Competition searches for country’s most dedicated hockey volunteer


photo courtesy of Louise Schumann
Local volunteer Jeff Ashby is one of 100 finalists in the Kraft Hockey Goes On competition.

One of Hay River’s most devoted volunteers has made the top 100 finalists in a national competition.

Jeff Ashby is into the second round of Kraft Canada’s Hockey Goes On competition, which recognizes important volunteers who make hockey happen in Canadian communities.

Five grand-prize winners from across the country will win $100,000 each, which will be awarded to their chosen local hockey association. An additional 20 individuals will each receive $20,000.

Nominations began Jan. 21 and Ashby is the only volunteer from the NWT to have made the top 100 finalists.

The NWT has been grouped together with Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan to form the west division. As a result, the Hay River Minor Hockey Association has good odds of winning some serious prize money.

Lynne Buth submitted Ashby’s profile for the competition on behalf of the association. In it, she describes him as a tireless helper who never complains.

In a town known for its active volunteers, Jeff is one of its busiest,” Buth writes. “Whether he is sorting jerseys, running the time clock or ensuring that kids have enough pucks to get through their practice, he is always smiling and willing to lend a hand.”

Ashby is also described as a person who truly cares about the young players he interacts with on a weekly basis.

He worries about the players’ safety and the only time you may see him without a smile on his face is when he catches one trying to sneak on the ice without their mouth guard,” Buth writes.

Ashby moved to Hay River in 2002 and has not only been involved with minor hockey, but also with many other events organized by the town.

He runs the score clock during every home tournament and is the equipment manager of several teams.

I’ve been working with Jeff at minor hockey for more than 10 years and he is one of Hay River’s best volunteers,” said Louise Schumann. “He has also become a really good friend of the family. Jeff has a great sense of humour and is really witty. A lot of the times people forget about him because he’s always there, but he’s instrumental in so many ways and very dependable.”

Voting on the Kraft Hockey Goes On website will take place on March 23 & 24.

The winners will be announced on April 3.

— Myles Dolphin