Derek Sager Named 2022 Ron Pelham Award Recipient

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Derek Sager’s dedication to local minor hockey earned him this year’s Ron Pelham Award.

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Sager received the award on April 26 at the Volunteer Appreciation Event at the Cultural and Recreation Center.

Sager, the president of the Vulcan Minor Hockey Association (VMHA), said he was surprised to receive the Ron Pelham Award, an annual lifetime achievement award given to local citizens who demonstrate outstanding volunteer contributions to recreation and culture.

“I got involved because there was a need. I like it,” Sager said in an interview.

He added that the post of president of the VMHA did not seem like a job to him.

But it was an honor to receive the Ron Pelham Award, Sager said.

“Vulcan was just a really good place to raise our son (Darien),” he said. “It’s good to give back.”

Sager said he always enjoyed playing hockey as a child and his son played minor hockey at Vulcan for eight years.

The past two years have been difficult for the VMHA, Sager said. The CAHL season was halted on March 13, 2020, and in 2021 Vulcan teams completed games in December, although they were able to continue training in cohorts.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Vulcan town staff and local councils have been good to deal with, he said.

“They were understanding,” Sager said, adding that he worked with “really good board members.”

On the ice, the VMHA had a good 2021-2022 season. All teams made the playoffs and all but one played for a banner, Sager said.

Kyle Wickstrom, who nominated Sager for the award, wrote that Sager would be a great recipient of the Ron Pelham Award.

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Sager has served on the board of the Vulcan Minor Hockey Association for nearly a decade and served as president for the past six years.

Sager has previously served as the VMHA’s representative at Central Alberta Hockey League (CAHL) meetings as Governor and, in addition to his duties as VMHA President, he is also currently U13 Vice President. of CAHL.

“I was on the VMHA board for half of Derek’s years, but he was president the whole time,” said Wickstrom, vice president of the VMHA. “During these years, he has guided me in my past and current roles on the Minor Hockey Council by being an excellent leader and mentor.

“I’ve also witnessed the countless contacts Derek has in the hockey community. The hockey community is a small world and it is a testament to Derek’s dedication and personality that he continues to have these contacts and friends spread across Hockey Alberta.

Although not a volunteer position, Sager also referees games, Wickstrom noted.

“With the shortage of referees, you can always count on Derek to come and referee a game or mentor our new young officials, showing them the craft of refereeing hockey games,” he wrote.

Although Sager hasn’t had a child playing for the Vulcan minor hockey teams in the past two years, he has continued to be involved with the VMHA. It’s another example of his dedication to minor hockey, Wickstrom wrote.

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