The founder of the Hart Judo Academy in 1998, and Prince George native, has been provincially recognized for his talents as a former athlete and a current coach.

Bruce Kamstra has received the grassroots recreational Coach of the Year by the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

The 45-year-old says he’s humbled by parents’ nominations for the honour.

“I wanted to help develop someone to the Olympic level. I’ve learned a lot over the past few years and we have developed a number of athletes from Prince George who’ve have gone on to be amongst the top athletes in the country.”

Kamstra himself began judo at 10-years-old, was a national champion nearly two decades ago, and even served as an alternate for the 1996 Canadian Olympic team in Atlanta.

He says his experience receiving the award at the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Vancouver and meeting other BC-based legends was more than expected.

“I didn’t realize it was such a big deal when I first got notified of it. All of the athletes and coaches that are getting inducted are pretty remarkable individuals, either as coaches or athletes.”

Former Vancouver Canucks winger and fellow Prince George product Darcy Rota presented the award to Kamstra, and while he’s proud of his accomplishment, he believes there’s always room for improvement.

“We’re just scratching the surface! We’ve got a long way to go; there are a lot of great coaches out there who are doing a great job. We can’t just be happy with where we are and we can always get better.”

The 2017 BC Sports Hall of Fame class included Mark Recchi, Geroy Simon, Michelle Stillwell, Rolan Green, and Mark Wyatt.