For his decades of service to the minor hockey community in the Hamilton area, Neil Skirving has been named the recipient of the 2021 OMHA Honour Award.
Skirving began coaching in 1969 and has been involved in minor hockey ever since in various roles. He currently serves as the Vice-President Hockey Operations in the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs association. Skriving was crucial in the amalgamation of Saltfleet and Stoney Creek which laid the basis for the creation of Hamilton as a AAA zone.
The Honour Award was established to recognize a person who has made an outstanding voluntary contribution to minor hockey for a considerable period of time. Skirving has dedicated a lifetime of volunteering to hockey and has exemplified outstanding voluntary contribution to minor hockey. His contributions have come in the form of coaching, instructing, mentoring, and executive leadership. He contributes an extensive amount of time that stems from passion and desire for excellence.
“Neil was the reason I got involved in the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs board. He helped me as a coach and now he's helped me learn the operations of running the organization. He's kind of a guru for us,” says Adam Syring, Jr. Bulldogs President, who also described Skirving as the heart and soul of the organization.
Skirving starting his coaching career in 1969 and has coached in six minor hockey and junior hockey associations. The contributions were recognized with four Coach of the Year awards, one Lifetime Achievement Award and one OMHA Program Development Award. He has contributed to the OMHA as Regional Coaching Instructor for the National Certification Program, Technical Director for the Coaching Program, and OMHA Committee Member. Skriving has technical expertise and extensive knowledge of the guidelines and protocols in administering minor hockey.
Skirving regularly watches games at all levels to ensure relationships are built with parents and players and always aspires to do the right thing for the organization. He is looked at as someone people search out to provide advice.
“One thing that really impressed me a lot with Neil was how good he was with the kids. You could really tell that he just loved being out there working with them and having a lot of fun which is the biggest part of teaching hockey and having young kids play the game,” says Geraldine Heaney, Head Coach of the 2008 team and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee.
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