Hockey Manitoba identifies ten (10) recipients annually for the Regional Volunteer Recognition Awards from each of its ten (10) regions as nominated by representatives from those regions. The purpose of these awards is to recognize outstanding commitment and significant contributions to the game of hockey in Manitoba.
2020-21 Regional Volunteer Recognition Award Winners
Ryan Caswell – Brandon Region
Ryan Caswell joined Hockey Brandon 11 years ago when he began coaching his oldest son Kalum in 2010. Ryan has also coached his youngest boy, Lukas, who is entering into his Minor year in the U13 division.
Ryan joined the Hockey Brandon Board in 2016 in the role of the Under-13 Director and then moved into the position of Vice President of Brandon League Operations which he still holds to date. Ryan brings a calm and steady voice to this role and during his time in this position he was instrumental in creating Hockey Brandon’s Rep Tryout Procedure Guidelines. Since the inception of these guidelines, it has provided a non-conflicted method when it comes to Rep team selections.
When he is not at the rink, Ryan wears many hats, one of them being the Owner of Optimum Construction. Ryan also helps his wife Jenn with the maintenance and upkeep of JRC horse boarding stables.
Nancy Funk – Central Plains Region
Nancy Funk is from Portage la Prairie and has been active in hockey for 15 years at numerous levels. She sits on the Board of Directors for the Manitoba U18 AAA Hockey League and has been the manager of the Male U18 Central Plains AAA Capitals for the past five years. She has managed minor hockey teams for over 15 years within Portage Minor Hockey (PMHA) from U6 all the way up to U18 AAA.
Nancy has organized numerous minor hockey tournaments (including Hockey Manitoba Provincials) and has spent the past six years as an ice scheduler and as a member of the Central Plains Board.
Nancy volunteers locally and is involved with Arron’s Chance 2 Play Hockey program to provide opportunities for disadvantaged families. She also sits as President of the Portage Minor Baseball Association.
Ken Kutzak – Eastman Region
Ken Kutzak has been dedicated to Eastman Minor Hockey for over a decade as both a coach and a Director. Ken has also served as President of Landmark Minor Hockey.
Ken has spent countless hours with Eastman’s players, parents, officials, volunteers and Minor Hockey Associations helping them with the development of minor hockey.
One of Ken’s top accomplishments as Director of Eastman was bringing U13 (Peewee) AA to the region as well as growing the number of female teams.
Ken has attended countless Hockey Manitoba and Eastman AGM’s, regional meetings, summer summits, and monthly meetings and has also spent enormous amounts of time in arenas across the Eastman region, watching hockey and talking with parents all in the name of developing the game of hockey in the Eastman region.
Ken has been happily married to his wife for 34 years. They have two boys Travis and Bradley and one grandson Beau.
Amanda Halldorson – Interlake Region
Amanda Halldorson began her volunteering career in 2009 with Lakeside Minor Hockey. This is where she would become involved with Hockey Manitoba.
Amanda started by coaching various minor hockey teams and then from 2010-2019 she was the treasurer for Lakeside Minor Hockey. This position started her involvement with Interlake Minor Hockey.
You will often see Amanda in her community volunteering on several different boards within the Lundar community.
When you don’t see Amanda volunteering, she loves spending time with her husband Kevin, their 3 children and 2 grandchildren.
Harvey Bolton – Norman Region
Harvey Bolton has been involved in officiating for 50 years. He was Hockey Manitoba’s Referee-in-Chief for five years (1997 – 2002) and was Norman’s Referee-in-Chief from 1991 to 1997. Most recently, Harvey has been the Referee-in-Chief for Flin Flon Minor Hockey and is currently Norman’s Regional Referee Coordinator ( 2017- 2021).
Harvey is a great asset to the Norman Region who has done a fantastic job of helping many officials become certified. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Harvey has been a calming presence in his region and has kept officials informed about everything from clinic information to the latest health and safety protocols. Harvey is an excellent communicator who works hard to ensure that all officials receive the best opportunities to succeed.
Harvey is always willing to volunteer when he can even if it is not directly concerning officiating and he is a great sounding board regarding other concerns in the Norman region. Harvey has a great Twitter account and forwards a lot of great information regarding officiating, hockey, and occasionally country music.
