WEYBURN - Darren Istace was recently recognized as the Volunteer of the Year (South) for the Saskatchewan Hockey Association.
He was both “shocked and humbled” upon hearing he was recognized with the award. “This award is definitely for the players, and for all the other volunteers who dedicate their time in our area,” he said.
“It is not just one person who is spending time with the players,” added Istace. “I had a lot of help from other volunteers.”
According to the Sask. Hockey Association, “Istace has been a valued volunteer with the Weyburn Minor Hockey Association over the past decade and a wonderful role model for youth.
“Balancing varying levels of coaching abilities on a house team is no easy task yet Darren seems to do it with ease. Numerous letters from parents have provided feedback on the exceptional experience they had this past season with the U11 Weyburn Red Wings head coach.
“Many of the letters also highlighted having an opposing team’s parents, and even officials, come forward to comment on the positive attitude and example Darren was setting in the rink.”
For the 2021-22 season, Darren ensured that even after taking a loss, the players still held their heads high and continued to strive to get better.
“Parents said each one of the players improved under his guidance and leadership during a pandemic, which is no easy feat.”
Istace said that it was important for him to volunteer, as it allowed him to be “a role model that the players can look up to. It also gave me an opportunity to be with my own child, and support them to learn the fundamentals of hockey.”
He had 12 first-year players during the 2021-22 season, out of a team of 15. He noted it was an “up and down season, with lots of learning, especially since it was the first year out of COVID-19 restrictions.”
The Sask. Hockey Association announced their year-end awards on Facebook.