Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Development Award – Coaching
Awarded on June 17, 2021
Recipient: Robin Deitch – North Vancouver MHA and Burnaby MHA
Robin spent the 2020-21 season immersed in hockey and helping improve the game by lending his expertise to both players and coaches. The norm for most coaches is coaching a single team through a single minor hockey association (MHA), but not Robin. No chance. One team is a good start. Robin coached four teams during the 2020-21 season at two MHAs. He was the head coach for the Female U15 team at Burnaby MHA. He coached three teams for North Vancouver MHA as he was the head coach for the U6 and U11 teams as well as an assistant coach for the U18 Tier 2 team.
Robin also spent a tremendous amount of time helping coaches grow their skill and knowledge during the 2020-21 season. He facilitated clinics at every level and by the time the season had come to a close he had done 16 clinics. He also mentored rookie facilitators through their first clinics, and co-led the very first BC Hockey online clinic. While doing all this he found time to mark 26 Development 1 post-tasks and serves as the District Coach Coordinator for Lower Mainland – West. Congratulations Robin!
Coach of the Year – Ernie Gare Award
Awarded on June 18, 2021
Recipient: Coty Haikonen - Head Coach U15 Tier 3 team at Sunshine Coast MHA
The pandemic brought about a unique situation for many coaches during the 2020-21 season. Navigating a world with few practices and even less games led to the issue of how to connect with players and to help them grow as players and as people. Coty Haikonen, head coach of the U15 Tier 3 team for Sunshine Coast Minor Hockey Association, went about it with the same passion and dedication as he always has regardless of the situation.
Coty has always coached by teaching life skills such as leadership, teamwork, and character. Clearly important skills to promote the development of athletes and also members of the community. He provided an environment that built self-esteem in his players that keep them engaged, active and helped improve their self-image.
Throughout this unprecedented season, Coty was an exemplary role model and supporter of the protocols. He pivoted each time the protocols were amended, while still being able to maintain player enthusiasm. The players bought in, and this was evident through strong player turn-out for practice When some players on the team had a close contact with a positive Covid case, Coty supported them from home creating a fitness challenge to keep them in shape and to stay connected to the team while they self-isolated. Within this strange season where wins and loses did not carry the usual impact, Coty Haikonen went about his business as usual, which had a very large and very positive impact on his team and his community. Congratulations Coty!
Minor Hockey Association of the Year – Frank Spring Award
Awarded on June 22, 2021
Recipient: Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association
While the pandemic made for a very different and challenging hockey season for many Minor Hockey Associations (MHA), one MHA found a way to thrive during the pandemic. The Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association was able to offer their members as close to a normal season as possible.
A concerted effort by the entire community allowed players and coaches alike to get out on the ice and play the game we all love. Whitehorse MHA put together a Return to Play Plan which outlined the safety measures and guidelines that were going to be put in place and followed to allow their MHA to move forward with the Medical Officer’s support within the City of Whitehorse’s standards. The Return to Play Plan was created with input from ViaSport, BC Hockey, Yukon Government and other resources.
During all phases of the ViaSport return to play plan, Whitehorse MHA volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure player safety remained the focus. Chairs and staging areas took the place of dressing rooms, which were closed. Players came to the rink completely dressed for the ice with their skates being put on in the parking lot, and then they were carried to the ice. Chairs, door handles and touch points were constantly sanitized by volunteers. A group effort was necessary. Eventually, dressing rooms opened but number restrictions brought additional planning measures which continued to be met with a “can do” attitude from volunteers, parents and players. Divisions were broken into two, ice times were modified, and rink dividers were put in place
On ice programming was re-vamped to accommodate Covid-19 gathering limits, while at the same time provided engaging and exciting opportunities for development and competition. Whitehorse Minor Hockey found a successful balance of providing grass roots programming and “rep” player development throughout the season. Four-on-four game series were initiated, and other creative competitions took place. The association nurtured a large roster of dedicated officials who worked hard to ensure regular on-ice protocol were taking place, and also were tasked with masking reminders for coaches and off-ice officials. Whitehorse MHA also held Sunday night Zoom Coaches Club with coach mentors and thought leaders from Global Sport Academy to engage and develop coaches and keep the lines of communication open.
