John O'Keefe Memorial Award (Huron-Perth Lakers AAA Minor Hockey Association)

PrintJohn O'Keefe Memorial Award



The John O'Keefe Memorial Award is presented annually to an individual in the Huron-Perth organization who has provided outstanding volunteer work with Lakers teams and/or the Association. With the permission of the O’Keefe family, it was created to memorialize the late John O’Keefe by celebrating the type of contributions he made as a parent, trainer and manager. John approached his volunteer work with an open heart and an open mind - simply looking for ways to help. He was a strong believer in what the whole Lakers hockey experience provides for young players: the pursuit of excellence in a competitive environment.  
2018 Award Winner - Karen Gibb 
2017 Award Winner - Kevin Nicholson 
2016 Award Winner - Mark Thibbault
2015 Award Winner - Russell "Rusty" Cross
2014 Award Winner - Mich Landry

2013 Award Winner - Jack Chaffe

Lakers Vice-President Kevin Nicholson (left) presents the award to Jack Chaffe (right).

"This year’s recipient joined the Huron Perth Lakers in 2006 and took an active role almost immediately. He started off by coaching the 97 team in their minor atom year and averaged almost 30 wins a year while collecting 118 wins over 4 years with this team.  He didn’t just coach he was also very active within the organization as well. He served on the Coaches’ Selection Committee on two different occasions and spent hours driving around from rink to rink interviewing potential coaches. 
He also joined the executive in 2006 and was a member of the Hockey Operation Committee in 2007 serving as Head of Hockey Operations for 3 years. Our recipient helped form and mold many of our programs that we are still presently running. As a member of Hockey Ops he also took on other roles as needed he was equipment manager making sure we had supplies to start the year and as a coaching mentor working with many of our new coaches. He was also involved in the 2009-10 season to help in the bidding and hosting of the OHF’s in St. Marys. This recipient was always there whenever he was needed and made time for you….unless he was on the ice….a call made early in the day or late night was also answered.  He never sought credit for his efforts he just went about his duties and tasks without bringing attention to himself. 

When he left the organization late in the 2011-12 season it took 3 executive members to cover off on the work that he was doing. It gives me great pleasure in introducing this year’s John O’Keefe award to Jack Chaffe. "

2012 Award Winner - Craig Metzger

Lakers President Kevin Nicholson (left) presents the award to Craig Metzger.

"Craig Metzger joined the Laker organization and Executive shortly after his son Joe made the 1995 Minor Atom team in 2004. As a Laker Executive member, Craig immediately jumped into a heavy workload with important positions as Alliance Rep and Registrar. He volunteered as manager for the 1995 team and became statistician. His elaborate Excel spreadsheets are still used by some Laker teams as an important tool to keep track of team and individual statistics. During his tenure as an Executive member, Craig represented the Laker organization at numerous Alliance meetings and articulated Laker positions on topics such as Spring Tryouts, Residency and other important Alliance rules. Craig was instrumental in helping develop the Laker website. MB Sports in Goderich created the current Laker website and with Craig's assistance and suggestions for improvement, MB Sports continued to expand and improve it. There are numerous features within the website that are the direct result of Craig's recommendations and ideas. Currently, the MB Sports website is used by over 100 different organizations and is considered the pre-eminent website for minor sports organizations.
Craig's contributions to the improvement and development of the Laker organization have been invaluable. Many aspects of the organization have changed over the past 8 years. Craig's involvement has been significant and noticeable. Areas that most Laker families take for granted such as branding, fundraising, written policies and procedures, Laker clothing, classified ads for equipment, all have Craig's fingerprints all over them.

In the past few years, Craig's role on the Executive changed. He took on role of Website Administrator, always ensuring the Laker website was current and informative. Craig often encouraged teams to write articles about their teams and often was the editor of content. Craig has been the author of numerous organization articles. Many organizations look to the Laker website to copy ideas and format their own websites.

