Stratford, ON - ALLIANCE Hockey is pleased to announce that Kevin Gardner
ON) has been named the recipient of the 2020-21 ALLIANCE Hockey Volunteer of
the Year award.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR – KEVIN GARDNER, LONDON JR. KNIGHTS
Watch the full video here!
Kevin Gardner began coaching with the Greater London Hockey Association, specifically the West London Hawks prior to joining the London Jr. Knights organization as a coach. He then became a Board Member, assuming the position of Atom Convenor for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons. Since the 2009-2010 season, Kevin has held the position of Vice President of Hockey Operations for the London Jr. Knights.
Kevin is a true leader, respectful of rules and regulations and of all players coaches and staff. He is relentless in his commitment to the players in the London program.
So many current and former Jr. Knights wished to provide tributes and accolades for Kevin, including those below.
Congratulations Kevin on this well-deserved recognition!
Thank you to Pro Hockey Life for your support of the ALLLIANCE Hockey Awards Program.
“So, Kevin’s love of hockey began as a kid when he played the game and was fairly good (so he says) but did not get a chance to play at a higher level. He began coaching at age 25 or 26 when a friend of ours asked him to help him coach his boys at West London who were probably 10 or 11 at the time. We did not have kids of our own at that time but he was happy to help out. He is always so happy to see those boys today, now grown fathers with their own kids in hockey and some have even become coaches. They seem to always have good things to say about “Coach Kevin”. He did this for several years until those boys graduated from the system. When we had our own children, he and another friend began coaching the boys at Tyke/TimBit hockey. As our own children grew, he took turns between the boys and coached each of them at different age levels at West London Hockey. In fact, the friend he initially coached with for so many years joined him as assistant coach when our son Patrick moved to the Forest City Hockey League. During his time coaching at West London, he also joined the Board - always with the intent of making things better for the kids. There were many evenings when he was at the rink; either at a hockey practice or a Board meeting. As our oldest son moved up in competitive hockey to play with the Jr. Knights, Kevin continued to coach our younger son at Forest City. He was always adamant that our kids had to make the team on their own merits and, wouldn’t coach their team until they were well established. He gave up coaching in 2009. Lots of hard work, many hours away from his family but also many great memories of our own boys learning the game, making friends, and growing up. He still loves the game and still has the same passion at making things better for the kids coming through the system."
Tammy Storring, Kevin’s Partner.
“Kevin, you have made the London Jr. Knights organization the success it is today. Thank you!”
Pauline McCallum, President, London Jr. Knights
“I’m so happy that Kevin is being recognized for his outstanding commitment to our community, and the continued growth of minor hockey in London. Thank you, Kevin and congratulations on this very well-deserved award.”
Drew Doughty, London Jr. Knights Alumnus and current NHL Player, Los Angeles Kings
“Kevin has been a dedicated and tireless leader within our organization for many, many years.
He has earned a reputation for hard work, integrity, and, above all else, for being committed to the lucky boys and girls in our organization.
He is a shining example of what it means to “give back” and to work hard for the benefit of others. In that sense, he makes the other volunteers around him better. His level of care and his high standards become the benchmark for others working with him. This, in my view, is the hallmark of great leadership.
I was so happy to hear about Kevin’s award. And while his humility is likely to cause him to feel uncomfortable by this attention, he is so deserving of this recognition.
Congratulations Kevin. It’s such a pleasure to volunteer along side of you.”
Damon Hardy, Volunteer, London Jr. Knights & GLHA Coach
“On behalf of the London Knights Alumni Foundation we would like to congratulate Kevin on being named the ALLIANCE Hockey Volunteer of the Year. The London Knights Alumni Foundation has worked with Kevin to promote the sport in the City of London since our inception. Kevin has been focused on offering the athletes in the Junior Knights organization the best possible minor hockey experience. His professional approach to his responsibilities makes it a pleasure to work with him on our mutual goals. The London Knights Alumni Foundation are proud of our association with the London Jr.. Knights and Kevin Gardner - a true ambassador of the sport.”
