June 25, 2023

For Immediate Release

Grand Falls-Windsor, NL- Hockey NL concluded their Annual Spring Meeting this past weekend.

The provincial sport organization presented their 2023 Annual Award Winners:

Ray Bowe Award of Merit – Byron Payne

This year’s recipient has been a fixture with the Officiating Program in Labrador West for approximately thirty (30) years. He started in the program in 1978, at the age of twelve. He officiated in the minor system for the next eight years and worked the levels of minor hockey he could as he gained experience. Byron left Labrador City to attend school and upon returning home in 1999, he laced them up again.

Central Minor Merit Award – Letitia Bungay

This year’s winner of the Minor Council Meritorious Award for the Central Region has been a dedicated volunteer the last ten years with Lewisporte Minor. When the ice is down, you’ll always find her at the Mike Austin Arena. She holds either the manager or trainer position in both the minor and female divisions each season. With her love for hockey politics, she has played an active role on Lewisporte Minor executive for 10 years from Director, Female Rep, Vice President and for the past three seasons, President. She lends a hand with various tasks over the year from keeping track of equipment and jerseys, assisting with registration, helping with fundraising, organizing the year end banquet and her most favorite task is to host provincials on home ice.  Many commend her for the time and effort into making sure all the players have placement with a team to play provincials.

Eastern Minor Merit Award – Kim Pelley

The recipient of the 2023 Minor Council Meritorious Award for the Eastern Region is a dedicated volunteer within the City of Mount Pearl having spent numerous years on the executive Mount Pearl Minor Hockey, Mount Pearl, and the Mount Pearl Sport Alliance just to name a few. Kim has spent the past ten years on the executive of the Mount Pearl Minor Hockey Association, spending 6 years as secretary before becoming President for the last four years. Kim can be found actively participating in all events associated with the Mount Pearl Minor Hockey Association including the annual food drive, the annual Cec Stoyles Memorial Tournaments, several house tournaments, and Provincial championships. During Kim’s time as President, she saw the Association through Covid-19, actively supported the return of the U13/U15 AAA programs by providing required ice time and oversaw the revamping of the  Association’s logo and jersey.

Northern Minor Merit Award – Tony McEachren

This year’s winner of the Minor Council Meritorious Award for the Northern Region has been a part of HNL since he was a kid.  Playing minor from an early age and as a member of the Stephenville Jets from 96 to 99 and 2001-02. Tony has filled almost every role as part of Minor Hockey since then. He has been a coach at every level of minor.  He served as president, technical director, director in Stephenville for 1998-99 and in Churchill Falls from 2004-2023. He has stepped up every time he was called on to support the youth in the communities he lived in and to support the game of hockey

Tripen Minor Merit Award – Carol Abbott

This year’s winner of the Minor Council Meritorious Award for the Tripen Region began has been a volunteer with BTMHA for several years and has shared her “helping hand” in many positions within BTMHA. A team manager, registrar, and her latest roll BTMHA president. Carol gives 100% in whatever roll she takes on. One summer she had all the associations’ teams jerseys at her home sorting and cataloging each individual jersey, around 500 jerseys… no small task. Taking on association president during the covid years had its own share of problems & obstacles, but carol navigated her way until the covid fog lifted and the normal association issues would arise again.

Western Minor Merit Award – Monique Organ

This year’s winner of the Minor Meritorious Award for the Western region was born and raised in Isle aux Morts, NL. Her childhood was filled with the love of sport and activity, participating in whatever was available to her. Though hockey has been a love since she can remember, spending hours watching it and playing it in gym class and on her backyard rink, it would be later years before she ultimately began her playing career. Her daughter turned 4 in Jul 2016, and that marked the start of Monique’s volunteer/coaching career. Since that time Monique’s been an active coach in the minor and female programs (she has her D1 coaching certification), has been a member of CPABMH executive since 2018 (Public relations and 2nd Vice President), was last year’s BFL’s Female coach of the year and has received CPABMHA President’s award for the last 3 years.


Brian Wakelin Minor Executive Award – Lori Keel

This year’s recipient is Lori Keel has volunteered for over 12 years with the Bonavista Trinity Minor Hockey Association.  Her dedication and commitment to the association goes above and beyond. She serves as Vice President and has held this role for the past 7 years.  She has two children, each in a different division, and she has always been a team manager for one and sometimes both simultaneously. She is the coordinator for all Bonavista Trinity Minor Hockey Associations (BTMHA) managers.  She ensures all correspondence is communicated promptly, provides updates, and is there to answer all questions.

Minor Association of the Year – Lake Melville Xtreme Minor Hockey

The Lake Melville Xtreme Minor Hockey Association is home to 300 + athletes from the ages of 5 to 18 years old. We have a continually growing female division which is breaking numbers every season. We are the home to players from Happy Valley – Goose Bay, Northwest River and Sheshatshiu. The LMXMHA operates out of the EJ Broomfield Memorial Arena. A focus of the LMXMHA is giving back to our community and supporting the people and businesses who support us. We have done many things to assist not-for-profit groups, charities, and people in need in the Upper Lake Melville area. We also want to mold this generation to learn the importance of volunteering and giving back. Putting our efforts into teaching our young athletes that hard work should happen on and off the ice. Giving the opportunity to our young people to get involved, help and to support one another.

