Ian Hennigar remembered as dedicated to his community

Memorial service today at 1 p.m. for man remembered as an athlete, coach and supporter of the Saanich Peninsula.

Ian Hennigar

A memorial service is planned for Thursday, May 5 to honour the late Ian Hennigar, who died April 22 in hospice care at the Royal Jubilee Hospital.

Hennigar had been the senior manager of the Panorama Recreation Centre since 2010 and involved in a variety of community initiatives and activities.

He was, at one time, the executive director of the Mary Winspear Centre and enjoyed a long career as a speed skating coach. Hennigar and his wife Brenda, were instrumental in establishing the Saanich Peninsula Speed Skating Club, which continues to run out of Panorama. Ian was a national-level speed skating coach.

Nineteen months ago, Hennigar was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Brenda said the family, who were all around him when Ian died, were very fortunate to have the extended amount of time they did, following that diagnosis.

In the days before he died, Brenda said Ian was able to see some of the people in his life. One was Hamish Black, a speed skater who learned the sport from Ian and who has since gone on to national-level training.

“Hamish saw Ian on the Wednesday,” said Brenda, “and (Hamish) was able to share the news that he’d been invited to the national team.”

Ian was honoured late last year by Canada’s speed skating community during a trip to Calgary.

Wayne Ruffle, chair of the Peninsula Recreation Commission for the last four years, said Ian was well-respected by staff at Panorama, as well as many other people across the Saanich Peninsula.

“He’s going to be missed by everybody he worked with and by the people he knew,” Ruffle said. “He was good to work with and he really enjoyed working at Panorama. He did an excellent job.”

Niall Paltiel, the District of Central Saanich’s liaison to the rec. commission, added Ian’s loss is a blow to the community.

“He was an outstanding volunteer and community person,” he said. “Ian is known and remembered as an outstanding man, father, husband, committed to his friends and family, the community and the citizens he served.

“Not only is Ian well known for his CRD commitments, but also his work with the Mary Winspear Centre and, of course, the speed skating and hockey community.

“Our condolences go out to Ian’s family at this very difficult time.”

The memorial service takes place on May 5 at 1 p.m. at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney.