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.
2022 – 2023 Regional Volunteer Recognition Award Winners
Aaron Rome – Brandon Region
Aaron has a wealth of experience in hockey, having played five seasons in the WHL, followed by a professional career playing over thirteen years in the AHL and NHL. After retirement, he joined the Brandon Wheat Kings serving one year as an assistant coach before leaving to pursue a career in farming.
Farming has allowed Aaron the extra time and freedom to focus on his family. He and his wife Adrianne have two kids, 13-year-old Grayson and 11-year-old Logan, who participate in a variety of sports and activities in Brandon, including hockey.
Aaron began coaching minor hockey to be apart of his kids’ experiences as they started playing the game at the U7 level. He has since served as head coach at the U9 AA, U11 AA, and U13 AA levels. Drawing on his broad range of experience, Aaron has been committed to the fair play and development of all the players he coaches. Aaron recognizes that he could not perform his coaching duties effectively without the help of all the other hockey parents who volunteer their time on and off the ice.
Jason Zulyniak– Central Plains Region
Jason Zulyniak is from St. Eustache and has been volunteering in minor hockey for nine years. Jason began coaching at the Under-7 level with the St. Eustache Jets and has coached at the U9, U11, U13 and U15 AAA levels.
Jason served as the Vice-President of the St. Eustache Minor Hockey Board from 2014 – 2019 and presently serves as the President of the Starbuck Hockey Academy. Jason was the McDonald Hockey – Central Plains liaison from 2019 – 2021 and currently serves as the Director of Male Hockey for the Central Plains region. Jason also serves on the Hockey Manitoba Development committee.
Jason is a tireless volunteer and tremendous resource for many coaches in the Central Plain region. Jason is passionate about skill development and ensuring each player has a memorable hockey experience for all ages and abilities.
Jen Hoffman – Eastman Region
Jen is a dedicated individual whose passion for both hockey and community service has made a lasting impact in Eastman. Throughout her 20 plus years, she has held countless roles as a volunteer and displayed an unwavering commitment to young players in the region.
Jen is in her 20th year on the Eastman Minor Hockey Board, currently serving as our Regional Administrative Representative. Jen has sat on both local and regional hockey boards chairing numerous provincial championships, regional all-star games and regular league play.
For years, she has also been a driving force behind the scenes, working tirelessly to ensure that the local and regional teams run smoothly. She has managed association minor hockey teams at every level following her own young players along their journeys.
Jen’s enthusiasm and tireless dedication to her countless roles have not gone unnoticed. Her exceptional leadership skills have enabled her to bring together volunteers, coaches, and parents across Eastman. Her ability to balance her own passion for hockey with her commitment to giving back is a testament to her exceptional character and selflessness.
Carrie Gottfried – Interlake Region
Carrie lives and breathes hockey. Her husband and son are both referees and she spends countless hours driving her daughter from Gimli to Stonewall to play hockey. Not only does Carrie never complain, she thoroughly enjoys watching her kids enjoy a sport they love.
Carrie believes hockey should be fun for all ages and abilities. She volunteered to take the position of Secretary for Interlake Minor Hockey without knowing the efforts that would be required. Carrie’s time-consuming efforts are instrumental to the success of the Interlake Minor board.
Carrie thrives on attention to detail while arranging all meetings, managing Interlake’s website, and creating and sending out all league correspondence.
Nic Campbell– Norman Region
Whether it is registering players, coaching multiple teams, organizing travel, fundraising, or being the President of Nelson House Minor Hockey, Nic Campbell does it all. Nic is always juggling players, coaches, officials, parents, and arena staff to organize games. He knows every player, their parents, and guardians, and how to reach them.
Nic often drives players home to and from practice and he runs all the practices for each team. Nic has lived and breathed hockey in NCN for as long as he has been in the community. As a head coach, Nic’s dedication to his athletes is second to none and he has won several championships with his teams.
While his accomplishments are significant, the respect and admiration he receives, and deserves, from the players, their families, and the other team’s coaches is special. Nic also volunteers his time with the volleyball and basketball teams at the high school in Nelson House which he organizes through the school itself, and the teachers there, but many of those teachers wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for the hard work that Nic puts into recruitment and retention of staff.
