Herb Wakabayashi (1944 – 2015)

Sport: Hockey
Position: Forward
Year of Induction: 2003

About

Herb was born in 1944 in Nays, in northern Ontario, shortly after his family was moved eastward from British Columbia as were thousands of other Japanese-Canadian families during World War II. The Wakabayashis, including three sons and two daughters, arrived in Chatham in 1950.

Shortly after that Herb became involved in sports, particularly minor hockey and minor baseball. He went on to excel at both sports at the local level with Chatham Junior Maroons who were league champions in 1965 and five different Ontario Baseball Association championship teams. Herb continued his excellent play at college, and at international levels culminating with representing Japan in hockey at three different Winter Olympic Games.

Career Highlights
  • 1964 – 1965 – entered Boston University and, since freshmen could not play varsity sports, played on freshman hockey team and had an outstanding year
  • 1965 – 1966 – set a Boston University, New England, and East Coast Athletic Conference record for most assists in a season with 51 – was named New England Sophomore of the Year, the Most Valuable Player in the Beanpot Tournament and was named to the All New England and All East Second Teams – playing with fellow Chathamite, Eddie Wright, they became famous for their penalty-killing talents and during one span did not allow a shot on goal for 36 consecutive minutes of man-short play
  • 1966 – 1967 – although his point production fell off his honours did not – named to All New England, All East, and All America First Teams – also named team Most Valuable Player and Athlete of the Year at Boston University
  • 1967 – 1968 – repeated as All American and All New England – completed career as player with most assists (90) and was second in all-time scoring (145 points) for Boston University – played baseball with BU Terriers in senior year, hitting .367 and leading team to regional finals of East Coast Athletic Conference playoffs
  • 1978 – inducted into Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame, described as one of the university’s most outstanding hockey players

After university, went to Japan to play and coach hockey and ultimately played in three Olympics, in 1972 at Sapporo, 1976 at Innsbruck, and 1980 at Lake Placid, where he carried the Japanese flag at the Opening Ceremonies.

Herb died in 2015 while living in Japan.

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