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Learn More About February's Volunteers of the Month

By Nothers The Award Store, 02/27/24, 10:00AM EST

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Rookie and Veteran recipients

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 February!

The Rookie (2> years) winner for February is Steve Keoch of Garden City - Kiwanis Minor Hockey! Here's his story as told by his nomination:

Although he has only “officially” been on the bench for 2 years, you would think it has been so much longer. Hockey has always been apart of his life since he was a child and of course cheering on his favourite NHL team. He is currently on the bench for his son’s house and select teams as well as daughters house team. The reason he deserves this is that he takes the time with each individual child to guide and teach them skills and his biggest goal is to build their confidence. He takes so much pride at the end of a season seeing the growth each child has made and he is very big on making sure they are aware by praising them every step of the way. He is a very selfless person who never seeks praise but deserves it so very much.

How many years have you been volunteering in hockey and in what roles?
I have been volunteering for the past two seasons for U13 and U11 house leagues and U13 house league select team in the Garden City Kiwanis Organization. I have had the pleasure to hold the roles of head coach, assistant coach and team trainer. 

What are some of the personal rewards of being a coach?
My personal rewards of being a coach are watching the kids development progress throughout the season and watching their confidence grow. It is also rewarding receiving positive feedback from players and parents who notice their child’s improvement and hearing they have had a positive experience. 

How do you work with each player to ensure a positive hockey experience?
To ensure each player has a positive hockey experience I like to provide positive feedback during practices and after shifts throughout the games. Taking the time to demonstrate with the players how to properly execute drills and correct when needed to help each individual maximize their potential. When recognizing frustration in the players I like to provide positive verbal support to ensure they remain focused and make sure they are having fun while continuing to grow their love for the game! 

Medallion Member Benefits Program

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The Veteran (2+ years) winner for February is John Reilly of South Simcoe Minor Hockey! Here's his story as told by his nomination:

His outstanding commitment and selfless dedication to the South Simcoe Minor Hockey Association as President and the Bradford Minor Hockey Association as Vice President truly set him apart. Mr. Reilly has demonstrated an unparalleled passion for the development and success of young athletes in their minor hockey careers. What makes his contributions even more remarkable is the fact that he invests countless hours into these associations despite not having children actively participating in the programs.

As President of the South Simcoe Minor Hockey Association and Vice President of the Bradford Minor Hockey Association, Mr. Reilly has been a driving force behind the growth and improvement of both organizations. His leadership has created an environment that fosters learning, skill development, and excellence among the players. Mr. Reilly's dedication extends beyond his official roles he goes above and beyond to ensure that every player has the opportunity to learn, grow, and excel in their hockey journey. His tireless efforts contribute significantly to the positive experiences of the young athletes under his guidance.

I believe that John Reilly exemplifies the qualities and spirit that the Volunteer of the Month award seeks to honor. His selflessness, leadership, and commitment to the community make him an exceptional candidate for this recognition. His contributions are truly deserving of acknowledgment, and I am confident that his passion for supporting young athletes will continue to inspire others.

How many years have you been volunteering in hockey and in what roles?
I’ve been volunteering for nine years now, first as an assistant coach with a 2005 age group, then was also voted into a board position (Technical Director) for Bradford Minor Hockey Association and way later voted in as Vice President. I continued coaching with the 2005’s until my son started pre tyke in 2013 and coached him until Covid. After Covid I coached a 2008 team that bumped up to AA for a season and then next season I coached 2013’s. When we originally started the amalgamation with Innisfil Minor Hockey I was still the Vice President in Bradford, I became President not by choice, but because my very good friend and President at the time, Paul Dossey, passed away. I now sit as President of South Simcoe Minor Hockey for this first year of the amalgamation (next year I will be Vice President).

What’s been the most rewarding part of volunteering?
As a coach the most rewarding part for me is the relationships I still have with many of the kids I’ve coached, some of these kids are 18 now and still call me Coach John and it makes me smile every time. 

As a board member my most rewarding experience has been the amalgamation with Innisfil, it took a long time but I truly believe we have done something great and it will only benefit the kids that play here. The goal was to have every kid get the chance to play at the highest level they were capable of and by joining we can now offer AA, A and BB at nearly every age group which means more kids can stay and play at home rather then try and take an NRP from another association. 

What keeps you volunteering as an administrator without having your own children actively participating?
I continue to volunteer because I truly want to make South Simcoe successful. There was never a thought of me leaving when my kids moved on, even more so after Paul passed away, I swear I still hear him in my head saying ‘don’t screw this up John’. We are never going to make everyone happy but if the kids are enjoying their experience and they continue to play then that’s a reason to keep going for me. 


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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