Jennifer Elder– Parkland Region
Jen Elder has a super busy schedule managing three children (Hannah, Cooper and Seth) and running two businesses, but on top of that she always finds time to volunteer. Jen has been part of the Grand Plains Minor Hockey Board for four years as the treasurer and she is always the first one to step up to help sort jerseys and goalie gear.
Jen manages the Rink Camp canteen, organizes power skating camps, runs multiple fundraisers, organizes pancake breakfasts, chairs tournaments, and much more. Jen also volunteers for many other community events, such as managing baseball teams, Grandview’s Homecoming/ Mudbog programming, Grandview Rec Commission fundraisers, Grandview school hot lunch program, and she was a member on the Nursery School Board.
Jen loves to participate in the “Parents vs the Players” wind-up games at the end of the season. She can’t skate well and her head doesn’t fit in most helmets, but she always makes it out on the ice between the posts to let in 25 goals. It is moments like this that truly shows a persons character. The kids will remember moments like this when they look back to their hockey career, and it is thanks to her. Her heart and pride for her community out weighs her time, but in some amazing way she figures out how to fit in all in.
Perry Russell- Pembina Valley Region
Perry began playing hockey at a young age at the local Clearwater arena and his love of the game and his natural talents were assets to all teams that he played on within the Rock Lake region. Perry has enjoyed coaching numerous minor hockey teams over the years and coached the Pilot Mound Pilots of the Tiger Hills Hockey League to five consecutive league championships.
Perry has worked with the Pembina Valley minor hockey board for the past eight years, supporting and promoting hockey in addition to taking on the role of U11 Convener for the region. Perry believes in the importance of giving back to his community by sharing his time, talents and energy. He was the Clearwater Rink Board president for 23 years. He is also a member of the Clearwater Sports Club, the Clearwater Foundation Board, and the Clearwater Museum.
In addition to his involvement in hockey, Perry is also a talented baseball player who along with his Clearwater teammates was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014. Perry, his wife Lisa and his son Caelan operate a mixed grain and cattle farm in the Clearwater area.
Frank Bennett – Westman South Region
Frank Bennett has been Westman South’s Secretary Treasurer for the past eight years and has served on the Souris Minor Hockey Association Board as an executive for three years. Although not visible, he has contributed in the background to the development of hockey in the Westman South region.
Bennett has managed many minor hockey teams and development programs. His commitment and contribution to the development of the game has been outstanding. Bennett is a tireless, behind-the-scenes volunteer and a go-to resource for many individuals in the Westman region.
Mike and Marion Segal – Winnipeg Region
Mike and Marion Segal have been volunteering in the Winnipeg region for two decades. Mike first started volunteering when he was in his mid-20s as a coach.
Once Mike and Marion had children, Mike was asked to join the Transcona Minor Hockey Association (TMHA) board as the House League Director roughly 16 yrs ago. Mike was also the AA Director for two years.
Mike was the President of TMHA for 12 years. He volunteered in many aspects of the game, whether it was tryouts, playoffs or wherever help was needed. After that, he joined the Hockey Winnipeg Board as the VP of Novice (U9) Hockey for two years. Since 2021, Mike has served as the VP of AA Hockey for Hockey Winnipeg.
When Mike first became the President of TMHA, there was a position open for Ice Director and he asked Marion if she would like to take on the position. Marion has now held that position for the last 12 years, Marion also volunteers her time with tryouts, skills camps, playoffs, etc. She has also been the Ice Director for the SBMHA/TMHA AA Railcats for about 10 years and she has been the Ice Director for the WEFH female program run out of SBMHA /TMHA for the last six years.
Shelly Nichols – Yellowhead Region
Shelly Nichols has been a huge contributor to local sports in the Yellowhead region. She has been apart of hockey for many years, whether it was manager of her son and daughters minor hockey teams, or managing high school hockey.
Shelly was on the Onanole Minor Hockey Board and the Minnedosa Minor Hockey board in various positions. Until more recently, she has been part of the Yellowhead Hockey regional board as Female Vice Director for the last eight years, and was on Female Council with Hockey Manitoba for eight years. She was also instrumental in the start up of the Female U15 AAA team in Yellowhead. Shelly has been manager on the U15 and U18 Female AAA teams for the last seven years.
Shelly has not only volunteered with hockey but all other sports her children have been apart of. Shelly did all of this while working full time as a nurse in Dauphin and volunteering on numerous boards through work.