Last year, Craig officially resigned from Laker Executive and became our website consultant. Even today, Craig is still considered an important resource and "go to" guy when a question comes up that no one else seems to have an answer for.

It is also worth noting that during the past 8 years, Craig has been a tremendously dedicated and devoted hockey Dad. Joe has played 8 seasons for the Laker organization and played in approximately 500 games. Craig attended a majority of these games and travelled thousands of kilometres to support Joe in his Laker career and at the same time, balanced the hockey schedules of this two other sons. Craig, Kelly and family have been the ideal Laker family during all these years.

In the spirit of John O'Keefe for which this award is named, the most interesting observation about Craig is this: Craig has carried himself with the utmost professionalism and integrity while a volunteer within the Laker organization. A humble person, Craig has never sought attention to himself or sought recognition for his obvious achievements to the Laker organization. Craig simply set out to do the best job he possibly could. He quietly volunteered this work ethic and intellect to continually strive to make the Laker organization better for current and future players. Craig and John O'Keefe met each other in that first Minor Atom 95 year and became friends. John would be very proud to know that Craig is receiving an award in his namesake." (April, 2012)

2011 Award Winner - Hugo Maaskant

 Mackinley O'Keefe (left) and Lakers President Kevin Nicholson (centre) congratulate Hugo Maaskant as he's presented with the award.

"This year’s deserving recipient of the John O’Keefe award probably doesn’t need much of an introduction to our older teams. He has been involved with the Lakers for many years. He has done any task asked of him, as if it was the most important job to be completed. He has served as a trainer or assistant trainer for five years, had two terms as President, two years as Chair of Hockey Operations and also served a year as past president. I'd also like to mention that the last time he served as president prior to accepting the position he stated at the meeting he would fill the role as long as nobody told his wife. Hugo, you have always been there to help in any possible way... volunteering your time in whatever capacity was needed. Ladies and gentlemen please allow me to present this year's John O’Keefe award to Hugo Maaskant." (April 6, 2011)

2010 Award Winner - Scott Pettigrew

Lakers President Kevin Nicholson (left) and Mackinley O'Keefe (centre) as they present the award to Scott Pettigrew.

"Scott Pettigrew has been a member and supporter of the Lakers for upwards of ten years, starting from when his son Tom played and then continuing on for many years after Tom moved on. Over the years, Scott has been an executive member, a head coach, an assistant coach, a coaching mentor and an emcee of our annual banquet. He has always been there to support and make the Lakers a stronger association and his contributions in many areas of the association are truly appreciated." (March 30, 2010)

2009 Award Winner - Julie McConnell

Lakers President Hugo Maaskant with award recipient Julie McConnell as she accepts the award from Mackinley O'Keefe.

"Julie's approach to volunteering mirrored that of John O'Keefe: volunteering for things not too many other people wanted to do, always putting a lot of effort into the task and doing it well, never drawing attention to themselves, and above all... always leaving people feeling better about themselves. Julie has been on the Lakers Executive for 4 years and has been one of the most reliable, involved volunteers. She has headed up the Lakers Brand Committee (one of the busiest committees) with absolute competence. As well as taking care of all the Lakers Gear, Julie was the main organizer of the Lakers Orientation Days, Lakers Days and year-end banquets and completed this all with great efficiency." (April 8, 2009)

2008 Award Winner - Dave Dykxhoorn

The O'Keefe family (Shelley with Kailey, Riley, and Mackinley) along with award winner, Dave Dykxhoorn.

"Dave Dykxhoorn has been a parent volunteer for most of the twelve year history of the Lakers. He has served in various capacities on team staffs for which his sons Brandon and Brock have played. Dave was also a leader on the Executive for several years and was one of a group who transformed the Huron-Perth Lakers from a loose collection of individual teams into a real organization where uniformly high-caliber programs were offered to every age category from Atom to Midget. To this day, he still has the passion and belief that the players deserve to have a first-class experience while in a Lakers uniform and that many benefits will come to the player and to the organization by maintaining that standard." (April 11, 2008)
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