Hockey Canada Outstanding Volunteer Award 2018
The Hockey Canada Outstanding Volunteer Award annually recognizes an outstanding volunteer who has contributed to amateur hockey and Hockey Canada. Volunteer service may include years of participation, administration, contribution, innovation or the advancement of amateur hockey through media coverage. The Outstanding Volunteer Award is presented to an individual who has dedicated himself/herself to the ideals of Hockey Canada, who has worked tirelessly for the improvement of the Association and who has had a notable impact on the game.
It’s hard to know where to start on the subject of Gerry Taylor’s impact on hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador. That’s what happens when one’s involvement in the sport spans more than 65 years. What must be said, though: He’s made the game better for everyone connected to it, and for that, he is a most deserving winner of Hockey Canada’s Outstanding Volunteer Award.
Since lacing up for his high school team in 1952, Gerry’s been a player, coach, clinic conductor, instructor and ice scheduler. He’s been a secretary, manager, team builder, junior council director, technical director and PR director. He’s been a league chairman, league representative, league vice-president, league president and league past-president. He’s been a member of fundraising committees, executive committees and new arena building committees. He’s even been a website designer.
Having been a player himself, Gerry wanted others to enjoy the same opportunity—the opportunity to play, yes, but also the opportunity to learn about life, to learn about others, to learn about yourself.
In many ways, he’s been the unselfish gatekeeper of the game on the Rock. He first volunteered in 1974 as an Atom team coach. Later that year, as an executive member with the Mt. Pearl Minor Hockey Association, he organized teams in three divisions even though there was no rink in town. No problem: He just held early morning practices in St. John’s.
The following year he began the drive to build the town its own rink. Mission accomplished by 1977, Gerry recruited parents to coach teams in five divisions, providing them with practice drills to run with their players. He then worked tirelessly to bring junior hockey to Mt. Pearl, helping to form new leagues when old ones were forced to fold.
That’s just who Gerry is. If time is the most invaluable resource, no one invested more than Gerry. Whether it was holding weekly Squirt skating clinics, as he did in 1977-78; acting as the St. John’s Junior League rep at NAHA meetings, as he did from 1984-89; raising funds for the Mt. Pearl Amateur Hockey Association and the St. John’s Junior Hockey League, as he did from 1989-93 and 1989-94, respectively; serving as a member of the Provincial Jr. Hockey Championship committee, as he was from 2001-03; or performing any of the other dozens of roles he’s held over more than four decades, for Gerry it was about bettering the game for those who participate.