Har­bour Grace sup­ports soc­cer and hockey devel­op­ment

The Compass - - OPINION -

Dear edi­tor,

I am a teacher and have been coach­ing hockey and soc­cer for the past 30 years, 27 of which have been in Har­bour Grace.

I will be re­tir­ing at the end of June, and I feel I would be re­miss if I did not ac­knowl­edge the im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tions of the Town of Har­bour Grace, its em­ploy­ees and those vol­un­teers from the com­mu­nity who have of­fered their on­go­ing sup­port.

The suc­cess of the school soc­cer league, in which I have en­tered a team ev­ery year since 1983, would not have been pos­si­ble with­out the help and sup­port of the Town of Har­bour Grace. We have been given un­lim­ited ac­cess to St. Francis Field, which is man­aged by the town, for prac­tices, games and tour­na­ments. The field has al­ways been in pris­tine con­di­tion, thanks to the ef­forts of Dave Reg­u­lar. Dave has mowed and fer­til­ized, painted lines, placed nets and bleach­ers, and pro­vided clean-up. He has al­ways done a su­perb job while work­ing around our sched­ule. With­out his con­tin­ual work on our be­half, our play­ers would not have had the op­por­tu­nity to play in good con­di­tions.

No game can be played with­out the pres­ence of ref­er­ees. The co-or­di­na­tion and time-tabling of ref­eree ser­vices had been ar­ranged by Mayor Don Coombs for all these years. De­spite his busy sched­ule, Don has al­ways found time to en­sure the pres­ence of ref­er­ees and has him­self ref­er­eed most games, many of which were played in less than ideal con­di­tions. His ef­forts have meant a great deal to our play­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the sport of soc­cer in this area. I would also like to rec­og­nize all the vol­un­teer ref­er­ees who have given so will­ingly of their time, in­clud­ing: Lee­land An­der­son, Lon­nie Shep­pard, Chad Shep- pard, Shawn Dob­bin, Robert Vaters, Lloyd Meadus, Kevin Ben­nett, Pat Collins, Sean Cashin and many oth­ers. The gen­er­ous gift of their per­sonal time to sup­port our young ath­letes is de­serv­ing of recog­ni­tion. Oth­ers have pro­moted and sup­ported soc­cer by their pres­ence and par­tic­i­pa­tion, giv­ing will­ingly of their time and ef­fort. Two who are most out­stand­ing in this re­gard are Carl Janes and Ann Coombs.

School hockey has also re­ceived the sup­port of many in­di­vid­u­als. For the past 30 years the hockey teams of St. Francis School have prac­ticed ev­ery Mon­day and played ev­ery Wed­nes­day at the S.W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium. Dick Power, Kevin Ben­nett, Pete Mo­ri­arty and Lorne Tucker, the man­age­ment, both past and present, of the sta­dium have as­sisted in pro­vid­ing ice time over the years. Nor could we have done with­out the ef­forts of Chris Hearn, Bob Pike, and Garf Ma­haney whose dili­gence in pre­par­ing and main­tain­ing the ice sur­faces and the dress­ing rooms con­tin­u­ally pro­vided our play­ers with good play­ing con­di­tions. Mau­reen Ma­her has cheer­fully pro­vided can­teen ser­vices for the play­ers, coaches and fans, a task that was fre­quently mon­u­men­tal, as ca­pac­ity crowds gath­ered to sup­port such events as the St. Francis-As­cen­sion Chal­lenge Cup games, the St. Paul’s-St. Francis Dave Archibald Cup games and the ongo- ing league games and play­offs.

An­other im­por­tant fig­ure in our school hockey scene is Gord Dean, who has co­or­di­nated and per­formed the ref­er­ee­ing du­ties, ac­com­mo­dat­ing the last minute sched­ul­ing changes that of­ten ac­com­pany school hockey play. Gord Dean, Dave Mur­phy and Paul Collins have fre­quently of­fi­ci­ated our games over the years. Bud Chafe and his ded­i­ca­tion to the sport of hockey has been in­spir­ing to play­ers and coaches.

The lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity has sup­ported our school teams over the years, both mon­e­tar­ily and in kind. The pur­chase of uni­forms and equip­ment has been en­hanced through do­na­tions from many busi­nesses in this area, both large and small.

Fi­nally, to the play­ers I have coached over the years, their ef­forts have been a con­stant source of pride and in­spi­ra­tion to me. I will cher­ish the many fine mem­o­ries they have given me.

It has been my priv­i­lege to have been a part of soc­cer and hockey devel­op­ment in the Har­bour Grace area, and my job has been made eas­ier by the pres­ence of these in­di­vid­u­als and many oth­ers I have not men­tioned by name.

Garry McCarthy, coach

cc: Town of Har­bour Grace

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