Whitehorse MHA was extremely cognizant that the season could be suspended at any time, therefore they put new fiscal policies in place to ensure that no unearned income from registration fees was being spent. They allowed families to register by putting down a small deposit, as second payment was taken as the season continued to progress and a final payment was taken in the fall when it appeared that things would continue moving forward. Although other associations saw a drastic decline in membership, Whitehorse MHA was able to retain 438 members compared to the previous season number of 455. A difference of only 17 athletes (only 4% decline in registration numbers).
Whitehorse MHA did a tremendous job to be among only a few associations in all of Canada who were able to provide their athletes with as close to a normal season as possible, and they are deserving recipients of this year’s Frank Spring Minor Hockey Association of the Year Award! Congratulations!
Life Member Volunteer – Executive Award
Awarded on June 23, 2021
Recipient: Leann Smith – East Kootenay Minor Hockey Association
Leann Smith’s involvement in minor hockey spans over 37 years within three provinces. For the last 17 years she has been an integral part of developing hockey within the East Kootenay region. Leann has not only volunteered her time for the East Kootenay Minor Hockey Association, but has also sat on the East Kootenay Board for nearly two decades. She truly is a remarkable volunteer as she has filled numerous roles throughout her years including Secretary, Treasurer, Operation Task Group Member, Discipline Task Group Member, League Commissioner, Zone Program Task Group Member, and Zone Program Lead. She was also the force behind bringing the Zone program to the region that began in. Leann’s focus has always been about providing an amazing MHA for the players in her area. An environment that would help them grow and flourish as people as well as players. This focus has allowed Leann to do many remarkable things and has spurred her on even when times were difficult. It would take far more than a “no” from the naysayers to deter Leann from achieving the highest standard for the people within her MHA. She has been a pillar for East Kootenay MHA over the years as she has been a builder, a helper, a teacher, an advocate, a protector and so much more. She has spent her life helping to better the game of hockey and is an incredibly deserving of the Life Members’ Volunteer – Executive Award. Congratulations!
Chair of the Board Award
Awarded on June 24, 2021
Recipient: Harold Bloomenthal – Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey Association
Harold Bloomenthal has spent his life in hockey. Beginning, as many of us, as a player battling his way through the ranks. Eventually finding his way to junior hockey where he would wrap up his playing days. Still in love with the game, and now a father, Harold decided that coaching would be his way to give back. During his coaching years he always had a desire to have larger impact, and when his kids graduated from minor hockey, he stepped up with the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey Association (JDF MHA) as their president. Harold had a vision for what he wanted for the JDF MHA. It was a place where kids could come for a great experience that was provided by involved and invested volunteers. If you ask Harold about what has occurred at JDF under his watch he is quick to point out that he is a part of a collective group of amazing individuals who throughout the years have all worked tirelessly to care about the kids as people first and as hockey players a distant second. Shaping an organization where everyone is given a chance to have fun and develop. If you bring up a specific team, Harold will begin to speak about a manager or a coach and how they have positively impacted a child’s life. JDF MHA has found much success on the ice as well as off it. The MHA provides scholarships to graduating players and assistance to current players to guarantee that everyone has an opportunity to play. Under Harold’s leadership the MHA has earned a sparkling reputation, and in fact the entire MHA was the 2014 recipient of the Chair of the Board Award while also being named the top MHA on Vancouver Island by VIAHA that year also. These awards are all a testament to Harold’s vision and the hard work put forth by the JDF MHA. With over 20 years under his belt with JDF MHA as a parent, coach and volunteer there is no question that he is an extremely deserving winner of the 2021 Chair of the Board Award. Congratulations!
Diamond Stick Award
Awarded on June 24, 2021
Recipient: Laurie Wishart - Capital Region Female Minor Hockey Association
Laurie Wishart is passionate about hockey and more so about female hockey. Laurie speaks from the heart about making hockey accessible to any girl, regardless of financial means or technical ability. She has truly done it all as a dedicated and selfless lifelong hockey volunteer, serving primarily in multiple leadership roles for more than 25 years.
Where Laurie has really focused her efforts over the last 25 years is on the administrative side for both Minor Hockey and Senior Female Hockey. In 1995, Laurie joined the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey Association (JDF MHA) Board as their treasurer. This began her distinguished career working toward improving the game of hockey. Within three years Laurie began the role of Director of Female Hockey for JDF MHA. Her passion and commitment towards female hockey was extremely impactful for JDF MHA and also at the district level. Laurie served as the Managing Director for Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association Female Regional Program from 2015-2018.
