Dean a hockey hero
Long-time sports volunteer dead at 62
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.