By Chadd Cawson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Windermere Valley Minor Hockey Association (WVMHA) held its awards ceremony at the Columbia Valley Centre last week on Apr. 6 at 5:30 p.m. Many awards were given out to recognize the efforts of players, coaches, and even volunteers. 

Young players looked to the older ones for inspiration, while the older ones reflected on their younger selves encompassed by the sheer joy of playing the game. “It’s always nice to get everyone together for these awards, to recognize hard work and fair play,” says Jordan Stapleton,  WVMHA registrar and one of the organizers of Wednesday night’s award ceremony. “This night brought people together, many we haven’t seen in a long time. Being able to see the joy of the players while representing their teams was huge. The night was a total success!”

Some of the top awards given out that night include: the Eddie Mountain Award for Volunteer of the Year, the George Gibson Award for Most Inspirational Player, and the Dave White Award for Most Dedicated Player. There was also a Female Player award which promotes activism for females, along with the Mike Warriner Award that went to the coach of the year. 

The recipients of these major awards are decided through a voting process executed by members of the association. During this process players are often divided by age, and sometimes by skill.

“Winning provincials for the U13 is the best award you can get, because the whole team won,” says Stapleton. “This year being played in its entirety the big winners were every kid being able to play against other teams.” Stapleton, who oversees player registrations and hockey profiles, sees a lot of diversity within the teams made up of also female and First Nation players. “I’m not sure of the exact number (of awards given), but it sure was great to see so many happy kids,” said Stapleton. Team awards were determined by the coaching staffs of the individual teams.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic made the start of this hockey season a challenge and put a hold on past in-person award ceremonies. However, the Windermere Valley Minor Hockey Association adapted brilliantly. The loosening of the rules and regulations at the end of the year was a welcome blessing for both the players, and parents. 

This event was held at the Columbia Valley Civic Centre which is located on the unceded and crossover territories of the Secwépemc (Shuswap) and Ktunaxa (Akisqnuk) people and on the land chosen as home by the Metis Peoples of British Columbia.