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December's Volunteers of the Month Are...

By Nothers The Award Store, 12/27/23, 10:00AM EST

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Rookie and Veteran recipients each month

The Ontario Minor Hockey Association and Nothers have teamed up for the Volunteer of the Month program – a ‘rookie’ and a ‘veteran’ volunteer will be recognized each month through a profile highlighting their involvement in the game of hockey.

We were thrilled to see so many deserving nominations at the start of the season and have highlighted two winners below for December!

The Rookie (2> years) winner for December is Matt Van Osch of Huron-Bruce Minor Hockey! Here's his story as told by his nomination:

Our family runs a dairy farm outside of Lucknow. I know how busy farming is and Matt stepped up to coach our kids team. Even though he’s out in the fields, doing chores in the barn, he is always on time at the arena and ready for the hockey practice. He gets the team going and I’ve noticed he’s right there with the kids who may still struggle and haven’t found their footings yet. He’s there encouraging them, helping them and being all around the best coach! He’s not afraid to ask for help and reaches out to other coaches for thoughts and opinions. He takes it seriously and truly wants to educate the kids further but also wants to make it fun and keep all the kids interested. He’s doing amazing so far!

You have a busy work schedule on the farm and still find time to volunteer as a coach. Why is that important to you?
Volunteering for me is important because it is a chance for me to give back to our community. Being from a dairy farm, my parents never had the luxury to give their time to help out with sporting groups when I was growing up. Chore time and game/practice times always overlapped. We are fortunate now to have technology on our side in the barn that allows me to have that extra time to be involved with my daughter's U7 team. 

How do you plan and keep your practices fresh and exciting for your team?
I try to keep practices balanced between repetition and excitement. I try to focus on one or two specific skills for three to four weeks doing the same practice layout of group warm ups and or skate followed by splitting into three groups and rotating through stations. Two of the stations will be similar week two week while bringing in one different drill to keep things exciting. All working on the same skills. Once I feel the kids have a handle on things, we move on to the next skill set. I like to write my practice plans out so I can keep track week to week what drills we have done so I know when to rotate a new one in.

How do you work with the players who may be struggling?
I started playing hockey a year or two later than other kids and I can still remember what it felt like trying to catch up to the kids that already seemed to have it figured out. So helping our developing players is important to me. I am fortunate to have a great group of fellow coaches and parent volunteers that are able to help out with practices so we can consistently run three stations for our practices. We have our kids split in the same three groups according to skill level every practice so that they can work though our stations appropriate to the stage of their development without feeling the pressure to keep up. 

Medallion Member Benefits Program

The OMHA has partnered with Nothers The Award Store to help our members save costs on their Tournament and Year-End Awards needs.
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The Veteran (2+ years) winner for December is Mandy Humphrey of Lambeth Minor Hockey! Here's her story as told by her nomination:

Mandy has be a local league convenor for many years. She is always organized and never complains about the work that needs to be done. Team player. Advocate for the players.

How many years have you been volunteering in hockey and in what roles?
I have been volunteering for minor hockey in some capacity for almost 10 years. I started volunteering in 2014 as the “jersey parent” and was responsible for washing and bringing the jerseys to games. I wanted to help out on the team in some way and this was it. I continued in this role until last season. In 2017, I accepted the role as the Local League Convenor and I have continued in this position until now. I have enjoyed being a part of an amazing Association that works hard to give our players the best hockey experience possible. As a part of this role I am also the Lambton Middlesex Local League Representative for Lambeth. In addition to being the Convenor and the LMLL Rep, I am also the Team Manager for my son’s U18 Local League team. I have been in this role for the previous two seasons. I have really enjoyed being a part of our minor hockey program over the years! 

What work goes into your current position?
As the Local League Convenor I am responsible for organizing and supporting our 5 Local League teams this season. I am directly involved in choosing coaches, organizing evaluation skates and forming balanced teams. I also assist the coaches and other bench staff in preparation for the season by ensuring they are certified for their positions. I support our coaches, parents and players with any issues that may come up throughout the year. As the LMLL Representative for Lambeth, I attend monthly league meetings with our League Executive and the other Centre Reps where we plan for the season and ensure that the league is running smoothly.  As the Team Manager for my son’s U18 Local League team, I am responsible for assisting the coaches in keeping the team organized, in addition to booking tournaments, collecting team fees and organizing any other team events throughout the season. 

How have you seen players and teams benefit from the volunteering you do?
As the Local League Convenor, I have seen many players and coaches come together as a team and find success in minor hockey. The ongoing support that I provide for our coaches, players and parents throughout the season contributes to the success of our Local League program. Being available and willing to help resolve any issues that arise has proven to be very beneficial for all involved for a successful season. I am always just an email or phone call away! As a Team Manager, I have observed success in tournaments and memories being made among our amazing coaches, parents and players through these events. Our team has bonded on and off the ice and made lifelong friends through these experiences. Through volunteering for so many years, I have been able to watch our players grow and develop as hockey players and individuals. I hope our minor hockey program has given them a positive hockey experience and provided them with many great hockey memories.  


NOMINATE A VOLUNTEER

Please use the form below to nominate a Volunteer. Submissions will be kept on file and you do not need to resubmit each month.


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