was the first born to Frank and Ruth Pang, who went on to have another five children.

“Four boys before the war, and two girls after the war,” describes Gerry.

Frank worked as an accountant for some mines, and fought in World War II. He was a part of the Black Hawk Infantry. Gerry remembers his mother as a master homemaker, who would give him 50 cents every Saturday. Gerry would go to the local store, buy five bags of chips and five Pepsis for him and his siblings to enjoy while listening to the hockey game on the radio.

“She brought us up through the war,” he says.

Hockey has always played a pivotal role in Gerry’s life. He started skating late, at 11 years old, and he was quick to find comfort between the goal posts. Gerry played goalie for his high school team and continued during his time in the army.

After high school, Gerry joined the Royal Canadian Army Corps, where he spent a total of nine years. He graduated number one out of his boot camp, and says he was a fan of army life.

“I would have stayed until they kicked me out,” he says, citing he enjoyed the discipline and routine the army demanded.

In 1958, while on duty for a UN Emergency Force, Gerry was a part of a peace-keeping mission to patrol the Israel/Egypt border. He was driving when his vehicle hit an anti-tank machine, blowing up the right side. Gerry spent three months in a Norwegian field hospital before returning to Montreal. He says he learned how to walk again at the Veteran’s Hospital in Montreal.

During his time with the Canadian Armed Forces, Gerry met and married a lady named Donna. The couple had three children – Sherry-Lee, Darren and Michael – before they separated. He now is a proud grandfather to six of their children.

In 1991, Gerry first came to the Elk Valley, as his brother lived in Elkford. He has been here for 26 years, and has no intention of ever leaving it.

“It wasn’t the mountains and scenery that kept me here,” he admits, “It was the people.”

Gerry worked at the Fernie Golf and Country Club for 20 years and started working with local hockey teams in 1997. The coach of the girls’ midget team, the Fernie Bladerunners, called him and asked if he would help coach the goalies. Gerry worked with the team for five years, and in the five years, the team won four B.C. Championships and four Western Shield medals – two bronze, one silver and one gold.

“In all the years I have been involved in hockey, it was undoubtedly the best group of parents,” says Gerry of his time with the Bladerunners. “And the town was so supportive.”

Gerry has been the goalie coach for the Ghostriders for 10 years and plans to continue with the franchise for as long as they will have him. He is a self-described hockey nut.

“I always say that I like golf, but I love hockey,” he says.