Ryder Rodriguez – Parkland Region
In 2019, Ryder Rodriguez began working on a scholarship project in partnership with the True North Youth Foundation to help raise money for kids to play hockey in the Parkland region that may not have otherwise been able to afford it. Ryder held various charity events (bake sales, barbeques), sold raffle tickets, 50/50 tickets and eventually raised enough money to sponsor two male players in Ste. Rose and a female player in Dauphin for the 2019-2020 season.
Ryder, 10, and his family created an application process and spoke to teachers and principals to find deserving families for the assistance. Once the applicants were selected the $1000 scholarship (per player) covered registration fees, tournament fees, and travel costs.
Ryder’s project needed additional help with equipment, so he reached out to the Dauphin Canadian Tire who donated a starter pack that consisted of hockey tape, mouth guards, hockey socks, and sock tape for each player Ryder sponsored.
Ryder also created a project called Beanies for Preemies in 2019 that helped raise almost $2,000 and 426 knit hats for premature babies that were donated to the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg.
Matt Bestland – Pembina Valley Region
Matt Bestland was the President of the MacDonald Minor Hockey Association before joining the Pembina Valley Board in 2010.
Matt has volunteered on the Pembina Valley Minor Hockey Association board for 11 years. He started in 2010 in the capacity of Novice Convenor, in 2014 as Vice Director and Bantam Convenor. Matt took over as the Director in 2018 and continues to serve in that capacity.
Matt has been an advocate for the recruitment of female players and development of female programs and has strongly supported teams and players when faced with trauma to seek resources to support them.
During the 2020 – 2021 season, Matt supported the region with continuous communication and updates. He initiated a PVMHA payback of all regional fees to Minor Hockey Associations and worked to support fee reimbursement for officials.
Matt lives near Brunkild with his wife, Anita where they have three children – Hannah, Everett and Abby. He is a business owner and pilot, specializing in forestry protection and agriculture application.
Denis Decroliere – Westman South Region
Denis Decroliere started skating at four years old and he has been involved in hockey ever since. Denis is currently the Referee-in-Chief for Oak Lake Minor Hockey Association.
Oak Lake Arena was Denis’ home away from home growing up and at 17 years old, he took on the responsibility of coaching a girls hockey team, which he enjoyed, very much. It was his first coaching position. At the same time, he started the Caretaker position at Oak Lake Arena.
While going through cancer treatment at Health Sciences Centre, his eldest son, Justin worked at the rink and Dad helped run it from his hospital bed. When Denis’ boys started playing hockey, he was there as a coach and as a parent.
Denis sat on the board for the rink from the time the Senior Oak Lake Bruins were formed and he is still there today. He was President of Oak Lake MHA for many years and was passionate about minor hockey in his community. As the current Referee-in-Chief for Oak Lake Minor Hockey, Denis is always encouraging young people get involved in officiating.
Dwayne Schmidt – Winnipeg Region
Dwayne has been involved in minor hockey in Winnipeg for over 20 years, highlighted by his 10 year stint as President of the St. James Assiniboia Minor Hockey Association from 2008 until 2018.
Upon completion of his role with SJAMHA, Dwayne remained on the Executive of Hockey Winnipeg by being elected as an Officer in the Role of Vice-President of A Hockey. As an example of Dwayne’s commitment to minor hockey, he attempted to retire in April 2021 but when nobody stepped in to fill his position, Dwayne committed to another year of service right away.
Dwayne is always willing to chip in wherever help is needed, which is demonstrated by his involvement on the Hockey Winnipeg Appeal Committee and the Rules & Regulations Committee. Dwayne has been involved in many programs over the years, but he took special pride in the Dianne Woods and Lindsay Tait Memorial All Star Games.
Brent Brennand – Yellowhead Region
Brent “Moe” Brennand of Elkhorn has been a huge contributor to minor hockey in the area for many years. Brent has been involved in all aspects of the game, serving as Coach, President of Elkhorn District Community Centre and West representative for the Yellowhead Region to name a few.
Moe can be found at the ball diamonds in the summer and at the rink in the winter, fixing anything from the Zamboni to toilets. It’s people like Moe that set the standard for fellow volunteers to shoot for, the contributions of volunteers like Moe are what allows small town sports programs to not only continue but thrive.