Wool­wich Thrash­ers un­veil new award named af­ter founders

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - ALI WIL­SON

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.”

[ALI WIL­SON / THE OB­SERVER]

Keith and Sandy Met­zger are for­mer award win­ners them­selves, pic­tured hold­ing their Canada 150 hon­ours.

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