By David F. Rooney
What does it take to be an unsung hero? Well, if you’re Shawn Bracken you have to be the kind of guy who quietly dedicates himself to minor hockey as a coach and referee.
Shawn’s the kind of guy who sees a need and sets about to fill it. He doesn’t make a big deal out of the 25-35 hours a week he puts in; he just goes and does it. So how did he become one of Canada’s Top 100 Unsung Heroes?
“My neighbour, Tanya Secord, knows about all of the stuff I do and nominated me for it (through Kraft Canada’s Top 100 Unsung Heroes contest),” he said in an interview on Monday, February 23.
So how much time does Shawn dedicate to Revelstoke Minor Hockey? Try at least 25 – 35 hours each week as a coach and referee. That’s a substantial amount of time. He has been coaching for three years and reffing for two. Here’s a list of what he does:
- Revelsoke Minor Hockey’s novice coach;
- RMHA referee;
- Chief Referee;
- Organizer of the Grizzly Hockey School;
- Organizer of the Floor Hockey League;
- Coach for the Revelstoke Skating Club’s Pre-Power Skate program;
- Power Skate coach;
- Assistant for the CanSkate Program;
- Men’s Hockey player for Emo’s Oilers;
- Referee; and
- Referee in Chief.
That’s a lot of volunteer responsibility for which Shawn earned a plaque, a moment of fame in the local media and a $2,000 donation in his name by Kraft to Hockey Canada’s Skills Development program.
A life-long hockey player himself — he played with the Grizzlies over 20 year ago — Shawn sees real value in his volunteerism.
“I don’t want to see the game die out in our town,” he said.
Minor hockey die out in Revelstoke? That’s not impossible. The RMHA is down to one team per category where five or six years ago it had at least double that. Then, too, there is the matter of setting a good example for his own children.
The 41-year-old property manager and his wife Kathy, who is very proud of him, have two kids — nine-year-old Jackie who loves figure skating and six-year-old Brodie who enjoys playing hockey.
“I think you should always give back,” he said. “I think volunteering it worth it and I get to watch my kids grow and learn.”
Shawn said Revelstoke Minor Hockey wants to offer a road hockey series at the Forum this summer. The arena may be little large for that, but the RMHA is considering the purchase of a wall that can split into two parts. As if road hockey isn’t enough on his plate, he said he wants to help coach Minor Baseball this summer, too.
But before he even gets to that he has to skate through the Men’s Hockey League semi-finals at the Forum starting on Tuesday, March 3, at 9 pm, and Wednesday and Thursday at 9:30 pm with the final being played on Saturday, March 7, at 7 pm. Attendance is free at all of those games.