Ken Mills gets nod as minor hockey executive of the year

Dave Kearsey dkearsey@thewesternstar.com
Published on June 16, 2015
Ken Mills of Stephenville, left, accepts his minor hockey executive of the year award from HNL minor chairperson Arnold Kelly during Saturday’s awards banquet.
Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador photo

Ken Mills may be a new face to the minor hockey scene in an executive capacity, but it didn’t take long for his volunteer efforts to be recognized by Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mills, a 41-year-old Stephenville native, was presented with the Brian Wakelin Minor Hockey Executive of the Year Award at the 2015 Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador awards gala in Gander over the weekend.

Mills and his wife Corrine have two boys — Matthew, 12, and Zachery, 13 — registered in the Stephenville minor hockey system and both will suit up in the bantam division when the 2015-16 campaign rolls around.

“I don’t do this for the recognition. I do it because obviously I want to help all the kids,” Mills said Monday.

Mills coached in the system before taking on the role of division director. Then he took on the role of vice-president two years ago and took over as president last year when he ran for the top post after realizing somebody should step up to the plate to help run the local minor hockey system.

He has no regrets about his involvement. He credits his fellow executive members, coaches and parents for playing a role in him winning the award. He acknowledged that he’s not a one-man show so winning the award is a reflection of the support for minor hockey in the airport town.

He was comfortable with the job he did in his first term as president. He believes the majority of parents and coaches were pleased with how things unfolded under his leadership.

“You’re never going to please everyone, but there has been very few issues from anyone so that was a positive sign,” he said.

Mills attended the awards banquet with his Corrine. He hopes to continue spreading the same message for his second term in office when the 2015-16 season kicks off in the fall.

“Treat every division and every kid fair,” he said. “Try to be equal as possible and fair as possible.”

Mills shared the spotlight with a couple of people from this neck of the woods who made a valuable contribution to the game.

Gary Callahan of Corner Brook, a seasoned official who retired after his last game this winter, got the nod as the winner of the Ron Healey Memorial Award for outstanding service to the game as an official.

 Phil Hancock of St. Anthony was winner of a minor hockey meritorious award, while Garry White, general manager of the Gander Flyers in the Central/West Senior Hockey League was presented with the C. J. (Charlie) McCarthy Memorial Award for senior hockey.

Callahan attended the festivities with wife Lynda, daughters Janine and Debbie and 12-year-old granddaughter Shontel.

He spent 37 years, his first official game on the lines back in 1977, as a hockey official and was proud to win an award honouring an official he had the pleasure of doing senior games with back in the ’70s and ’80s.

Callahan takes pride in knowing he had a good rapport with players, coaches and, most of the time, the fans who watched.

He said he just tried to keep the game safe and fair for those involved whenever he went to the rink to do a game.

“They say I left the game with the highest respect, so that’s an honour right there when you can leave the game with the respect of the coaches and hockey players,” Callahan said.