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Making a difference: Hockey volunteer approaching 50 years of service
Larry Jeeves has been involved with minor hockey in B.C. for nearly 48 years.
Jeeves, who grew up in Port Coquitlam and moved to Penticton in 1992, is looking to reach 50. When asked why, he joked that he wasn’t sure.
“It just seems to be an anniversary that I should aim for,” said Jeeves, 74. “After this year I won’t be eligible to run for the Canadian senate. I guess I may as well stay in hockey.”
A retired B.C. Tel employee, Jeeves made his first impact in minor hockey in 1966 when he moved to 100 Mile House. They didn’t have an association so he formed one with a few other people, calling it the Cariboo Minor Hockey League.
Teams played in outdoor rinks. Among his duties was preparing the ice for a new season, officiating and coaching.
Throughout his time in the sport, Jeeves has filled just about every role, including vice-president and president. He has been involved with hockey associations in Nelson, where he spent 10 years and Williams Lake, where he was commissioner of the Peace Cariboo Junior League.
He also helped bring junior B hockey in the Cariboo with the Williams Lake Mustangs, which then transferred to junior A in the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League. That team faced the former Penticton Vees.
One of the things Jeeves enjoys about volunteering for hockey is seeing the kids he watched play at rinks with their kids.
“That’s kind of one of the rewarding sides of things,” said Jeeves, Penticton’s referee-in-chief.
“People coming up and seeing you at the rink and saying ‘hello.’
“Seeing the grandchildren of players that we’ve had.”
As referee-in-chief, Jeeves enjoys watching referees improve.
“The 12-year-old comes in as a raw rookie. At the end of the season they have the professionalism that we expect in our referees,” he said.
“Seeing the growth of the youngster is really gratifying to me.”
Bruce Judd, president of Penticton Minor Hockey Association, said Jeeves is very thorough in the work he does.
“We’re lucky to have him,” said Judd, adding Jeeves would be a great candidate for the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame’s Dunc Jamieson Award for dedication to — and the enjoyment of — the game of hockey.
“Administration is a detailed job. That’s his strength.”
Jeeves never played hockey, but even though the closest rink was in New Westminster, every two years he would go there and skate on the frozen pond for a couple of weeks. Skating, Jeeves admits, was his downfall as an official.
“My skating wasn’t what it is now,” he said, adding that the training wasn’t good either.
For the good things that Jeeves has done, he credits the support of his staff and those who oversee officials’ schedules which includes Joe Fries, Ryan Consolo and Alex Gardner.
“Don Matier should be rewarded for the amount of work he does,” said Jeeves. “It makes me look good.”
In his time helping minor hockey in Penticton, Jeeves is proud of the award received from B.C. Hockey about five years ago for referee development.
“The group that I had did a hell of a good job,” said Jeeves of what it means. “Because they give me the award, it’s really theirs. Don Matier was a large part of that. My first go around as our RIC in Penticton.”