The Ontario Hockey Federation recognized nine most deserving individuals for their dedication, commitment and invaluable contributions to the hockey community this past weekend at the 2017-18 OHF Awards Banquet in London, Ont.
Recognized were John Jamieson (NOHA) – Dr. Allan Morris Award, Gord Morris (OMHA) – Officiating Award, John Zubyck (NOHA) – Bill Richmond Memorial Award, Cheryll Barr (OMHA) – Volunteer of the Year, Ken Creasey (NOHA) – Order of Merit, Sandra Smith (GTHL) – Christine Penman ‘Companion’ Award, Robert Mazzuca (NOHA) – President’s Award, Sue Campbell (OHF)- OHF Staff Award and John Gardner (GTHL) – OHF Life Patron Award.
Two of the nine individuals recognized have played an important part in the development of the GTHL, including former GTHL John Gardiner who was presented with the OHF Life Patron Award – the highest honour that can be bestowed by this Branch for very distinctive services and contributions to the Federation.
About the Award Winners
Sandra Smith, Greater Toronto Hockey League
A life long volunteer Sandra Smith has been giving her time to the Hockey world for over 25 years ago, as Secretary to Applewood Hockey Association, as well as Director and Secretary of the Mississauga Hockey League. Always ready to jump in and help, Sandra has dedicated countless hours to her community, both in and out of the arena.Over the past decade Sandra has assisted at GTHL events (OHL Cup) and enjoys accompanying her husband Ken to OHF and Provincial Championships. She also enjoys participating in the Companions Programs at OHF events and at Hockey Canada AGMs/Spring Congresses. Christine Penman ‘Companion’ Award – The Christine Penman ‘Companion’ Award is to be given to an OHF companion, current or past, who has made a significant contribution to goodwill and cooperation among the Ontario Hockey Federation companions and with the Board. It is presented, when appropriate, by the Officers.
John Gardner, Greater Toronto Hockey League
The name of John Gardner is synonymous with minor hockey in the Toronto area and beyond. Growing up playing hockey in the then Toronto Hockey League, John took his skills to the University of New Brunswick where he was a member of its varsity hockey team and coach of its junior varsity Maritimes’ intercollegiate champions. Upon returning to Toronto, John became re-involved in hockey as a coach, referee and administrator. John was elected to the Board in 1975 of what had become the Metropolitan Toronto Hockey League, subsequently the Greater Toronto Hockey League. He was then elected President in 1980 – the youngest in the history of the league- and has served continuously for over 42 years, 35 as President. In addition to his service to the GTHL – he has served as Director of both the OHA and OHF, as Chair of OHF Minor Council and as Chair of two Hockey Canada committees. In addition to tirelessly devoting almost his entire adult life to the game and League he loves, he has spearheaded many initiatives for the advancement of minor hockey, not only in Toronto, but throughout Ontario and indeed across Canada. Under John’s leadership the GTHL was the first minor hockey organization to have every player wear the maple leaf on his or her jersey; the first organization to introduce specific penalties for checking to the head; and the first to have a comprehensive concussion and return to play policy. For his service to hockey, John has received a number of prestigious awards over the years, including the Government of Ontario Special Achievement Award (1995), OHF Minor Hockey Award (2001), the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), Hockey Canada Order of Merit (2006) and the OHF Dr. Allan Morris Award (2010). It is our honour to now add OHF Life Patron to that well deserving list of accomplishments for John. OHF Life Patron Award – The OHF Life Patron is the highest honour that can be bestowed by this Branch for very distinctive services and contributions to the Federation.
The OHF Awards Program was introduced during the 2001-02 season to formally recognize the efforts and achievements of OHF Volunteers, who dedicate countless hours in putting the interests of our game ahead of their own. Since its inception the OHF Awards Program has recognized more than 140 recipients.