Rick Doyle, President, London Knights Alumni Foundation
“Kevin has likely dedicated as many hours into minor hockey as he has into his business. He spends countless hours at the rink, as well as countless hours on the phone or email for hockey, both the good and bad aspects, but he never complains. This season, due to the pandemic, was particularly difficult, as everybody had questions. His opinions on all things hockey are valued by the Board, coaches and parents - a testament to the experience he has and respect he has earned.
He was instrumental in creating the Drew Doughty London Junior Knights U10/U11 AAA Tournament in Support of Ronald McDonald House. He asked if the Junior Knights could rename their Atom Tournament using Drew’s name. We and Drew needed no time to reply with a resounding ‘yes’! His vision and hard work just on that tournament has allowed it to grow into one of the most attractive tournaments for that age group.
You will also find him at the rink watching all Junior Knights age groups, assessing the players and coaches.
His knowledge of hockey is immense and we are grateful for all he gives back to the community through local hockey and our own Ronald McDonald House. We couldn’t be happier for him to be awarded for his exemplary contributions. Congratulation Kevin!”
Paul and Connie Doughty, Volunteers & Parent Alumni, London Jr. Knights
“Kevin’s commitment and dedication to minor hockey is second to none. The amount of time Kevin volunteers to the London Junior Knights and to the ALLIANCE, all while owning and operating his own business, is remarkable.
We first met Kevin in 2015 when our son was playing for the London Junior Knights. We didn’t know anybody on the Board, but he had been out to watch our son’s team play and approached me (Mason’s Dad) after a game. I remember thinking to myself after we spoke how nice it was to know we had Board Members who truly cared about the kids playing the game they love.
Now, as a Board member myself, I still see Kevin leading our organization and doing what’s best for our members. His sacrifices are not for himself or for any sort of recognition, but merely to make London a premier place to play hockey.
His countless hours and devotion to a game he loves only supports and justifies him receiving the ALLIANCE Hockey Volunteer of the Year award. There truly is nobody who works harder in minor hockey than Kevin Gardner. Congratulations on a well-deserved award!”
Greg and Shan Millman, Volunteers & Parent Alumni, London Jr. Knights
“Congratulations on being presented with the ALLIANCE Hockey Volunteer of the Year Award. I have to say that I am not surprised. From when you first appointed me with the London Jr. Knights Minor Midget Head Coaching job in 2010, I could see your passion for the development of young hockey players and your commitment to the London Jr. Knights brand. This award recognizes the countless hours of effort, dedication and caring you put into the City of London and ALLIANCE Hockey. You have given your own personal time away from your family and made a huge impact on so many young hockey players, coaches, and staff’s development in this great game. I am truly grateful for all you have done for me and my family. You have had a resounding impact on my current career in Hockey and helped me live my dream of working in the hockey industry full time. You truly are a great person that we are all lucky to have involved in our lives and I could not be happier for you to win this award. Enjoy the honor my friend.”
Rob Simpson, Associate General Manager OHL London Knights & GLHA Coach
In any one of the many, many years that Kevin Gardner has given his time, energy and attention to the London Junior Knights, the Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario, and our wonderful game of hockey, he would have been a very deserving recipient of the “Volunteer of the Year Award”. So, I am delighted to know Kevin is now being recognized for his outstanding contributions over the past decades. Although he has, for years, successfully filled a high-profile role in one of North America’s most successful minor hockey programs, it has never been about him. In fact, Kevin seems to like it best when people at the rink do not even know who he is. That is the mark of true leadership. It is not about the role – it is about the goal. Kevin quietly, calmly, and unselfishly does what he does for the good of the game and especially for the benefit of the kids who play it. To Kevin, success is measured by the lessons that are taught, the skills developed, the friendships fostered, the memories created, and the self-esteem engendered through involvement in a great sport and a great organization. Congratulation on all your past successes Kevin and best of luck leading the London Junior Knights over the next few decades!”
Kevin Egan, Past President, London Jr. Knights