Lo­cals win mi­nor hockey awards

The Compass - - OPINION - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

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.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Photo sub­mit­ted by Pamela Whe­lan

Dave Mur­phy (cen­tre) is pre­sented the Ray Bowe Award of Merit by Ray Bowe (left) and HNL ref­eree-in-chief Don Kelly (right).

Photo sub­mit­ted by Pamela Whe­lan

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.

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