Locals win minor hockey awards
Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador held its AGM June 9-10 in Gander and three minor hockey volunteers from this region brought home some impressive hardware.
Leading the pack was CeeBees minor hockey president Wendy Penney, who captured the Brian Wakelin award for the executive of the year.
The award is named after the Sudbury, Ont. native who played a huge role in the development of minor hockey in Grand Falls-Windsor, serving in several positions including provincial minor chair for 10 years. He moved to the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association in 1975, filling a series of important positions until his election as CAHA board chair in 1985.
Penney said when she heard her name being called it was “a total surprise.”
“I didn’t have a clue,” she said. “When they started saying you can always find her at the stadium or sitting on a Santa Claus float, I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s me.’”
When selecting the award, Hockey NL looks at executive members who exhibit Wakelin’s dedication and passion for minor hockey. Penney fits that description. It’s not unusual to find her at the S. W. Moores Memorial Stadium interacting with players, taking care of hockey pools or wrangling in stray jerseys.
There are times Penney has had to miss the first days of tournaments for her son due to prior commitments in her home arena.
“I guess when everyone sat around on Saturday afternoon and looked at everyone’s bio, I surfaced to the top,” Penney told The Compass last week.
Penney had praise heaped upon her in her role as president, as Hockey NL president Jack Lee and Easter director Dec Lecour praised her for being a proactive member of the executive.
“One thing they said was that if I’m not sure of something, I’m not afraid to call and ask,” she said. “Sometimes, you don’t get the answer you want and I’ ll go back again because to me I’m fighting for the players and coaches of our association.”
Penney is quick to make note of the people on her executive and that the award is not just hers.
“There’s a great group of individuals that sat around the table this year with me,” she said. “There are other people who could’ve easily gotten the award as well because they do good work. We have a wonderful group of volunteers.”
Penney said the moment when she received her award is one she will “cherish forever.”
“I really didn’t know how important it was until after I received it,” she said. “It meant a great deal.” A female leader Trudy Russell, with the TrinityPlacentia Minor Hockey Association, has been involved with the female aspect of minor hockey for the past eight years.
In that time, she has become a leader in the female division, helping young athletes from around the TriPen region.
It is for this reason that she was awarded the Female Hockey Promotion Award at the AGM banquet.
Russell, who did not attend the awards, said she had no idea she was receiving the award. “I can’t believe it,” she said. Not in it to get the awards, Russell said that it is nice to know that people are recognizing the good work she is doing in the association.
“I like to see the girls get as much out of hockey as they can,” she said. Official appreciation CeeBees minor official Dave Murphy also picked up some hardware.
He collected a print depicting an official in action to go along with the Ray Bowe Award of Merit for his dedication to refereeing.
Bowe spent 23 years as the referee-in-chief for Newfoundland and Labrador, starting in 1977 up until his retirement in 2000. He was known as being extremely knowledgeable and solidly dedicated.
Those same traits can be found in Murphy.
CeeBees minor referee-in-chief Dean Whalen said he could call Murphy at any hour to officiate a game.
“It’s well deserved for sure,” said Whelan.
Murphy has 20-plus years of officiating experience and has spent the last decade officiating in Harbour Grace.
“I didn’t expect it at all,” he said.
Dave Murphy (centre) is presented the Ray Bowe Award of Merit by Ray Bowe (left) and HNL referee-in-chief Don Kelly (right).
CeeBees minor hockey president Wendy Penney accepts the Brian Wakelin Executive of the Year Award from eastern director Dec Lacour (left) at the HNL AGM held in Gander, June 9-10.