22 Individuals Recognized at OHF Awards Banquet

22 Individuals Recognized at OHF Awards Banquet

Date: Jun, 28, 2022 03:00 PM EDT

This past weekend the Ontario Hockey Federation held it's first OHF Awards Banquet since 2019, recognizing 22 Award winners in-person for the first time in almost 3 years. The banquet saw winners from the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 categories recognized for their years of service on and off the ice.

Prior to the pandemic at the conclusion of each season, the OHF hosts its annual Awards Banquet to recognize individuals' outstanding contributions to the game. While it was apparent through recipients messaging that each individual hadn’t entered into volunteering in and supporting the branch for the recognition that comes along with doing their job so well, the OHF would not be able to provide the game of hockey to its 250,000 members without their tireless support and effort.

The 2019-20 Winners included:

Bill Richmond Award Jim Mercer
Dr. Allan Morris Award Joe McColeman
President's Award John McCutcheon
Volunteer of the Year Award Claude Desjardins
Order of Merit Award Richard MacDonald
Officiating Award Brad Upton
Staff Award  Patty Micolino


The 2020-21 Winners included:


Stephen Surcon - NOHA

Stephen Surcon has been involved in hockey since he was 5 years old and has since done everything associated with the sport, including officiating, playing, and coaching. He started coaching at age 16, where he is still involved today. In 2014 he began delivering coach development clinics as well as the NOHA’s high-performance program which has previously sent teams to the OHL Cup. 

He has coached all levels of minor hockey and for the last 10 years he has coached at Timmins Minor Hockey. One of his fondest on-ice memories include leading the Timmins North Stars U13AA team to back-to-back OHF Championships in 2016 and 2017.  As well, Stephen was recognized by the NOHA when he won the Rick Albert Award for Development in Northern Ontario, an award he is most proud of not for the trophy but for the acknowledgment.


Neil Skirving - OMHA

Neil Skriving started coaching in 1969 by accident, when he dropped his neighbour’s son off at the rink and found there was no coach to lead the team. Since then he has coached at a variety of age groups. Neil began instructing NCCP between 1974-2014, where he would travel across the province on weekends to instruct. In 1981 he obtained his NCCP Level 5.

In 1987 Spike McConnell invited him to a Development Committee which eventually saw him join the the OMHA as a Technical Director in 1991 where he stayed for 6 years. After the six years, Neil returned to his NCCP instructing and coaching, which allowed him to continue to develop coaches and programs. On top of his coaching career, Neil was Technical leader at Stoney Creek Minor AAA from 1991-1999 and later worked with the Hamilton Jr Bulldogs as a Technical Leader.

He would go on to become President of the Bulldogs for 6 years and for the last two seasons, has been Vice President.


Ken Smith - GTHL

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, Ken moved to England in 1969, joining Bank of Montreal in London, England in 1971, which is where he met his wife Sandra.  They married and had two sons Niall, born in 1976 and Alastair, born in 1978.  A job transfer for Ken saw the family move to Canada in October 1983, settling in Mississauga.

Having grown up in the UK, Ken had no exposure to hockey until relocating to Canada.  However, not too long after arriving, both sons expressed an interest in playing hockey and competed until their late teens at both the house league and “A” levels.  Ken’s volunteer involvement in hockey began in 1990 when he became the Team Manager for one of his son’s teams. 

From there he progressed to the Board of Directors of Applewood Hockey Association in Mississauga and then to the Board of Directors of the Mississauga Hockey League where he undertook several roles, culminating in being President from 2000-2005. In 2005, Ken was elected to the Board of Directors of the GTHL and is currently its First Vice-President.  He acts as Chair of the GTHL’s Rules and Policy, and Team Allocation Committees and serves on a number of others.  He also serves as a member of the Ontario Hockey Federation’s Minor Hockey, and Registration Committees.


Jeff Bulmer - OMHA

Jeff Bulmer has spent 40 years on-ice as a participant and official, mostly working in the Minor Hockey space including with the Hockey Canada Regionals, OHF and OMHA Championships.

In 1991 he became a Supervisor and Clinic Instructor for both the GTHL and OMHA concurrently, spending 20 years with the GTHL and continuing on now with the OMHA. He has taught at both GTHL and OMHA Referee Schools, spent 15 years as a Coach and Trainer and has served as the OMHA Regional Manager of Officials since its inception in 2015.

