Hockey Manitoba is saddened to report the passing of former Hockey Manitoba President Brian Franklin after a short illness on May 5, 2022.
From Deloraine, Manitoba Brian was part of the game of hockey in Manitoba for over 50 years. He began officiating at age 15 and eventually attained his Level 5 certification. During his time as an official, Brian had many highlights including officiating the Canada Games in Brandon, games in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, and officiating in two US Division 3 College National Championships.
It wouldn’t take long, however, for Brian to find his place within the administrative side of the game. Over the years Brian managed his son Tony’s hockey teams from U9 to U18. He served as the Deloraine Minor Hockey Association Vice President from 1981 to 1987 before becoming a crucial volunteer with the Manitoba AAA U18 Hockey League. Brian held several positions including Secretary/Treasurer, Referee Coordinator, and President, imparting his knowledge resulting in a major impact on the growth and stability of U18 AAA hockey in Manitoba.
Brian also had a vested interest in the continuation of Senior Hockey within Manitoba. He has served as treasurer for the local Deloraine Royals Senior Hockey Club for 25 years, who won the Hockey Manitoba Senior A Provincial Championship in 2014. Brian became the Senior Director for Hockey Manitoba in 1990 and served on the Board in this capacity until 1997 when he became the Chair of Senior Hockey for the branch.
After over 20 years on the Board, Brian was elected as the Vice President of Hockey Manitoba in 2005, where his focus was on player, coach, and officials’ development. He took an active role and worked closely with staff and volunteers alike to ensure opportunities continued to grow for members through branch development programs.
Brian became President of Hockey Manitoba in 2007 and served as the leader of the organization until 2012. Those years witnessed impressive growth for Hockey Manitoba, and Brian’s forward-thinking, and support of positive change were instrumental to that growth. Brian sat on the Hockey Manitoba Board for an incredible 27 years as well as on numerous committees at Hockey Canada directly involved in several national initiatives over the years. In 2015 Brian was recognized as the first recipient of the Frank McKinnon Outstanding Volunteer Award. Brian is an Honorary Life Member of Hockey Manitoba and in 2021 he was awarded the Hockey Canada Order of Merit for his contribution and service to the game of hockey.
In his personal life, Brian was a teacher for 36 years until 2002 and after retirement continued as a Student Teacher Supervisor for five years at Branon University. He spent 20 years on the council for the Town of Deloraine (1994 to 2014) including 16 years as Mayor. He was actively involved in the community as President of the Deloraine Golf Club and sat on the Executive of the Deloraine Lions Club.
Perhaps even more remarkable than his volunteer time dedicated to the development of the game is his character, integrity, and humility. Brian earned the respect of his peers and colleagues and has always valued good discussion and debate to understand all points of view to move the game forward. He contributed at all levels and was willing to support and assist the branch in any capacity.
Brian was predeceased by his first wife Claudia. He is remembered by his two children, Tony (Val), Carrie (Rod), his current wife Val and 5 beautiful grandchildren.