2021 nvw ohf noha joe mccoleman en

A veteran volunteer voice

For close to five decades, in a variety of roles, Joe McColeman has been a pillar of the Northern Ontario hockey community

Lindsay Morell
April 19, 2021

A long-time volunteer, Joe McColeman began coaching more than 45 years ago, eventually getting behind the bench for his sons’ hockey teams. But he didn’t stop there. It’s been over 25 years since his sons graduated from minor hockey, and Joe is still at the forefront of the sport in Sudbury.

Joe has worn many hats over the years: coach, director and (currently) president of the Nickel District Minor Hockey League. He has also volunteered for other events, such as the Special Olympics and Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Campaign. Most recently, he was the manager of operations and manager of volunteers for the 2018 TELUS Cup, Canada’s National U18 Club Championship.

If anyone knows about volunteering, it’s Joe McColeman. He shared his thoughts on volunteering and what we can all do to draw more people into the game of hockey.

Joe calls convening the Nickel District Minor Hockey League “a labour of love,” and it’s easy to see how much hockey has become an integral part of his life. Through his position, he makes schedules, runs tournaments and playoffs, and, most importantly, attends hockey games.

“At the end of the year, if the kids are happy, that’s what we want,” he answers when asked what fuels him every year to keep stepping up.

Other positives are the friendships built every season through the kids, parents, coaches and administrative volunteers. For him, getting involved isn’t just about giving back, but about being part of the driving force behind hockey, shaping the game to be more competitive, more developmental and more fun.

In 1975, Joe got his first coaching job at the age of 19. He sees this age group as the key to becoming the next round of dedicated hockey volunteers. “The young hockey players want to get involved and help out because of their love of the game,” he explains. “There’s a lot of satisfaction involved, whether it’s volunteering for hockey or the Red Cross.”

After more than 45 years of volunteering, Joe has built a lifetime of great memories. One of his favourites is his recent success as manager of operations for the 2018 TELUS Cup in Sudbury.

“That was a big commitment,” he explains. “Everybody on the management side had big jobs to do.”

He relied on the help of many volunteers to put together the massive event. “There will be lots of work, but it is rewarding. You will be happy about it,” he says. “It’s good to get involved.”

In minor hockey, volunteers are the backbone that keeps the sport running. Joe McColeman is the spine of the Nickel District Minor Hockey League. His hard work and determination have been the foundation of many a league season or tournament. The Northern Ontario Hockey Association would like to salute him for everything he has given to the game of hockey.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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