Jeff and his wife share a mutual passion for the sport of hockey, where he proposed to her during a Saturday/Sunday assignment for the OHF Championships. 


Tim Foster - OHF

Tim Foster began officiating in 1968 at the age of 10. Since then he has officiated in the NOHA, OHA, OMHA, OCAA and OHL and has officiated at numerous levels including Regional, Provincial, World Hockey Challenge and Team Canada exhibition games.

Some of Foster’s career highlights include becoming a Level 6 Official and mentoring officials into higher levels of hockey. He finished his officiating career in March of 2022 with a whopping 11,000 games to his name.One of Tim’s fondest memories on ice includes Refereeing five games at the World Junior B Pool in Slovakia with a local linesman (Lee Rose).

Tim remembers the European officials were amazed how calm the Canadian officials were. He explained to them that they called more penalties in one Junior game at home than they did in the whole tournament. He also credits his success to the mentoring he received from supervisors and fellow top level officials, especially one time OHF Referee-in-Chief Ken Miller who still mentors officials.


Adam Morell - NOHA

Adam Morell started playing hockey at the age of 5 and played consistently until he took up officiating at the age of 16. He recently finished his 16th season as an on-ice official and hopes to continue his officiating journey for a long time to come. In 2013, Morell was hired by the NOHA and is still an integral part of the team today, as an Officiating Program Coordinator.  

Some of his favourite memories include officiating a U16AAA game in the GTHL that featured Connor McDavid, officiating the 2019 U18 AAA Central Region Championships and receiving his Member High Performance. Adam sees his career in hockey as a fortunate progression to his own father’s career in hockey as well, and cherishes all the relationships he has made in the sport so far.


Angel Barbisan - NOHA

Angel Barbisan grew up in a family that loved hockey. Although she never played, it was her son that got her more involved when he began playing at age 7. She began volunteering with the Sault Major Hockey Association in the summer of 2007. At that time, her son was committed to playing hockey and she committed herself to the same, but as a Registrar for the association, a position that she still holds today.

Every year presents new challenges and new experiences in her position. Along with her regular duties as a Registrar, she has organized league games, and elite team tryouts, worked on various tournaments for her association, and even helped develop program guidelines and chaired the discipline committee.

Wherever you need her, she can help fill in! Angel has gained many friendships and memories during her time in hockey and is immensely proud of her son’s long commitment to the sport they both love.


Ted Baker - OHL

Ted Baker finished his playing career in 1985 and began coaching house league straight after with the Saint Bonaventure Hockey Association. In 2006 he started coaching with the Markham Waxers and has done so at every level with the club. He concluded that part of his career in 2019, but currently continues to mentor the Waxers at various levels.

He began his professional career in hockey by volunteering In 1986 and eventually joined the OHL in 1988 as a Director of Information, moving on to become the Director of Hockey operations as well as the Referee in Chief prior to becoming OHL president.

Despite a long and rich career in hockey, it’s the family ties of the game that he cherishes most, such as being coached by his father in the late 60’s early 70’s, and now being a father of two boys who love and play the game, as well as seeing his oldest son be drafted into the OHL.

The 2021-22 Winners included:


Tim McWhirter - OMHA

Tim McWhirter started playing hockey in Parry Sound at the age of 4, playing Minor Hockey until the age of 17. He began coaching to give back when he was 22, helping Barry “Hawk”  Tabobondung with the JR A Shamrocks.

From there, he helped coach numerous teams at Parry Sound Minor Hockey including Championship teams with Paul Borneman and Rick Thomas. Tim has also been an OMHA NCCP Coach Facilitator and Hockey Canada Instructional Stream instructor for around 15 years. 

Some of his favourite on-ice memories include being on ice when he son first started playing Minor Hockey in 2008, supporting Hockey Canada’s Junior Team selection camp in 2011 and 2015 and being apart of the team that brought the Hockey Canada Summer Camp to Parry Sound - just to name a few! 


Mark Zizek - GTHL

Mark Zizek started playing hockey in 1964 when he was just 7 years old. He became interested in the sport after watching a neighbour play in their local arena. During high school, Mark played for the varsity team and went on the play hockey at St Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. 

