Barb Levere probably won’t miss the 4,000 plus hockey game sheets that have occupied her each year for the last 15 hockey seasons, as she expects she will continue to have plenty of her favourite sport to keep her busy.
Saturday, June 4, at the annual general meeting of Hockey Eastern Ontario, (HEO, formerly known as ODHA), Levere was elected HEO vice-president, and she will now take her considerable knowledge and experience to the top ruling body of the sport here in Eastern Ontario.
Levere first volunteered in hockey when her son Anthony was playing in the South Dundas Association (then known as Morrisburg and District). That was a few years ago, she says with a chuckle as she prepares to head into her 28th season.
For the past 16 years, Levere has been the District 1 Chair for the Upper Canada Minor Hockey League which is the governing body for nine minor hockey associations (including South Dundas) with 178 teams. In 2014, she took on the added responsibility of President of the Upper Canada Cyclones AAA Association and president of Zone 1.
Her weeks over the 16 years sometimes saw upwards of 60 volunteer hours divided between work at home, attending hockey games (she tried for two per week) and meetings. Work at home included perusing 75 hockey game sheets daily which when added up at the end of a season totalled well over 4,000.
Attending the HEO annual general meeting at Algonquin College in Ottawa, on June 4, as the District 1 chair, Levere had no idea she would leave the meeting with a new position.
It came about when HEO vice-president Ron McCrostie of Richmond stepped up to fill the HEO president position which had become vacant. That left McCrostie’s vice-president spot open.
“That’s when our president (HEO Minor which was formerly ODMHA) called a caucus and asked if anyone was interested in running for the vice-president position. I waited, but no one expressed interest,” says Levere.
“I thought it over. I am one of the longest serving District Chairs, and I have a lot of history and experience. So I thought that would give me a lot of knowledge to go to HEO.”
While Levere knew she would one day like to move up to HEO, she didn’t realize how difficult it would be to say goodbye to some very longtime volunteers that she has worked very closely with at the District level.
“I am not just leaving hockey acquaintances, I am leaving friends.”
“Once I took the position at HEO, I had to give up my District Chair and my position with the Cyclones. But I know Ron [McCrostie]. He is a good solid guy. I have worked with him in the past, and I am looking forward to working with him now.”
The fact that the HEO provides governance to some 30,000 hockey players in Eastern Ontario is a bit overwhelming, but Levere is undaunted by the huge responsibility.
“I am only there for the kids, not for anyone else. I am really looking forward to this. We do the policies for the kids, that’s why you have to be there for the right reasons.”
And since the election, and her emotional goodbye to the District people, Levere has spent hours reading up on her new responsibilities and the issues at the HEO level.
She has discovered the HEO president has a minimum of 10 job responsibilities. “As vice-president, I have 15 different things that I will be doing.”
The vice-president responsibilities include, but are not limited to Appeals and Discipline, chairing the Governance Committee and sitting on the Finance and the Risk and Safety committees,
“Risk and Safety is a big port folio now because there are so many things that can become issues,” says Levere.
Much of her work can be done from home, but meetings will require travel to the HEO headquarters in Ottawa.
As Levere continues to read and prepare for her first meeting coming up this week, she says she expects her past experiences and knowledge will help her to get through it all.
She says too that she is looking forward to attending her first Hockey Canada Meeting. “It will be very interesting to see what happens at Hockey Canada meetings which can be held anywhere in Canada.”
Hockey Canada is the ruling body for Hockey in Canada. HEO is one of 13 branches of Hockey Canada and one of three Branches in Ontario. HEO Minor (former ODMHA), the Districts (Eastern Ontario) and the Associations within the Districts fall under HEO.
This includes the Ontario Hockey League, the CCHL (Jr. A and Jr. B), the NCJHL (Jr. C), HEO Midget AAA, OEMHL (AAA, AA and A level) and the OBMHL Rep B.