It has been smooth skating for the Shelburne Minor Hockey Association with Mike Fazackerley in the rink.
Since taking on the role of president — an unpaid position — the hockey dad of three is helping to influence positive change and has helped improve morale, according to SMHA’s coach in chief Tom Robbins, who nominated Fazackerley as this month’s Hometown Hero.
“Mike is helping to encourage real positive spirit to the organization and has made going to the rink exciting and fun again,” said the father of two. “He brings a breath of fresh air to our board and an unrelenting desire to improve the experience for all of our members.”
Prior to Fazackerley’s presidency, Robbins — who joined the SMHA four years ago — would describe the organization as being a less than fun place to be at times.
“The rink just wasn’t always a happy place to be,” he said matter-of-factly.
Nowadays, the atmosphere is anything but icy. Instead, it’s operating like a well-oiled machine and the result is happier hockey fans in Shelburne — a small town located on the northwestern edge of the Greater Toronto Area.
“We all enjoy seeing each other and the atmosphere is very relaxed,” noted Robbins of the SMHA’s board that is made up of hardworking, dedicated volunteers.
“We all have the same goal in mind and that’s to continually better the hockey experience here in Shelburne.”
As a hockey dad himself, Robbins is appreciative of the increase in member communication that Fazackerley brings to the association and the focus the board has placed on advanced notice of game and practice scheduling.
“The last few years, knowing when you were practising meant checking our website daily… It was just a crapshoot,” said Robbins. “Our board’s goal was to get rid of that and now we know two months in advance where we have to be — that’s meant a lot to our hockey families!”
Additionally, Fazackerley has been an asset when it comes to raising much-needed funds for the association. Just this past year, he encouraged the SMHA to launch a fundraiser called the Cash Calendar — an endeavour that resulted in collecting a net of $10,000 and putting the association in a stronger financial position to meet future needs like replacing the balance of worn and tired jerseys.
“We had money for about five sets donated to us a few years back, but the rest of our jerseys are about seven years old and in pretty bad condition,” said Robbins, who is responsible for managing equipment. “There are some real rough and tumble ones out there and we need to be able to replace these real soon — and that’s about a $20,000 endeavour.”
When asked how he felt about being nominated a ‘Hometown Hero,’ Fazackerley admitted he was “pleasantly surprised.” He was also quick to take the spotlight off himself and shine it on the rest of his team who he said “makes the real difference” in the SMHA.
“It’s always nice to be recognized, but any positive influences I might bring to our association are the results of collaborative efforts,” said Fazackerley. “Any thanks or recognition is really due to my colleagues on the board, our referees, the volunteers that make up our bench staff and especially our parents and guardians. I believe that their influence is the real key to ensuring a positive and fun experience for all our players. I’d like to extend a very sincere appreciation to everyone who participates to make Shelburne hockey a possibility.”
Despite already having a full-time career as the vice president of a marketing agency, Fazackerley never grows tired of the countless hours he logs at the arena.
“It’s all about the kids — watching them develop, play and especially having fun is the most rewarding aspect of being involved. When I hear ‘I can’t wait to play again next year,’ I know we’re keeping on the right course.”