Thursday, 27 October 2016

A brief history of Heinz's paddling accomplishments

Credit River Race - clipboard in hand
Heinz competed in the Men’s K-1 for Canada on the first white water team that we sent to a World Championships in 1965 (Spittal, Austria), up to and including the Munich Olympics in 1972, when canoe slalom was included for the first time. He served for many years as National Slalom coach on many overseas trips as well as Ontario Provincial Coach. He served on the ICF Slalom Committee and was one of the people instrumental in bringing the Slalom and Downriver World Championships in Canada in 1979 (the first time they were held outside Continental Europe) and in establishing the Minden White Water Preserve on the Gull River (together with Roger Parsons). Heinz’s wife, Edith, was a qualified ICF judge. Together they were well known for their dedication to white water racing, and for mentoring many young people in their endeavours. Son Dieter place 7th in the 1979 World Championships (at that time, the highest placing by a Canadian K-1 paddler). In 2010 there was an “appreciation” gathering held at the Gull River site to honour Heinz. In attendance were many of the paddler’s he had influenced over the years. Following a slide show presentation and some 8mm movie footage of early races, everyone adjourned outside to re-tell stories of past adventures with Heinz. He was truly one of the Sport’s founders in North America and one it’s personalities. More recently he enjoyed a trip to watch the 2014 World Championships in Deep Creek, Maryland where he saw some of the sons, daughters, nieces and nephews of paddlers he had known compete. He was a special guest at the Pan-Am Games slalom on the Gull River last year. He was thrilled to watch such a high profile event happen on the course he helped create. 

He will be sadly missed by his family and fondly remembered by all who were lucky enough to know him.