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Owen Rowe gets third Hockey Leader nomination

Guy Quenneville
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, April 22, 2010

LIIDLII KUE/FORT SIMPSON - This time may prove the charm for Fort Simpson hockey coach and volunteer Owen Rowe.

For the third time since he moved to Fort Simpson in 1988, the longtime volunteer, hockey supporter and co-owner of Rowe's Construction has been nominated by the village's hockey community for RBC Insurance's Local Hockey Leaders Program, an initiative whose chief goal is to recognize the sport's unsung volunteers.

NNSL photo/graphic

Owen Rowe, co-owner of Rowe's Construction and unceasing supporter of volunteer hockey in Fort Simpson, has been nominated once again for RBC Insurance's Local Hockey Leaders Program. - Guy Quenneville/NNSL photo

On April 8, a group of 30 or so hockey players assembled at the village's recreation hall to unveil a sign out front reading, "Fort Simpson nominates Owen Rowe for RBC Hockey Leader 2010."

Nominees are put forward by communities every year in 13 jurisdictions throughout Canada, with the NWT, Nunavut and Yukon comprising the Northern Canada jurisdiction.

The winner in each jurisdiction receives $10,000 for their minor hockey association, a signed Team Canada jersey and the honour of having his name featured in the RBC Local Hockey Leaders display case at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Judging by the accolades being heaped upon Rowe, who began coaching steadily while living in Inuvik in 1985, he stands a good chance this year.

Rowe's nomination package - which was submitted by Chris Hewitt, a Fort Simpson Rec Hockey League executive committee member, and Brenda Moreau, president of the Moosehide Mammas - included this line from Ted Grant, president of Simpson Air: "Owen's tireless enthusiasm about the sport of hockey even keeps me playing the game in our regular hockey league at the age of 61."

Rowe himself remained ever modest about his latest nomination.

"It's very nice. It's not what you do it for, but it's nice to get recognized," he said. "The thing that makes me smile the most is kids that keep playing and ladies that join that have never skated and by the end of the season they're smiling and want to keep going. That's the reward, at the end of the day."

According to Moreau, Rowe is a tad bit too modest.

"Twenty five years of work and not even a thank you? He walks away with a smile on his face. It's the same smile that he walks in with," she said.

Added Ferris, "Local leaders have come forward to describe Owen as a leader in the community who has supported the hockey program in various ways, whether it's coaching or sponsoring.

"I've lived in Fort Simpson over the last five years. If anyone wants to talk hockey or play hockey, you're going to know Owen Rowe."

Tyler Pilling, who plays minor hockey under Rowe's tutelage, was one of several youths who attended the unveiling last week.

"I've played with him for seven years now," he said. "He always has good drills. No matter what, even if he gets injured playing men's hockey, he always makes sure that we have a coach to coach us. If only one person comes out, he'll still come out to coach them."

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