You won’t find many credentials not on Allan Matthews’ hockey resume.
The former lakecity resident of 31 years, past chair of Hockey Canada, past Hockey Canada representative on the Canadian Olympic Committee and current treasurer of Hockey Canada, received the Diamond Stick Award June 13 at the BC Hockey AGM and Awards night at Sun Peaks Resort.
The Diamond Stick Award honours an individual who has provided outstanding service to the game of hockey for 10 or more years.
“It was a complete surprise,” Matthews told the Tribune. “I was there at the AGM, they’d rolled out a new governance structure and nobody said a thing. Then, all of a sudden a video came up. It was very humbling to be with some of the other people who’ve got that.”
Matthews’ career in the hockey executive world began in 1976 when he was elected as a Junior B director with the BC Hockey Executive Committee.
Over the next 40 years, things snowballed from there, eventually serving as the chairman of the board for Hockey Canada from 2003 to 2005. In 2008 he was inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame.
The irony, he said, is he never played the game growing up, however, that hasn’t stopped his passion for growing the sport provincially and nationally.
“Growing up the arena in Kimberly where I was from had burned down,” he said. “I couldn’t skate, let’s put it that way. I got involved primarily when I went back to Kimberly for four years.”
In Williams Lake, Matthews worked as a school teacher at what was then Columneetza Secondary School. He also worked with the Williams Lake Recreation Commission and at the Cariboo-Chilcotin Teacher-Librarians’ Association.
Matthews, currently a resident of Victoria, said he thinks fondly of his days living in Williams Lake and working with the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association executive.
“From a hockey perspective I’m proud of the work we went through to try to get the arena built that’s there now,” he said. “And, to get a concrete surface in the second rink.
“I worked with a lot of good people there, and I also enjoyed my time working the scorekeepers box.”
He noted the news of a possible Junior B hockey club coming to Williams Lake floating around the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League is encouraging news for the lakecity.
“I wish them luck,” he said of the committee behind the Williams Lake junior B movement. “It’s always nice when you can keep your players at home instead of sending them away. People have been supportive of junior hockey in the past, and I think people would be supportive now.”