What started as a single nomination for an Atom coach from a Trail hockey mom grew into a substantial boon for Greater Trail Minor Hockey (GTMHA).
Greater Trail minor hockey is the recipient of a $20,000 cash prize awarded by the Kraft Hockey Goes On promotion. Kraft awarded $1 million in total cash prizes to 25 minor hockey associations across Canada for recognizing important volunteers in their community.
Trail’s Alison Morrison nominated her son’s Atom coach Ken Koshey in the contest and this humble beginning resulted in the mobilization of a whole community, a frenzied two days of voting, and the subsequent $20,000 award.
Glenn and Debbie Wallace got the ball rolling on behalf of GTMHA, spreading the word through the media, Internet, flyers, and setting up shop in the Waneta Mall to encourage residents to vote in the online Mar. 23-24 poll.
“The most important thing to me that I learned as we went along is getting out what Ken Koshey means to Greater Trail minor hockey,” said Wallace. “It was more important than winning for me. He is the epitome of what I think a coach should be, and I wish we had more of them in Greater Trail minor hockey.”
It was only fitting that Koshey learned of the news when it was announced at the GTMHA Atom and Pee Wee hockey banquet Wednesday.
“It was a really nice response at the banquet last night,” said Koshey from his home Thursday.
“We got notified there and it was a real thrill. It culminated in all the hard work the people had done and it turned out really nice.”
In typical fashion Koshey deflects any praise and lauds the efforts of local organizers, parents, the GTMHA, residents, businesses, and the corporation that started the event as a result of the NHL’s lengthy contract stalemate.
“You can’t say enough about what the people did,” said Koshey. “They did an outstanding job promoting this and in all the things that went on. One of the tendencies is to forget about Kraft, but Kraft did a marvellous thing to sponsor this right across Canada; $1 million bucks is quite a bit of money.”
Five nominees took home $100,000 grand prizes, including Curt Thorne from Golden. The winners were announced on Hockey Night in Canada in the second intermission of the Montreal-Philadelphia game Wednesday night. The 20 runner up prizes were also shown with Ken Koshey’s name as one-of-four Pacific winners.
The fortunate windfall will definitely buy a lot of pucks for GTMHA, and they will likely discuss where best to utilize the funds at their next meeting.
Wallace joked that the money could be used “to train more coaches to be like Kenny Koshey.”
But as far as Koshey is concerned, he is certain the capable GTMHA executive will find a suitable application for it.
“There are some tremendous people running it, it’ll be used wisely,” he said. “But you got to thank the people for voting. They did a tremendous job. You can’t say enough about the people that helped along the way, and it’s great for the kids. It’ll be something we can look forward to in 179 days.”