Trail’s Ken Koshey is surrounded by his supportive Atom team after being honoured with the B.C. Sports Hero award last year. The longtime Trail coach is one of the top volunteers in Canada in the Kraft Hockey Goes On campaign to recognize and reward hockey’s best supporters.

Trail’s Ken Koshey is surrounded by his supportive Atom team after being honoured with the B.C. Sports Hero award last year. The longtime Trail coach is one of the top volunteers in Canada in the Kraft Hockey Goes On campaign to recognize and reward hockey’s best supporters.

Kraft contest picks Koshey

Trail’s Ken Koshey has been involved in hockey all his life and his contributions as coach and volunteer mean a lot to the community.

Trail’s Ken Koshey has been involved in hockey all his life, but little did he know how much his contributions as coach and volunteer could mean to a community.

Koshey was one of 100 “Kraft Hockey Goes On” volunteers selected in its nation-wide contest, and is now in the running to win a $100,000 cash award for Greater Trail Minor Hockey Association (GTMHA).

“I’m thrilled,” said Koshey. “You know when I first got the call, I thought it was pretty nice, but now, wow, I think it’s better than winning the lottery.”

And indeed it just might be. If residents can muster enough support in this weekend’s voting, GTMHA may just be the lucky beneficiary of a substantial prize that resulted because of the NHL lockout.

“We were very pleasantly surprised when I heard,” said GTMHA’s Glenn Wallace. “I talked to Ken this morning, and after talking to him about his experience and his involvement in the program, I mean he’s perfect.”

Koshey was born and raised in Dauphin, Man., where he grew up skating on the prairie ponds before heading west at age 15 to play for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Weyburn Redwings.

Following a tryout with the NHL’s Redwings of Detroit, Koshey made his way to Trail in 1965 to suit up for the Smoke Eaters and to continue playing the game he loved.

Over the years he raised a family, worked at Teck, and in the early 70’s began coaching minor hockey  at all levels, from Atom to Junior, male, female, and co-ed in Trail, Fruitvale, Rossland, and Castlegar.

But he found his niche with the younger players, replacing a fierce competitive spirit with one of support, understanding, and encouragement, with the focus on “having fun” and instilling a positive attitude in all his players.

“The program around here has been good to me and it’s not only the kids, but the great parents you meet, it’s just everything is so positive,” says Koshey. “I love it, I look forward to it, and in fact, I think it’s 181 days  and we’ll be starting again.”

Trail resident Alison Morrison nominated Koshey after her son played on his Atom team.

“It doesn’t even matter if it’s kids on his team, in general he wants kids to have a great experience and I think that’s so admirable,” said Morrison. “And not even just kids, as an adult I find him very inspiring.”

Meanwhile Morrison and the GTMHA is trying to get the word out through social media and other media outlets to generate as much support as possible.

It’s now up to the community to step it up for Koshey and minor hockey by logging into www.krafthockeygoeson.ca during a 48-hour voting period, starting Saturday at 6 a.m. local time, and ending Sunday at 8:59:59 p.m.

The top five nominees each receive $100,000 prizes for their minor hockey associations, while the  20 second prize nominations will receive $20,000.