NeveHarms Upon making the decision to take up permanent residence in Peoria, Dr. Higgins researched the history of Peoria sports. As Lt. Gov. of IL district of Kiwanis, Dr. Higgins, a chiropractic physician, was harboring an idea about a Peoria Sports Hall of Fame.
After approaching fellow Kiwanian Orville Nothdurf about the idea, Orville suggested they confer with the new athletic director at Bradley University, Ron Ferguson. Subsequently the board was formed and Dr. Higgins was voted the HOF's first president. The first board meeting was held Oct. 1979, with the first induction being held Dec. 1981.
Dr. Higgins has been active in the civic and sports area. Serving on the Board of Directors of S.O.S., save our stadium, Peoria City zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Commission City of Chillicothe, Pres. Suburban Kiwanis, Lt. Gov. II District Kiwanis. Assisted in forming and developing Richwoods and Bergan (Peoria Notre Dame) high school Key Clubs. Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau's Vice Pres. Sports Commission. Attended to sport injuries at Richwood High School from 1967-1989, then joined Pekin High School football in 1990 as team doctor. He had the privilege of assisting with IHSA High School All Star Football games as on field doctor in Peoria for sixteen years. He was an attending doctor at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He was recruited by Bass Master to treat their participants while traveling with them to their venues and attended Bass Master Classics from 1995-1997. Prior to that he was a NASCAR, IRL, TT Motorcycle, Pro Bowling , event doctor treating participates at their venues
Upon making the decision to take up permanent residence in Peoria, Dr. Higgins researched the history of Peoria sports. As Lt. Gov. of IL district of Kiwanis, Dr. Higgins, a chiropractic physician, was harboring an idea about a Peoria Sports Hall of Fame.
Hockey was a sport local fans could watch only if they went to Chicago or St. Louis until BardezBanian founded the Peoria Stars in 1959.
The two were with the Pekin Stars until 1970, when they formed the Peoria Blades, on the outdoor rink at Logan, in 1971. The Logan "bubble" went up the next year and the Blades, through membership in the Continental League, gave Peoria a solid taste of hockey.
BardezBanian played with the Blades for a few years, then became president while Olson always served as the team's general manager.
And the two gave hockey a boost whenever they could. BardezBanian coached the Bradley University club team for many years and both were instrumental in starting and maintaining youth hockey in Pekin and Peoria.
Both are now retired, Olson from Caterpillar's Mossville plant and BardezBanian from a management position with the City of Peoria.