CJ McCarthy Senior Award – Jonathan Kavanagh

This year’s recipient has been After finishing a long minor hockey career in 2003 Jonathan decided to take some time away from hockey to concentrate on post-secondary school, however he constantly found himself missing the game and ended up in local arenas watching local high school, junior or senior hockey. In 2009 he was approached by then Blues GM David Brazil about joining the Bell Island Senior Blues (Then named Wave) bench staff.

Following the 2013 season Jonathan took the reins as the team’s General Manager, and just prior to the 2014 season he was named acting head coach. During this season Kavanagh’s commitment to the game became quite evident as he signed on as Assistant Coach with the teams Junior affiliate the CBR Junior Renegades along with his coaching and GM roles with the Blues. After a strong season in the AESHL, which ended in the leagues semi-finals, Kavanagh and the Blues president Pat Rose hired a new head coach so Kavanagh could concentrate on his role as General Manager, although Kavanagh remained with the Junior Renegades as assistant coach, a role he would serve in until the end of the 2016-2017 season. At this point, Kavanagh returned to the Blues bench as the team’s head coach for the 2017-18 season, a role he has maintained to this day. In 2018-19 the Blues recorded a franchise best regular season, and Kavanagh was named the AESHL Greg “Birddog” Smyth coach of the year. Since then, the Blues have remained one of the top teams in the AESHL, on and off the ice.

Ron Healey Memorial Award – Stephen Orr

This year’s recipient The selection criteria for the Ron Healey Award outlines five criteria – Stephen meets and exceeds all five. Stephen began refereeing minor hockey in 1995 within the Avalon Minor Association and then the St. John’s Caps Minor Hockey Association. He quickly progressed through the officiating ranks. By 2001, he was refereeing Jr. Hockey and in 2005 he started refereeing Senior Hockey. He is a well-respected referee both on and off the ice. Stephen continues to be actively involved as a referee in the AESHL and is one of the most experienced officials in the League. He has worked numerous AESHL, ECSHL, and NL Senior Hockey League finals, Herder Memorial Championships, the Atlantic AAA Senior Regional Playdowns and the Allen Cup. Very few referees in this Province can list all those accomplishments on their officiating resumes.

Gerry Taylor Memorial Eastern Junior Council Meritorious Award – Steve Gillard

This year’s recipient Steve was the first and only General Manager of the CBR Junior Renegades. The Renegades joined the St. John’s Junior Hockey League in 2010/11. Up to his untimely death this past week Steve was the only GM that the team knew. He was a dedicated member of the Renegades who went above and beyond in his duties as the team’s GM. Steve always greeted you with a smile. His passing has left a huge void in the leadership of the Renegades. He will be missed by all those connected to the Junior League.

Female Promotional Award – Jillian Doyle

This year’s award winner is a math Instructor at Cona.  She has 2 girls ages 9 &10. One is a goalie in girls’ hockey u11 and youngest was forward in u9 girls. Jill was a U7 / U9 director for Female with Gander Minor Hockey! Last season Jill approached me wanting to host a u9 select tournament for female only after her girls being denied the opportunity to play in the minor tournament in Grand Falls-Windsor. With this she was head strong on running her own u9 tournament! She started with 5 teams, a combination of players from associations within the central and Avalon region! It was a great success and got a lot of positive feedback. This season it went even bigger.  8 teams with most having a combination of players from central, western,  Tripen  and eastern zones ! 130 players all together.

Joe Byrne Development Award – Nick Miller

This year’s award winner is the Under 7 and Under 9 program coordinator with Hockey NL and has been a part of the Hockey NL Development Committee since the 2018–2019 season. Nick came up through the Gould’s Minor Hockey Association, which is where he got his first start at coaching. Throughout his coaching career, Nick represented Hockey NL five times, coaching both male and female teams at the Atlantic Challenge Cup, winning the championship in 2015 with the U16 female team. After joining the Hockey NL Development Committee, Nick participated in many coach development weekends across the province mentoring young players and coaches in all aspects of the game. In 2021, Nick completed his high-performance coaching course and is currently one of the coach facilitators with Hockey NL involved in training coaches at all levels of hockey across the province. When Nick is not playing or coaching hockey, he spends his time working for the Town of Conception Bay South as the Director of Recreation and Leisure Services. Nick enjoys spending his free time with his wife, Sarah, and their two dogs. Nick and Sarah enjoy traveling the world and finding new adventures experience.

Presidents Award – Trevor Murphy

The following scholarships were also announced at our Annual Awards Banquet:

2023 Minor Hockey Scholarships:

  • Cian Cole, Lewisporte Area Minor Hockey Association
  • Marcus Hoskins, Bay D’Espoir Minor Hockey Association

2023 Jim Stirling / B.F. Lorenzetti Scholarship:

  • Jack Benson, St. John’s Jr Caps

For more information, please contact

Craig Tulk

Executive Director

Hockey NL

[email protected]