Our love for hockey lies in the hearts of volunteers from coast to coast to coast, looking to share their passion with all Canadians.
Thank you to the hundreds of thousands who give their time to our game, and congratulations to those recognized as national award winners this year.
From her earliest days of minor hockey, Ève Gascon has always had an eye on pushing boundaries and breaking down barriers. For the 17-year-old goaltender, simply stopping pucks has never been good enough. She wants to make history.
Ève burst onto the national scene in 2018 when she made the Phénix du Collège Esther-Blondin, becoming the first woman to play in the Ligue de hockey midget AAA du Québec, arguably the best U18 league in the country. After helping Quebec to silver at the 2019 Canada Winter Games and bronze at the 2019 National Women’s Under-18 Championship, and backstopping Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team to silver at the 2020 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship, Ève broke another gender barrier by debuting with the Collège Français de Longueuil as the first woman to play in the Ligue de hockey junior AAA du Québec.
A leader on and off the ice, Ève has never hesitated to give back to the game, working with young girls across Quebec and going above and beyond to promote the women’s game. And when COVID-19 brought an early end to the 2019-20 season, she found a way to support her community, volunteering at a seniors’ home in L’Assomption, Que.
Where do you even begin to describe the impact Rick Morphew has had on the officiating community? As an on-ice official, instructor, supervisor, master course conductor and contributor to the Hockey Canada Officiating Program (HCOP), Rick is in a class all his own.
From the first time he picked up a whistle in his hometown of Sarnia, Ont., in the early 1960s, Rick has seemingly lived his life in black and white. He progressed through the HCOP to become a certified Level VI official in 1980, working games – including a number of international assignments – until 2009 as one of the country’s most respected referees. He has spent the last 24 years as the referee-in-chief for the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF), helping guide the careers of thousands of young officials, and his knowledge and expertise has helped shape officiating curriculum for every level of the HCOP.
A recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 for outstanding community service, Rick has proudly gone from one end of the country to the other as a national supervisor since 1990, representing Hockey Canada and the OHF at countless national and international events, and proving time and time again why his is one of the most influential officiating voices in the game.
From the rinks of East Hants, N.S., to the boardrooms of Hockey Canada, hockey has shaped Garth Isenor, and Garth Isenor has shaped hockey. As a player, coach and administrator, he has had a front row seat to watch hockey grow in Nova Scotia, and today’s game has his fingerprints all over it.
A goaltender during his playing days, Garth made the move the behind the bench in his early 20s, guiding a generation of players through the East Hants Minor Hockey Association (EHMHA), including a provincial Peewee AAA title-winning team in 2000 as an assistant. He took over as EHMHA president in 1991 and began to work his way up the Hockey Nova Scotia ladder, eventually serving as chair of Minor Council from 2008-11, vice-president of operations from 2011-15 and finally president of the Member from 2015-19, working closely with the Hockey Canada Board of Directors.
Under his leadership, Hockey Nova Scotia admitted the first female hockey association, and started or enhanced programs for new Canadians, para hockey, special-needs hockey and blind hockey. Garth’s goal, as it always has been, was to welcome as many players to the game as possible. Respectful, considerate and insightful, Garth has long been a champion of the game, and of those who play it.
He played the game growing up in Toronto and proudly coached his sons through their minor hockey journey with the Humber Valley Sharks, but it is in the boardroom where Michael Penman has made his most significant impact on Canada’s game.
A skilled lawyer with Blaney McMurtry, Michael first got involved as counsel with the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) in 1979, beginning a relationship that would last 36 years. He joined the GTHL Executive Committee in 1996, the same year he chaired the GTHL Constitution Committee, and rose to join the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) Board of Directors in 2000. Upon his appointment as chair of the OHF Constitution Committee in 2002, Michael led the process to consolidate the regulations of the OHF into one clear and concise document.
His ability to see the practical but achievable approach in the game led Michael to be a leader with the OHF, and in 2015 he took on the position of first vice-president. That ended his full-time affiliation with the GTHL, and he was made an Honorary Life Member. In his final years of service, Michael led a major governance change, spearheading the move to an independent OHF Board of Directors before his retirement in 2018.
If you have ever been involved in hockey in Salmon Arm, B.C. – player, coach, official, fan – then the name Roy Sakaki holds plenty of meaning. Over the last 50 years, Roy has become the heart of the game in the city, earning the moniker Mr. Hockey among locals.
A graduate of the University of British Columbia and a talented player in his own right, Roy arrived in the Shuswap in the early 1970s and got involved right away behind the bench with the Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association. Over the next two decades he coached up and down the association, guiding his own kids and thousands of others through the game. He traded his clipboard for a whistle in the early 1990s and started officiating, and 30 years later he continues to mentor young officials to strive for excellence and not just collect a paycheque.
In 2005, after volunteer stints as coach coordinator and referee-in-chief, Roy took over as administrator for the SAMHA. He is the glue that keeps everything running smoothly, a voice of reason on committees and has a natural ability to diffuse conflict with great perspective and a big smile. His love for the game and gentle spirit shines through in ways only people in his community can fully understand.