Soon after, he put his hat in the ring to coach, and the rest is history. Since then, Mark has coached for the past 46 years. He has coached children from age 4 -18 in the OMHA, GTHL and MHL.

Some of his favourite memories include reaching the finals at the OHF A Championships for Applewood Hockey Association and leading the Applewood Timbits on ice at the Maple Leaf Garden during the first-period intermission.


Albert Corradini - NOHA

Albert Corradini has always been a diehard hockey fan, but became involved in the sport because his son played the game.

During his 20 years as a volunteer he sat on the Board of the Sudbury Minor Hockey Association, volunteered with the OHF on various committees for 15 years and even co-authored successful and winning bids to host the Central Regional Championships and TELUS Cup. He currently serves as the Commissioner of the Great North U18 AAA League. On top of this, Albert has served as Manager for a handful of the teams his son has player for including his time as General Manager for the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves from 2008-2018.

During his time in hockey he has created many great friendships, and has been involved in successful hockey programs. He is most proud of The Nickel Capitals representing the NOHA at 5 Central Regionals and representing the OHF at the TELUS Cup in 3 events. 


Marshall Copp - Alliance

Marshall Copp first became interested in officiating at the age of 13. It was in 1975 when he started on-ice with the London Referee Association doing house league and rep hockey games. From that point on Marshall officiated plenty of Junior games and was ultimately selected to join the OHL as a linesman in 1980. 

He worked 3 seasons with the OHL and then returned to the OHA until 1990, all while continuing to officiate Minor hockey with the OMHA. In 1993, Marshall joined the Alliance Hockey as a Supervisor/Instructor of Officials and in 2010 became the Technical Director of Officiating where he still serves today.

Marshall has served as an official in the Alliance, OMHA, OWHA, WOAA, OHA, OHL and has loved every minute of the last 46 years in hockey.


Chad Houben - Alliance

Chad Houben grew up playing hockey in the Rotary and Minor Hockey system in Stratford, Ontario. It was in 1995 when he began officiating and has since officiated at the OHF and All-Ontario level.

After attending college and aiming for a career in sport, Chad started working with Alliance Hockey in 2006 and is still currently with the team as a Development Coordinator. Being one of the team members at Alliance Hockey is one of Chad’s most precious accomplishments in his sporting career alongside being a proud hockey Dad of Jack and Emma who recently learned how to skate.

Hockey-wise, one of Chad’s favourite moments came from being able to sit in on the Stratford Referees Association Board as a Co-Chair for their 3-on-3 tournament which raised money for an injured official and provide donations to the Heart and Stroke, Crohn’s & Colitis Canada and the MS Society of Canada as they affected members of our association in some way.  


Donna Babcock 

The Lambton-Kent Memorial Arena became a part of Donna Babcock and her family’s in 1958. Her husband Keith operated a concession booth at the arena which saw all members of the family work at the booth.

The Babcock's grew up around the Dresden Junior Kings after the team was formed in 1962, attending Friday night games, doing fundraising and staying involved in the community however they could. During their years in hockey, they saw many hockey celebrities come in for tournaments including Wayne Gretzky as a 12-year-old, Gordie Howe and his two boys, as well as Fergie Jenkins during the off-season.

Over the years there have been many highlights and memories that Donna cherishes. The latest of these being the statue of Ken Houston installed in front of the arena in April of this year.  


Dr. Tim Rindlisbacher

Hockey has been the centre of Tim Rinlisbacher’s life for 54 years - from age 3 on frozen Lake St. Clair in southwestern Ontario to his current three times weekly men’s league play. As the youngest of four hockey-mad brothers, Tim wanted to emulate the speed and skill of my older siblings.

He feels that Hockey has fundamentally allowed him to become a dedicated sports medicine physician and a cooperative healthcare teammate. In 1998, as a fairly rookie physician, Tim was grateful to Don Cherry and his IceDogs ownership group who gave him the opportunity to be their team doctor that inaugural year. Though the franchise changed, he still works at the same barn after 23 OHL seasons.

Across his career, NHLPA work, Paralympics 2010 Sledge Hockey coverage and several national team gigs including World Junior Championships emerged organically for him. In 2020, Tim’s medical and hockey background combined in response to the global COVID 19 pandemic, where he became the OHF’s, Chief Medical Officer.