“Berny is the guy to talk to!”
A table of men, all who all seem as if they’ve known each other for years, laugh loudly in the volunteer lounge in Toronto as they point and bellow at transportation volunteer Berny Courture.
Couture is a native of Calabogie, Ont., and all of his friends were firm believers that his story was one that should be told.
“They think I’m a country bumpkin,” says Couture, describing Toronto natives.
Couture and his wife, Elizabeth, have spent their holidays volunteering at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship – and loving every second of it. Elizabeth is a volunteer with the VIP Program Committee.
Couture is no stranger to the volunteer role, having experience at several music festivals, including the Tulip Festival in Ottawa, Ont., and the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Gatineau, Que.
So how did he find himself involved in a sporting event for the first time?
“My wife and I find that junior hockey is probably the best hockey of the season, and we always watch it,” says Couture. “We thought this year, given that it’s in Canada, we would look into the possibility of volunteering.”
Berny and Elizabeth – who are big fans of the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s – wanted to use their time in Toronto to get familiar with the city. As a volunteer on the transportation committee, Couture believes he has successfully learned the ins and outs of the provincial capital.
What might be the most rewarding moment of Couture’s time with the tournament are the friends he’s made. The table of men, laughing loudly during one of their breaks after a 7 a.m. start, met just last month.
The Coutures will continue to volunteer at their favourite festivals closer to home, but plan on returning to the World Juniors in two years to tackle the City of Montreal and create even more friendships.