MONCTON, N.B. –
The love of the game of hockey is fostered in rinks of all sizes across the nation by passionate volunteers looking to instill that same passion for hockey
to the next generation of Canadians.
It is that tireless dedication that was recognized by Hockey Canada on Friday at the organization’s Spring Congress in Moncton. Eight award recipients were
honoured, including four from the event’s host province of New Brunswick.
“We always look forward to gathering with representatives from across the country to talk hockey and work to make our game better. We share the passion for
the game, and have the same goals in mind – fun, safety, and development,” said Joe Drago, chair of Hockey Canada’s board of directors. “Canadian hockey is
healthy and thriving, thanks in large part to the work of volunteers, guided by their love for our sport. We can’t thank them enough for their commitment
to Hockey Canada and Canada’s game.”
The 2016 Hockey Canada Awards recipients are: (Video)
Outstanding Volunteer Award
Outstanding volunteer work in amateur hockey
(Shippagan, N.B.) has played an integral role in AAA hockey on the Acadian Peninsula, organizing, fundraising, coaching, and overall assisting the area’s
Peewee and Bantam teams. He has coached minor hockey players from the Initiation Program through to AAA Bantam, and into Senior AAA. Cormier has been a
member of the senior council for Hockey New Brunswick for over two decades. In 2014, during the 50th anniversary of the Lamèque-Shippagan’s
annual Peewee tournament, Cormier was offered the presidency in recognition of his two-decade-long commitment to the event’s success.
Female Breakthrough Award
Outstanding contribution to advancing female hockey
(Woodmans Point, N.B.) began her contributions to female hockey in 2001 when she became a hockey mom. She soon added to her
responsibilities with the River Valley Female Hockey Association by taking on roles at the league level with the Southern New Brunswick Female Hockey
League, where she has strongly advocated for the female game and taken an active role in everything from organizing Esso Fun Days to encouraging local
associations to ice female teams. Now in her fifth season as Hockey New Brunswick’s female commissioner, Williams has been a strong voice for female hockey
in the province, leading key initiatives to grow the game, including the creation of an All-Female Action Plan.
Gordon Juckes Award
Outstanding contribution to the development of amateur hockey at the national level
Vern Stenlund (Windsor, Ont.) is an internationally-respected teacher, motivational speaker, and coach. He was instrumental in the
creation of the Safe and Fun Hockey program, and his coaching résumé includes the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, the University of Windsor Lancers, and the
Junior B Leamington Flyers and Windsor Bulldogs. Stenlund has and continues to contribute to Hockey Canada and the game of hockey across the country as a
contributor to the High-Performance 1 coaching program, and Hockey Canada’s Mentorship and Athlete Development committees, its Development Resource Review
Group, and its Hockey Development Council.
Outstanding contribution to officiating at the member and national levels
(Rothesay, N.B.) began his officiating career in 1977, and worked his way to becoming an accomplished Level VI official. At the conclusion of his on-ice
officiating career, Hurley took on the role of chairman of officials for Hockey New Brunswick, a position he held for 13 years. During his tenure, he
played an instrumental role in developing a number of successful and well-respected officials, some of whom are now active in the NHL. Hurley remains
active as a provincial supervisor and assists the senior officials in the Saint John area, and has been a role model for the province’s officials for more
than three decades.
Hockey Canada Order of Merit
The Hockey Canada Order of Merit was awarded to three individuals who have served amateur hockey faithfully:
(Quispamsis, N.B.) turned his passion for hockey into a lifetime of service to the game, moving into coaching after his playing days were over. Off the ice, Donovan
was a national instructor and master course conductor for both the Initiation Program and the National Coaching Certification Program. On the
administration side is where Donovan left his mark, serving five years as president of the Kennebecasis Valley Minor Hockey Association and sitting on or
chairing numerous councils and groups dedicated to building the game in Atlantic Canada. He also held the position of president of Hockey New Brunswick for
10 years, and was a member of Hockey Canada’s board of directors, helping grow the game at the provincial and national levels.
(Kenora, Ont.) joined the hockey community by chance, attending a minor hockey council meeting to voice her concerns, and coming out of that meeting as the
association’s president. More than 20 years later, Bain is still speaking up on behalf of players, in ever-increasing roles leading to her position as
president of Hockey Northwestern Ontario. In addition to the role she’s played in administration, Bain has also coached minor hockey and chaired the 2004
TELUS Cup and 2011 Allan Cup, and maintained involvement with various committees for Hockey Canada.
(Bon Accord, Alta.) has devoted his life to making a difference in the game of hockey, beginning back in 1967 with his first foray to the rink. He’s held numerous
roles from equipment manager to vice-president of a hockey league and the president of a minor hockey association. Ledingham then moved on to his first
position with Hockey Alberta in 1997, and served five years on Hockey Canada’s board of directors. Over the years he’s sat on committees dedicated to
body-checking review, discipline and match penalties, he chaired the Risk and Safety Committee and he presently sits on the Second-Stage Appeal Committee
for Hockey Alberta. In recent years he has taken great pride in working both with players at Hockey Canada’s national events and with national teams at
Hal Lewis Award
Hockey Canada staff person who best exemplifies the spirit, commitment, and pride of the organization
(Listowel, Ont.) is the 2016 recipient of the Hal Lewis Award, as voted on by Hockey Canada’s employees. His colleagues at Hockey Canada lean on Coates to
provide fresh perspectives that pull from his more than 40 years of involvement with the game, as well as a calm and positive outlook, and his friendly,
outgoing personality that keep the work environment fun and fresh at all times. In addition to his role with Hockey Canada, which has included everything
from events to working with the Hockey Canada Foundation, Coates is chair of Comrie’s Sports Equipment Bank, whose primary goal is to gather, recycle, and
redistribute sporting equipment at no cost to kids who would otherwise be denied the opportunity to participate in sport.
A ninth award, the Liz MacKinnon Award, will be presented before the close of Spring Congress to the spouse of a volunteer who has made special
contributions to Hockey Canada, and to the game.
Nominations for all awards were submitted by Hockey Canada’s 13 members, and the winners were chosen by a Hockey Canada selection committee. The success of
minor hockey associations in Canada depends heavily on volunteers and Hockey Canada is pleased to recognize the individuals who contribute greatly to the
game of hockey across the country.
For more information on Hockey Canada, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca, and follow along via social media on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram.