Woolwich Thrashers unveil new award named after founders
THE WOOLWICH THRASHERS INTRODUCED the Keith and Sandy Metzger Founders Award at their year-end party.
Beginning in 2019, the award will annually go to a person who best personifies dedication to the Woolwich Thrashers.
“This award will be one small way that we can ensure future generations of sledge hockey players in Woolwich understand and recognize the impact Keith and Sandy have had in ensuring those kids 150 years from now have a place to play sledge hockey,” said Drew Bomhof, a volunteer with the team. “I look at the Thrashers no differently than the NHL, the Elmira Sugar Kings, or Woolwich Minor Hockey. At the end of the each season, they all respectively have awards that recognize the contributions of people both on and off the ice, and I think it’s important to begin building that legacy for the Thrashers, given we are now entering the 10th season of existence.”
The award is a way to show appreciation for the work the Metzgers have done with founding the Thrashers, especially in the last year getting the Junior Thrashers into the Ontario Sledge Hockey Association Junior Development League, he said.
“I suppose the idea really came from the realization that the Thrashers are going to be around for a long time, now that they’ve gotten to the phase of icing a team in a league, which in and of itself is an extraordinary thing to consider. It’s important that organizations, still in their relative infancy, start to recognize the builders and the people who are making this opportunity available to the people in our community,” said Bomhof.
The award came as a surprise to the couple, however they hope it will help to serve as a momentum to keep the history of the club alive.
“We just were shocked at our year-end party when they gave it to us,” said Sandy Metzger.
“It’s nice to have a legacy left for the future, and I am hoping that it will keep the history of the Woolwich Thrashers alive and our connection to the Thrashers and Dan Snyder. Its all how we came up with the name and how we began to move forward as a sledge hockey organization,” she explained of the link to Elmira hockey player Dan Snyder, a member of the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers at the time of his death in an automobile collision in 2003. “So that should hopefully keep the history alive within the community and hopefully keep the community somewhat interested in and involved.”
Moving forward, Keith and Sandy will select someone from within the organization to be the recipient of the award – a parent, player, coach, volunteer or board member, for instance, who has made a lasting impact on the organization.
“It’s not a stretch to say that without Keith and Sandy, the Woolwich Thrashers organization wouldn’t exist. They haven’t just built an organization. They haven’t just iced a team in a league. They’ve created a place for kids with disabilities to thrive, to make friends, to develop skills, to grow as people and players, to contribute to a team, and maybe most importantly, to dream,” said Bomhof.
“I recall earlier this season, one of the kids on the Junior team mentioned to me that a dream of his is to play on the Canadian Paralympic Sledge Hockey team. Keith and Sandy helped make the idea of that dream possible for that player, and that’s an extraordinary thing. I’m very much in awe of what Keith and Sandy have accomplished, and I think everyone involved with the Thrashers is thankful for them.”
Keith and Sandy Metzger are former award winners themselves, pictured holding their Canada 150 honours.