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Happy Valley-Goose Bay honours volunteers

We have all heard sayings like this before ‘without the contribution of volunteers, we wouldn’t have been able to do this’…. That’s because it’s true. The backbone of almost every sporting or community-based organisation the world over relies on the countless hours of time that people volunteer to ensure that their respective club or organisation is able to function and provide the services/ programs that they do for their participants.

On Tuesday March 27th, the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay organised a Volunteer Awards Night, by a group of dedicated Volunteers themselves to acknowledge those people within the town who have been recognised and nominated by their peers for going above and beyond in their contribution towards the organisations that they are involved in.

It all started with the arrival of the Fire Trucks in the car park of the EJ Broomfield Arena, nothing like some flashing lights and sirens to attract the interests of the children and some of the ‘bigger kids’.

Brad Butler, the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay Fire Chief who played in the Hockey match between the RCMP and the Fire Department told The Labradorian “It is great to see the kids out here, I am just hoping to get through the game, I play hockey once a year and today is that day.”

The Town opened up the arena for a ‘Free Skate Session’ which saw a big crowd of people take advantage of this opportunity. Some of the Town mascots were on show, getting their photos taken and spending some time out on the ice.

At the conclusion of the skating session, the absolute majority of the crowd made their way to the stadium seats to be entertained by the annual Hockey Match between the RCMP and the Fire Department. Both teams had a number of skilled and accomplished hockey players on their teams.

Both teams took to the ice with the will to win, a win that would earn them bragging rights for the next twelve months.

The match was a tightly contested affair across the entire three periods of play. The first goal of the game wasn’t scored until close to the end of the first period, with Dan Sharpe skating the puck past the goal tenders crease and sending a close range forehand wrist shot glove side into the back of the net with 2 minutes and 6 seconds remaining. The Fire Department had a chance to level the scores if it wasn’t for some superb goal tending by the RCMP goal tender, who saved two successive shots on goal from just outside the crease. The first period finished up with a 1-0 lead for the RCMP team.

During the first intermission break, the Volunteers Awards were presented, and the winners from each of the nominated categories were as follows:

•             Greg Wheeler, Grand River Snow Mobile Club – Community Services Category

•             Chris Griffin, HV-GB Recyclers – Community Services Category

•             John Graham, Tamarack Camera Club – Arts Category

•             Angela Wareham, MADD – Education Category

•             Allan Bock, HVGB Public Library Board – Cultural Category

•             Isabelle Goudie, Girl Guides – Youth Category

•             Jodi MacPhail, La Leche League Canada: Labrador – Health Category

•             Jennifer Walsh, Valley Danceworks & Labrador Lites Gymnastics Club – Sport & Recreation Category

•             Kerry Rideout, Melville Mantas Swim Club – Sport & Recreation Category

Three of the Award Recipients, shared their feeling on winning the Award with The Labradorian:

“I felt very honoured to have received this award! I know how my swimmers feel about my volunteer hours I put in because after every practice I have them thanking me and that's even after a hard morning practice. It's was great as well to stand alongside other individuals who also received awards last night, a great celebration,” said Kerry Rideout, Head Coach of the Melville Mantas Swim Club.

“I don’t do it to be recognised, but it is very nice to be acknowledges by the Town and my peers at the Club. There are a lot of other people who volunteer lots of hours to keep the Club running, big thanks to all of them,” said Greg Wheeler, President of the Grand River Snow Mobile Club.

“I am honoured and humbled to be nominated by organizations in the community. Any volunteer will tell you that giving of your time and effort is not something that is done in a vacuum. I work alongside an incredibly diverse group of hard-working and community-minded individuals who bring skills, knowledge and talents to our collective efforts, and it’s through this cooperation that we make advances which benefit the people who live in our community,” said Allan Bock.

After the Awards ceremony had concluded, the crowd were treated with a display of Novice Hockey, with some of the players from the Fire Department Team returning to the ice to match up as opposition.

These little players did their best and getting the puck past the Fire Department Goal Tender and into the back of the net!!

The second period of the main hockey match between the RCMP and the Fire Department started back up, with no goals being scored in the period, despite the RCMP team having three power play opportunities, one of which was a five on three advantage, but the Fire Department defence held out to keep the score at 1-0 to the RCMP heading into the third period.

During the second intermission break, three lucky young children had their names drawn out to take part in the ‘puck shoot out’, with two of them taking home a brand-new BMX bike. This was followed up second game of Novice hockey, only this time it was the players from the RCMP team that were paired as the opposition team for the youngsters.

The break in play gave both teams ample rest time in readiness for the third and final period. Almost 4 minutes into the period, the Fire Department scored their first goal of the game, with Brendan Snow skating onto a pass across the blue line to shoot the puck low between the goalie’s pads, this levelled the scores at one goal each.

This was ultimately short lived, with the RCMP team from the restart scored an unassisted goal through Dan Sharpe, his second for the night to restore a 2-1 lead to the RCMP side. The 2-1 score remained right up to the finals seconds when the Fire Department scored to tie the game but the goal was waved off, and the RCMP team were the victors on the night.

In speaking with Brad Butler, the Fire Department Fire Chief he said, “The game last night was the best one yet in terms of turnout of fans as well as the game itself.  It was a close game this year, with a 2-1 win by the RCMP, and I would like to congratulate them on their win.  I want to thank the organizing team as well as the fans that came out this year to support us and the Special Olympics.”

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