I was shocked to hear the news of Bill McIntoshs sudden passing. He and Julie asked if I would bring my wife and kids over for coffee one Sunday afternoon in late January, as we were on our way home from Panorama. Bill took me downstairs and proudly showed me the collage of team pictures the Rockies had presented him with from the first year until the most recent as a gift for his many years of volunteer service to the club.
As one of the original founders of the Rockies, he volunteered a lot of his time (and probably some money too!) to provide a means for kids to grow and develop as people and athletes. Bill was indeed a great man who touched many with his generosity. He was a big man with a big heart! Without volunteers like Bill, I dont think the Rockies would have survived for so long.
I last spoke with him mid-February to talk hockey and he sounded good. Since meeting in 1992, Bill and I would run into each other in the rink whenever I passed through town, and we exchanged phone calls a couple of times a year; where for better or for worse, he would bring me up to speed on the Rockies and ask if I had any players for him. It became an annual running joke that he would call to ask if I was available to coach the team again!
I have coached for more than 25 years, and my first year as a paid coach was with the Colombia Valley Rockies (1992-1993). I remember Bill manning the penalty box and I started to believe we had a distinct home team advantage as his size and take-no-guff attitude probably scared some common sense into the opposition! I dont think they were too anxious to return to the penalty box…
Looking back among all my coaching destinations, it was the best year ever. I have learned that no matter where you go or what you do, the common denominator to a great experience is a positive attitude and good people; Invermere was such a terrific memory because of the great players and local people, particularly Bill and Julie, who made me feel welcome and contributed so positively to that experience.
Thats why I continue to return year after year to bump into the local people I met way back then and to watch the team. I am proud to be an alumnus of the Rockies.
I hope there is a big turnout for his funeral Saturday to honour Bills memory and to show support to his wonderful wife, Julie. It would be nice to see his name and his legacy forever enshrined with something to do with the town; the Rockies or even the league itself. If they ever build another ice sheet, I feel it should be named in Bills honour.
Godspeed Bill. I will miss our phone calls and meetings at the rink. I will always remember you fondly when I attend Rockies games. When I look up at Eddie and Abes display in the lobby, I hope I will see something unique of yours up there too.
Dean Holden, Head Coach
1992-1993 Columbia Valley Rockies