Fagan recognized for Minor Hockey efforts

·3 min read

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the presentation was done with much less fanfare than would be usual and with no audience attendance, but organizers say that, despite the restrictions, some things are to important to let fall by the wayside.

Denise Fagan was named the 2020 Local Hockey Leader and presented with an award and custom-made jersey during a small ceremony attended just by Gary Martin, who in 2009 was awarded the RBC Insurance Local Hockey Leader Award by the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, the award for which the local award was based on and of which Marin is a co-sponsor, RBC representative Kirk Simms, and Mount Pearl Minor Hockey Association Ways and Means Director Michelle Shepperd.

“I’m so grateful, and honoured, and blessed. When Michelle sent me the email last week, I had tears in my eyes. I could not believe that I got this award. I felt so humbled,” said Fagan.

“It’s a great feeling.”

Fagan has been invovled with Mount Pearl Minor Hockey Association for over a decade now, and has held roles including female director, pee-wee coordinator, AAA coordinator, and vice-president, amongst others. Fagan is currently the vice chair of Female Hockey division of Hockey NL, and was formerly Female Council Eastern Area coordinator, and was awarded Hockey NL’s Female Hockey Promotion Award in 2019.

She said she’s seen a massive shift in female hokey over the last decade.

“Our numbers have grown; there’s some associations that didn’t even have female hockey before that have it now. Some associations have had one team, but now they’re up to three teams,” said Fagan.

“The number of girls playing hockey, and the talent that we have here, is amazing.”

She contributes the uptake to coaches, volunteers, and the girls desire to play, and said that it’s the players themselves that make it all worthwhile.

“When you have a child come up to you and thank you, and you see their successes, and even their failures, you form a bond with them. It’s a great feeling to see the kids smile and have fun.”

This year has of course been a challenge for hockey organizations due to COVID-19.

“We’ve had girls finishing up their last year, who didn’t get to play in their year-end tournaments,” said Fagan.

“It’s disappointing but we just need to work through the challenges. We’re blessed to be in the situation we’re in, and we’re lucky to be back on the ice.”

Hockey of course looks different as well; dressing rooms are off limits, teams are limited to how many players are allowed on the ice, and players and parents are asked to leave immediately following practise, amongst other rules.

The Mount Pearl Minor Hockey Association, in partnership with RBC and Gary Martin, have been recognising local leaders since 2018 Past winners include Trevor Murphy and Gonzo Bennett. The award is presented annually to the person who consistently makes overall outstanding contributions towards the development of hockey, and represents someone that has led through positive example, through motivation of others and through dedication to the overall betterment of the Mount Pearl Minor Hockey Association.

Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News