“This is a chance to celebrate the unsung hockey volunteers who are the lifeblood of hockey in this country,” said Neil Skelding, president and CEO RBC Insurance. “This year, for the first time ever, we are rewarding these Canadians with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame along with members of their local hockey community.”
The 2009 RBC Local Hockey Leaders will receive a Team Spot in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay. This Team Spot will give each winner and their team of up to 20 individuals the opportunity to collectively carry the Olympic Flame for one kilometre, enabling the Local Hockey Leaders to recognize others who have come together to help them make a difference in minor hockey in their communities. Winners will also be celebrated in their hometowns as a banner recognizing their achievement will be raised in their local arena.
Each winner will also receive $10,000 towards a registered charity/hockey cause in their community and a signed Team Canada jersey. The winners – one from each Hockey Canada branch and one RBC employee winner- will also be recognized in a permanent display at the Hockey Hall of Fame which will be unveiled June 16 during a special ceremony honouring the 2009 RBC Local Hockey Leaders.
2009 Regional RBC Local Hockey Leaders:
|Region||RBC Local Hockey Leader||Community|
|Hockey North||Dolphus Nitsiza||Behchoko, NWT|
|British Columbia||Theresa Watts||Delta, BC|
|Alberta||Nick Ruigrok||Okotoks, AB|
|Saskatchewan||Mike Schwean||Moosomin, SK|
|Manitoba||Darren Zembik||St. Andrew’s, MB|
|Ontario||Rick Jones||St. Catharines, ON|
|Northwestern Ontario||Cosimo Figliomeni Filane||Schreiber, ON|
|Ottawa District||Louise Groulx||Orleans, ON|
|Quebec||Andrée Leblanc||Daveluyville, QC|
|New Brunswick||Mark Toner||Grand Falls, NB|
|Nova Scotia||Keith Miller||Lantz, NS|
|Prince Edward Island||Bill Butler||Stratford, PEI|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||Gary Martin||Mount Pearl, NFLD|
|RBC’s Own Local Hockey Leader||Shawn McCormick||Dartmouth, NS|
A panel including Neil Skelding, National Women’s Team member Jayna Hefford, National Men’s Sledge Hockey Team captain Jean Labonté, hockey legend Ron Ellis, VANOC executive vice president, revenue, marketing and communications Dave Cobb, Hockey Canada acting chair Ken Corbett and other Hockey Canada officials selected winners from hundreds of nominations submitted through the program website.
The RBC Local Hockey Leaders contest inspired hundreds of nominations from cities and towns from coast to coast. Hard work, dependability, enthusiasm and leadership were among the criteria considered during the evaluation of submissions.
“Every Canadian community has individuals that dedicate years of tireless service to keep hockey vibrant in their communities, and RBC deserves a big thank you for their support of these volunteers,” said Bob Nicholson, president, Hockey Canada. “More than 100 outstanding hockey volunteers have been recognized since the inception of the program and more than 100 communities have been able to make great improvements to their hockey programming as a result.”
Over the past six years RBC Insurance has awarded more than $600,000 to grassroots hockey activities across Canada through the RBC Local Hockey Leaders program. Grants have been used to replace aging equipment, make hockey more accessible, train coaches, improve facilities and for many other causes close to the hearts of Canada’s grassroots hockey leaders.
For more information and biographies on all of the RBC Local Hockey Leaders, please visit www.rbclocalhockeyleaders.com.
About RBC Insurance
RBC Insurance provides a wide range of life, health, travel, home, auto and reinsurance products as well as creditor and business insurance services to more than five million clients in Canada, the U.S. and internationally. These products and services are offered through a wide variety of distribution channels, including the telephone, retail insurance branches, independent brokers, travel agents, a proprietary sales force and the Internet. More information is available at www.rbcinsurance.com.