One of the longest-serving presidents of any sports organization in Manitoba has finally decided to step aside, and he’ll be honoured for his dedication tonight.
After spending the past 17 years as Hockey Brandon’s president, Glen Parker recently resigned. Parker felt it was time for him to move on and that the right people, including new president Bob Lawrence, were in place to take over the organization.
However, he’ll still be involved a little bit with minor hockey in the Wheat City as he becomes the past president and heads into his 21st year as a board member.
Parker, who will be honoured by Hockey Brandon at a dinner tonight at 6:30 at Sokol Hall, has enjoyed his long tenure with the organization.
"I believe we all have to volunteer to do something or we should," he said. "I’ve always enjoyed hockey and enjoyed talking about hockey. There’s the downside to it too in dealing with some of the unpleasant issues, but when you see the kids enjoying the game and you see the kids in their Timbits stuff and at the rink dragging their bags and stuff, it seems to make it worthwhile. It just seemed like it was something I thought I could continue to contribute to the community."
Hockey excelled in Brandon under Parker’s tenure, and he loved seeing some of the success that came while he was in charge.
He was proud to see Brandon win the Telus Cup (the national Midget AAA championship) in 2004 as well as some Brandon players help the Westman Wildcat team claim the first Esso Cup (female midget national championship) in 2009.
Parker has also enjoyed watching players move up the ranks and go on to play at the WHL, NHL or in colleges across the country and has been pleased with the growth of the girls’ minor hockey program. He is most proud to see people who grew up playing hockey in Brandon become pillars in the community.
"Just seeing the young people develop into quality citizens, regardless of what they choose to do — whether they’re doctors or nurses or cops or whatever — seeing them in the community and seeing them turn into responsible citizens is kind of neat and to watch them grow," he said. "I think hockey itself provides an opportunity. It’s certainly not the only reason they become responsible citizens, but it’s a piece of the puzzle with the teamwork and structure and respect. I like to think we play a small part in their development as people."
While Parker leaves Hockey Brandon in good hands and in good shape, he admits there are a few challenges ahead for the organization, like finding ways to bring hockey costs down so that the game is affordable for everyone, and to keep athletes in hockey as it increasingly becomes a year-round sport and competes for players with other sports.
Lawrence, however, is ready to take on those challenges, although he’s not afraid to call a familiar friend for advice.
"(Glen’s) a great guy," said Lawrence, who has served on the board for six years. "He’s done a lot for hockey and we’re kind of sad to see him retire, but now he’s called the past president and he has a function on the board and I certainly call him all the time with questions, looking for guidance and ‘What did you do the last time this happened?’ That’s very helpful.
"I do think he was there for the right reasons. I think he cares about the game and it’s pretty obvious that he’s been there 17 years."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 19, 2013