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Get to Know March's Volunteers of the Month

By Nothers The Award Store, 03/22/24, 10:00AM EDT


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 March! These are the final recipients of the season.

The Rookie (2> years) winner for March is Paul Sorrenti of South Simcoe Minor Hockey! Here's his story as told by his nomination:

I am a parent on the U14A team and I cannot express enough on how incredible this amalgamation has been with this team. Our coach Paul Sorrenti has worked tirelessly to ensure that our boys are a unified and cohesive group. Coach Paul and the rest of the bench staff have chosen a very positive approach to coaching. They are clear on what they expect and they chose to build each player up and model this which has been a direct correlation to their success so far. Coach Paul sent out a parent letter which was one of the greatest letters I’ve received from a coach, outlining his expectations of us. He set the tone straight away and we have never had an issue. He held a meeting again with the boys and shared his clear plan for the success of the team and they all walked out showing such enthusiasm and positivity towards the year and each other. I have never been more excited for a year with this team and this coaching/bench staff is the reason for it.

How many years have you been volunteering in hockey and in what roles? Why get into coaching?
I have been coaching hockey for the last 7 years, since my kids were 6 years old either in a head coach, assistant or trainers role. This year I am head coach of my older son’s U14A South Simcoe Storm team.  We have had a very successful season with a great group of kids and parents. Aside from racking up a bunch of wins and tournament wins, the team also raised money for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and the local food bank. 

How do you create a unified group on a team?
I got into coaching because I wanted to give back to the community and get involved with helping kids learn and love the game of hockey. One of the greatest rewards of being a coach is seeing the players develop throughout the hockey year. Not only are we teaching the game of hockey to the kids but also showing them life lessons that will help them grow into productive teens and young adults. 

What are some of the personal rewards of being a coach?
Creating a unified group is a big part of having a successful team. I believe if you take the time to have the group bond before the season begins and put together a good week long training camp, you will set your team up for success. 
Getting into coaching kids hockey has been a fulfilling experience and hope that I can continue in the future. 

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.

The Veteran (2+ years) winner for March is Candice Miller of Whitchurch-Stouffville Minor Hockey! Here's her story as told by her nomination:

Candice Miller is the Director of House League for the WSMHA. In this role, she oversees and supports the entire house league portfolio, supporting the division conveners, and ensuring everything runs smoothly. This sounds like every other Director of House League but Candice goes above and beyond. She takes a detailed in interest in ensuring teams are balanced, that the focus is fun, and ensuring coaches and other volunteers have the support they need. No question is too small or concern too minor from parents, other volunteers, and staff. When the big problems come up she takes a fair, measured approach that makes everyone feel they had a win. Candice makes everyone who works with her or participates in the program feel valued and important while keeping the program kid centered. She wants kids to be excited about hockey and to grow and have fun with the sport. This year she was part of the committee that brought WSMHA to the Toronto Marlies and the Marlies to Stouffville for two fantastic events that got Rep, Rostered Select, and House League divisions together and offered exciting activities for the kids. This project was a huge undertaking that the committee took on in addition to their other roles. The WSMHA is better for her dedication and commitment to ensuring hockey with the WSMHA is a great experience for the kids, and their families.

How many years have you been volunteering in hockey and in what roles?
I started as a house league convenor with the Whitchurch Stouffville Minor Hockey Association in 2016 when my son began playing Tim Bit hockey. I stayed on as a convenor until I took on the position of Director of House League in 2020. I am currently the VP of House League. Giving back to the community I grew up in and to a sport I love has been a rewarding experience. 

How do you keep your administrative volunteerism player-centric?
House league is for everyone and every player deserves an opportunity to enjoy and take part in a way that works for them. My job as a volunteer is to make sure that my focus is on the players and to do what I can to make sure that every player returns to the rink week after week with smiles on their faces. When planning, it's always about the kids first.  We want them to develop into great hockey players, but at the same time, we want them to build friendships and have fun. 

Why was securing the Toronto Marlies teams to WSMHA such an important project? What kind of work went into that?
This season marked 75 years for the Whitchurch Stouffville Minor Hockey Association. The Marlies event was in celebration of the Anniversary. The Association wanted to have an event to bring our community together. A large number of our members attended the Marlies game on October 22. Then on October 30th, the Marlies came to Stouffville for an incredible fun-filled evening. There was a free skate, autograph sessions, games, food and much more. The WSMHA Marlies committee, along with the Marlies event staff did an awesome job. It was great to see so many players with their families at both the game and the Community event. 

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