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Fort Macleod Minor Hockey names Curran Volunteer of the Year

Trevor Curran received Fort Macleod Minor Hockey’s new Volunteer of the Year Award from Abby Friesen. The award is named for Abby’s father, Merv Friesen.

Trevor Curran is the inaugural recipient of a new award honouring volunteer service to Fort Macleod Minor Hockey.

Minor Hockey presented the Merv Friesen Volunteer of the Year Award on Oct. 2 during the awards night at Fort Macleod and District Community Hall.

“Merv truly embodied the volunteer spirit and lived it,” presenter Brian Vandervalk said. “He believed in making hockey fun for the kids. He loved nothing more than having fun out there.”

Curran has coached Fort Macleod teams for about 18 years, this past season with the Midget Mavericks.

When Fort Macleod Minor Hockey decided it wanted to honour a Volunteer of the Year, it was an obvious choice to name the award after Friesen.

“I’m grateful to be presenting this award,” Vandervalk said. “For many of us, (Merv) was the face of Minor Hockey in Fort Macleod.”

Friesen, who died last year, first started coaching his younger brother in 1975 and continued as a coach and volunteer for 25 years.

Vandervalk recalled that Friesen eased his own introduction to hockey.

“He was such a loving and caring guy, you could just tell right away,” Vandervalk said of his former coach.

Friesen influenced hundreds of young people as a coach, and also served as president of Minor Hockey and the Fort Macleod Recreation Board.

Friesen scheduled tournaments, co-ordinated the referees, set up the time clock and sold 50-50 tickets — anything that needed to be done to keep Minor Hockey running smoothly.

“He was integral in the lobbying to get the new arena in place in 1976,” Vandervalk added. “He often said the best years he spent were being part of Minor Hockey.”

Friesen would create a nickname for each player, and would make plaques along with a year-end program at his own cost.

Friesen spent hours writing Minor Hockey reports for The Macleod Gazette, and working the phones to book teams and arrange tournaments and schedule referees.

“His attention to detail paid off,” Vandervalk said. “As players we grew to love the game because of the hard work Merv put in and because he cared for all the right reasons.”

Vandervalk said the life lessons learned from Friesen have served his former players as parents and volunteers.

Minor Hockey president Natasha Haluck said the board canvassed the association’s older players, as well as parents and coaches, for nominations.

The selection of Curran as the first recipient was unanimous.

“I was flooded with nominations,” Haluck said. “And every one of those nominations was the exact same individual.”

The nominations praised Curran as a positive force with a calm presence who pushed the teams forward.

Curran encourages his players to keep pushing, never give up, and not to get down on themselves.

In addition to encouraging players to improve each time on the ice, Curran shared life lessons that will be valuable throughout their lives.

The nominations noted that Curran puts in extra time to make them and their teams better, and always exceeds their expectations.

The nominations said Curran is well respected and made an impression with his dedication to their teams.

A former player described Curran as approachable and respectful, made the game enjoyable and demonstrated a love of the sport.

“I can’t think of a more deserving person for this award,” Haluck said.

The award caught Curran off guard.

“I deeply appreciate the nomination and the kind words,” Curran said.

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