A longtime Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association volunteer and its current president was recognized with the organization’s lifetime achievement award earlier this month.
Mike Rispin said he was honoured, and surprised, to receive the accolades during the association’s annual general meeting held May 4.
Rispin began volunteering with WLMHA when his son, Derek, began hockey in 2008 at the age of five, and carried on when his daughter, Melissa, started playing, as well.
He has taken on many positions within the WLMHA, including past president and vice-president. He has also worked as the north central discipline co-ordinator with BC Hockey.
His current run as president, which he undertook during the start of the 2020/21 season, has seen him navigate the association smoothly through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s pretty cool,” Rispin said of the honour. “There has not been very many of us that have stuck around, especially on the board level, long enough to think about it [a lifetime achievement award]. I don’t really know of anybody who’s been honoured this way. I was definitely surprised to have it come down in my honour.”
In 2019/20 Rispin was also awarded the Harry Buchanan Award for volunteer of the year.
And while he said he’s devoted countless hours to the association, it’s all been for the love of the sport, and providing youth an opportunity to enjoy it.
“You have to have a love for it,” he told the Tribune during a previous interview. “I love watching the kids play, and watching hockey, but also dealing with problems, solving things and making things work.”
Rispin said he’d like to thank his wife, Shelley, for supporting him over the years.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without her — that’s for sure,” Rispin said.
At its recent AGM, Rispin once again accepted the presidency of WLMHA after being nominated by a fellow board member to carry on in the role.
A new executive was also elected, which Rispin pointed out has several new faces, and is as follows:
• President: Mike Rispin
• 1st Vice-President: Dustie Coombes
• 2nd Vice-President: Chris Ford
• Secretary: Amy Hunt
• Treasurer: Robin Ford
• Returning directors: Leah McAllister, Tammy James, Jenny Huffman and Tanis Rosa
• New to the board: Karlee Brown, Jeremy Foster, Lance MacDonald and Ryan Hatt
“Thank you for all that put their name forward to get kids on ice,” Rispin said.
“It’s that simple.”