Dean a hockey hero

Long-time sports vol­un­teer dead at 62

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

The lo­cal sport­ing com­mu­nity is mourn­ing the loss of one of its most ded­i­cated vol­un­teers with the pass­ing of Gord Dean.

Dean, 62, had been bat­tling can­cer for two years, and fi­nally suc­cumbed to the ill­ness on Jan. 25 at Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal.

To many peo­ple in the com­mu­nity, Dean will be best re­mem­bered as a tire­less vol­un­teer in both hockey and softball. He vol­un­teered with the CeeBees Mi­nor Hockey pro­gram for 31 years, and he could also be found serv­ing as an um­pire at lo­cal softball games.

Wendy Pen­ney, sec­re­tary for CeeBees Mi­nor Hockey, said Dean was noth­ing short of a leg­end at S.W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium in Har­bour Grace. She vis­ited him in the hos­pi­tal, along with CeeBees Mi­nor Hockey past-pres­i­dent Val Slaney, the day be­fore he passed away.

“ The po­si­tion that he held cer­tainly didn’t war­rant that he had to be at the sta­dium 24-7, but he loved be­ing there, and as soon as he had his lunch, he’d ei­ther hitch­hike or walk to sta­dium,” she said of Dean, who lived with his wife Margie in Car­bon­ear.

Dean, a na­tive of Vic­to­ria, was an of­fi­cial at the sta­dium, and con­tin­ued work­ing games right up un­til last year, when his health be­gan to get in the way. He also helped with CeeBees Mi­nor Hockey Bingo on Sun­days, han­dled ice-time sched­ul­ing, and helped plan tour­na­ments. Pen­ney said Dean most of­ten went above and be­yond what was ex­pected of him.

A cer­e­mony was held prior to the CeeBees Stars’ Jan. 28 game against the Mount Pearl Blades, with many mem­bers of the Dean fam­ily in at­ten­dance. His wife Margie, who was at­tend­ing her first game in Har­bour Grace, helped drop the puck for the open­ing face­off. A moment of si­lence was held in his hon­our.

Many kind words were left for Dean in the Book of Mem­o­ries lo­cated on the Noel’s Fu­neral Homes web­site. Tay­lor An­der­son, a mem­ber of the fe­male Canada Games team for 2011, wrote that it would be hard not to know him if you spent any time at the rink in Har­bour Grace.

“Ever since I can re­mem­ber, when­ever I was at the sta­dium, Gord was at the sta­dium. He was a great man who will cer­tainly be missed, and the S.W Moores sta­dium will never have any­one as ded­i­cated as Gord.”

Con­rad Moore, who of­fi­ci­ated games at the sta­dium along­side Dean, wrote of his ded­i­ca­tion to hockey.

“I ref­er­eed a lot of games with Gord and he never missed a game,” Moore wrote. “He set the stan­dard for vol­un­teers.”

For­mer Com­pass sports re­porter Bob White also com­mented on Dean’s pass­ing.

“He may have missed a few calls over the years (all ref­er­ees and um­pires do), but Gord cer­tainly didn’t miss his call­ing as a tire­less vol­un­teer who touched many lives with his ded­i­ca­tion to the com­mu­nity. He will be missed.”

Ira Lay­den played in the CeeBees mi­nor hockey sys­tem and later went on to play for the se­nior CeeBees team.

“For many years I thought Gord lived at the sta­dium …,” he wrote. “ Whether he was ref fing, work­ing the score clock and an­nounc­ing, or even just sit­ting in the mi­nor hockey room win­dow watch­ing a prac­tice or game, he was al­ways a fix­ture in the rink. I be­lieve he was one of the last great vol­un­teers that the hockey com­mu­nity had.”

Paul Smith, a softball coach in Con­cep­tion Bay South, knew Dean as an um­pire at games.

“I al­ways felt that he was an hon­est, fair, and ded­i­cated in­di­vid­ual. The sport of softball was bet­ter be­cause of Gord’s in­volve­ment.”

Softball New­found­land and Labrador also ac­knowl­edged Dean’s death on its web­site, not­ing that his “con­tri­bu­tions on and off the field will truly be missed.”

Dean leaves be­hind his wife and three grown chil­dren: Jan­ice Con­nors, Car­son Dean, and Eu­gene Dean. A ser­vice was held for Dean at Bethel Pen­te­costal Church in Vic­to­ria on Jan. 28.

Gord Dean died on Jan. 25 at Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal af­ter a two-year bat­tle with can­cer.

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