As the 2012-13 hockey season winds down, the family of the late Ronnie Casselman remembered their father with bursary presentations made to two Morrisburg Junior B Lions and a Ron Casselman Memorial Fund presentation to South Dundas Minor Hockey’s Initiation Program.
On hand at the arena last Thursday to make the presentations were Ron’s children Kim, Kevin and Krista.
First up were the little folks of the South Dundas Minor Hockey Initiation program. On hand to accept the Memorial Fund presentation was Initiation Program convenor Matt McCooeye with coaches Steve Morrow and Bob Fetterly.
They were joined on the ice with this year’s Initiation program players.
“We are proud to make a presentation on behalf of the Ron Casselman Memorial Fund to the Initiation program of the South Dundas Minor Hockey Association in the amount of $500,” said Kevin Casselman in a press release. “Dad’s vision and objectives were very similar to those of the program.”
The Initiation hockey program was developed to make children’s first contact with hockey a safe and positive experience. It enables participants to become contributing members of a team effort, develop self-confidence and experience a sense of personal achievement. These goals are achieved in an atmosphere of fun and fair play.
“Dad believe that learning the basic skills at a young age to be so important, because it allows the children to skate more, make more passes, take more shots on net and have the puck on their stick more than in any game, and while having fun!”
“How a player gets that first taste of hockey is crucial,” said Kevin. “If the beginner has fun, developing the basic skills and building confidence, there is a good chance that the players will go on to enjoy hockey for many years, and one day become a Morrisburg Junior Lions (evenfor a short time) before further advancement.”
Ron Casselman, a lifelong resident of the area, passed away last November 13, 2012. Greatly respected in the local community and the hockey community, he exemplified what small town hockey teams are all about. For many years he coached boys and girls in the minor leagues, and in 1980, he purchased the Morrisburg Junior B Lions. During his 32 years with the club, he earned the respect and friendship of all those he met.
At the time of his death, friends and family made donations to the Ron Casselman Memorial Fund and it is these contributions that provided last week’s donations.
In addition to the presentation to the community’s minor hockey program, the Casselman family awarded a pair of $250 bursaries to Morrisburg Junior B Lions players Ryan Cooper and Sam Hodgson.
Goaltender Ryan Cooper has been with the Lions for a number of years.
“Ryan has always been such a positive kid, and now he has grown into this wonderful young man,” said Kevin. “He has always accepted situations that were out of his control and learned to be patient over the years. When he was told he wouldn’t be playing, that it wasn’t his game to play, he sat on the bench encouraging the guys. He has learned over the years to be tolerant, disciplined and confident and to always be dedicated and to respect others.”
“Hockey has never been just a sport for Ryan,” said Kevin. “It’s his passion every time he hits the ice. It’s helped him grow up with good social skills and taught him to interact with his peers. Ryan is definitely a team player and has always supported his teammates no matter what the situation was. Now it is time for him to move to the next chapter in his life with hopes of working with the police force.”
In making the presentation, the Casselman family also applauded the Lions longtime goalie for his volunteer work. This included working with young goaltenders in Valleyfield, Quebec during the summers of 2009-10.
He has also worked with the elderly at the St. Joseph Continuing Care Centre in Cornwall.Currently in a school placement with the RCMP, Ryan will attend St. Lawrence College in the fall in a Police Foundations course.
Joining Cooper to accept a bursary was Jr. B Lion Sam Hodgson, who says Casselman “plays the game with passion. Sam’s contributions and commitment to the hockey club goes deeper than stats. He understands the meaning of ‘sticking up for your teammates’ as an important part of creating the proper team cohesion while wearing the Lions gold and blue.”
“We had some young players who needed to know that people had their backs,” said Kevin. “In order to create a tight-knot group, they needed to know that guys were there to stick up for each other. Sam stepped up and was that teammate.”
A Morrisburg boy, Hodgson combined his hockey this past year with his schoolwork in the Police Foundations program at St. Lawrence College.
“It is with great pleasure that we make these $250 bursary presentations to Ryan and Sam,” said Kevin.