In the Spring of 2018, Laurie indicated her support for the concept of a female Minor Hockey Association in Victoria. She was soon on the Board of Directors and as the Association took shape, she gravitated to the role of Registrar. She had the monumental task of engaging with each family at their initial contact with the Capital Region Female Minor Hockey Association. There was no one better suited for such a task as her passion and enthusiasm for Female Hockey is always at the forefront.
Laurie’s commitment to senior female hockey is also exemplary. She was the founding President of Island Pacific Female Hockey Association in 2003 and served continuously in that role until 2015, taking a brief hiatus before resuming her presidential duties in 2018, where she remains to this day.
Laurie is not new to being honoured. JDF MHA presented Laurie with the Lifetime Membership Award in 2003. Lifetime Membership and similar awards generally coincide with a volunteer's retirement or departure from the association, yet she has remained vital to the hockey community ever since. Her involvement in female programming actually increased from there. We are all very excited to see where Laurie looks to help take the game of hockey, and more specifically female hockey, moving forward. Congratulations Laurie you are incredibly deserving of the Diamond Stick Award.
Mike Landucci Development Award - Officiating
Awarded on July 7, 2021
Recipient: Dan Hanoomansingh
The unique circumstances of the 2020-2021 season required BC Hockey to adapt quickly to unexpected instructional conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dan Hanoomansingh was at the forefront of this effort taking the lead volunteer role in adapting and implementing BC Hockey’s annual curriculum virtually This was a responsibility that went above and beyond his appointed role as Female High Performance Officiating Facilitator. Dan built an exceptional team of instructors and produced a focussed and organized inventory of instructional modules to ensure our officials were ready and supported for the uncertainty of the past season. Dan was also heavily involved in ongoing engagement with BC Hockey officials across via in-season webinars and continued to find productive ways to grow the Female High Performance Officiating program. In fact, during a season where there was an overall decline in officiating registration, the Female High-Performance program grew in total participants during the 2020-21 season, under Dan’s leadership. During 2020-21 Dan was selected by Hockey Canada as a member of the National Officiating Curriculum Task Team and was recently hired to the Hockey Canada staff as the new Manager of Officiating, with a focus on grass roots development.
Official of the Year
Awarded on July 8, 2021
Recipient: Mark Pearce
Mark Pearce is an elite official within BC Hockey, Hockey Canada and the IIHF. This year he was selected to officiate at the IIHF U20 World Junior Championship during the 2020-21 season. This was Mark’s first Tier 1 International event, and he had a successful tournament as he participated through to the playoff portion of the event. Despite the COVID-19 impacted season, he built upon a strong 2019-20 season where he was a runner-up for this award. Mark has had several seasons of being selected for National and WHL championship events. He is a veteran Level 6 Referee who serves as a great ambassador for the program and excellent role model for young official across the membership. He has served as a local MHA developer with North Vancouver Minor Hockey, BC Hockey Summer Officiating School and OPoE instructor and supervisor within the high-performance program. Mark is well deserving of this award! Congratulations!
Safety Recognition Award
Date awarded: July 14, 2021
Recipient: Robyn Hucik
Robyn Hucik had been the Safety Person for her child’s hockey team but decided to take on the responsibility as the Risk Manager for Elk Valley Minor Hockey Association (EVMHA) for the 2020-21 season. This is a daunting job in a normal year, but given the global pandemic the analysis of safety and risk was a massive undertaking and the top priority for everyone. Robyn took the job on with the goal of getting the kids on the ice and keeping them there.
EVMHA utilizes three arenas for hockey, and Robyn had to ensure that each of them had the appropriate safety requirements in place and developed a return to hockey guideline for EVMHA. Robyn and several others formed a committee to focus solely on the safety of the young athletes and making sure COVID protocols were clear and adhered too. Robyn was always available to answer questions or add insight for anyone within EVMHA. This was extremely important as this season was difficult and confusing beyond compare. During a season such as this, to have a person like Robyn who was completely committed to the players’ health and safety provided comfort and assurance for many parents and allowed the kids a chance to play. Great work and congratulations Robyn!