Hockey Canada Century Tour
The Hockey Canada Century Tour came back through New Brunswick and wrapped up its NB visit on March 8. This time through the tour stopped in Dalhousie, Bathurst, Tracadie-Sheila and Moncton.
To help celebrate the 100th anniversary of Hockey Canada, and celebrate Canada’s game in general, the Hockey Canada Century Tour is visiting communities from coast to coast to coast, bringing with it a fully-interactive hockey experience.
To celebrate the ‘behind-the-scenes’ individuals who contribute to the success of sport in Canada, Canadian Tire along with Hockey Canada have recognized one Hero of Play at each community stop.
NB’s Heroes of Play:
Moncton - Ray Gibbs and Blair Brooks
You’d be hard pressed to find two men who have done more for minor hockey in Moncton than Blair Brooks and Ray Gibbs, who have combined to give close to 80 years to the game, and have a long relationship with the Moncton Flyers of the N.B./P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League.
Blair and Ray took different paths to Moncton; Blair played at a young age and got involved as a coach when his kids played, while Ray was a fifth-round draft pick of the California Seals in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft and had a three-year pro career before returning to New Brunswick.
Once back in his home province, Ray jumped behind the bench as a coach, served as president of the Moncton Minor Hockey Association and had a seat on the province’s Minor Hockey Council for a short time.
Both have shown a passion for developing young players across the province, and Blair has served as general chairman of the Monctonian for the last 25 years, but their biggest influence has been with the Flyers.
Ray started with the team as a goaltending coach in 1985 before returning in 1993 to take over as manager, a position he continues to hold, while Blair has been the team’s president since the early 1990s.
Both men are true ambassadors for the province and the game, and continue to tirelessly give their time to not only Moncton, but to players and minor associations across New Brunswick.
Tracadie-Sheila – Charles Albert
He’s been a coach, a manager and an executive with the Tracadie-Sheila Minor Hockey Association. Over the last 30 years, Charles Albert has become one of the faces of hockey on the Acadian Peninsula.
The father of three has been a pioneer of women’s hockey in New Brunswick, working tirelessly to develop the female game across the province; he was chair of Female Council for Hockey New Brunswick for a number of years, and has sat on the HNB Board of Directors.
He continues to serve as vice-chair of the North Shore Minor Hockey League, works with female high school hockey in the province, and is still a director for the TSMHA.
Despite not having children involved in the game anymore, Charles continues to leave his fingerprints on hockey in Tracadie-Sheila, and across New Brunswick.
Bathurst – Brian Chamberlain
Close to 40 years after his father-in-law asked him to “help out” with the Bathurst Minor Hockey Association, Brian Chamberlain is still behind the bench.
For 36 years Brian has been a fixture at almost every level of the game in Bathurst, coaching teams in Atom, Peewee, Bantam and high school, and has spent time at the national level, as an assistant coach at the 1991 Canada Winter Games.
Today, he’s passed his love of coaching on to his sons, including youngest Bradley, who leads the Bathurst High School boys’ hockey team with a little help from dad.
Brian has his High Performance certificate from the National Coach Certification Program, and has worked since the early 1990s as an instructor for the Coach certification.
He has also been a contributor on the ice, spending 10 years with Hockey New Brunswick under-15 and under-16 development camps, and the last 35 years as an instructor and coordinator with the BMHA pre-season hockey school.
Brian is still an active player, taking to the ice at least twice a week, and skates with both of his sons – on the same line – in the annual Bathurst High School alumni game.
Dalhouse – Bobby Frees
As Bobby Frees nears 40 years of involvement with minor hockey, there isn’t much he hasn’t done, and there aren’t many he hasn’t impacted, and that’s a testament to his passion for the game, and for Dalhousie.
Bobby first stepped behind the bench in 1976, beginning a successful coaching career that saw his teams reach six provincial finals and two Atlantic championships over more than 20 years.
He also gave his time on the ice, spending 17 years working as a minor hockey official without taking payment, while also officiating senior hockey and high school at the same time. Bobby did it all in senior hockey; in addition to officiating, he also played for eight years, and coached for four more.
His true passion has always been developing young players in Dalhousie. During the 1990s he ran a local hockey school – “Bobby’s Boot Camp” – and in 2010 co-founded the North Shore Elite Hockey School.
He’s also volunteered at the provincial level, sitting on Hockey New Brunswick’s Hockey Development Council for 10 years, and spending eight more with the ROC, organizing courses for Speak Out, coaching and safety.
Bobby found time to serve as president of the Dalhousie Minor Hockey Association from 1994-99, and was technical director with Dalhousie-Charlo Minor Hockey from 2006-10.
For more information about the tour:
About Century Tour - http://www.hockeycanada.ca/en-ca/Corporate/About/History/Century-Tour/What-to-Expect
Century Tour schedule - http://www.hockeycanada.ca/en-ca/Schedule?k=century%20tour&fd=06/26/2014&td=06/30/2015