LMHA honours tireless contributor

By Jamie Harkins

June 29, 2017 12:00 AM

The Lloydminster Minor Hockey Association (LMHA) has recognized one of their top stars.
Dawson Eskelsen, 15, was awarded the LMHA Volunteer of the Year award, during the organization’s annual general meeting at the Servus Sports Centre Oilmen’s Technical Society room last Thursday.
Eskelsen received the honour for his tireless work coaching the Pond Hockey and Intro to Hockey programs.
“Dawson is well deserving of his award this year,” said LMHA general manager Darrell Wagner, noting 98 per cent of the Volunteer of the Year nominations came in for Eskelsen.
“Every Sunday morning Dawson is on the ice with our four year olds (for Intro to Hockey). Every Wednesday evening and Friday evening he is on the ice with our Pond Hockey, just giving completely everything that he can so the kids can enjoy learning how to play hockey, and have fun with it.”
Eskelsen spends approximately 12 hours each week on the ice during the winter months helping his dad Chris coach the Intro to Hockey and Pond Hockey programs. He also referees four to six games each weekend for the LMHA, bringing his total weekly on-ice contribution to about 20 hours.
“It doesn’t matter if you’ve never seen ice before, if you’ve never skated, we’ll teach you through,” said Eskelsen about his work with the non-competitive Pond Hockey program.
“What we do is a little bit of drills for 15, 30 minutes, and then for another 30-45 minutes we play hockey.”
Eskelsen said his participation with the Pond Hockey program has lasted for about the past 10 years, while his work with Intro to Hockey started three winters ago. He noted volunteer time spent is not confined to on-ice duties, as there is also a lot of work put in developing a plan of what to teach, but seeing the kids with big smiles on their faces makes everything worth it.
“All of the volunteers, Brent Lowney being Coach of the Year and Rhaelean Hickson being the Manager of the Year, (are important),” said Wagner. “Minor hockey can’t operate without volunteers. There are three paid staff and 3,000 volunteers, so we need the volunteers. This is our way as an association of saying thank you.”
Eskelsen added he’ll be back on the ice this fall when the new hockey season starts, with likely many more winters of participation following.
“When I hit adulthood and if I move away or something,” said Eskelsen, “I’m going to start something like (Pond Hockey) and just spread the joy because I absolutely love doing it.”

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