Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Guelph Storm Governor Rick Gaetz is the OHL Executive of the Year for the 2009-10 season.
Gaetz has been Governor of the Storm since the 2006-07 season and has been instrumental to the success and evolution of the franchise with consistent sponsorship revenue increases in each of his four years with the club. His behind the scenes work this season has helped the club secure a four-sided video scoreboard that will debut in the 2010-11 season and will enhance the fan experience at the Sleeman Centre.
“Rick has a tremendous amount of passion for this organization and for junior hockey,” Storm President Rick Hoyle said. “He strives to make the Storm a model franchise and takes great pride in making the community of Guelph proud both on and off the ice.”
The Storm have also assembled an impressive list of former players that will return to Guelph this summer for an alumni game as part of the club’s 20th Anniversary celebrations. The initiative was introduced to not only bring players together in a reunion type setting, but to give Storm fans the opportunity to see their favourite players while raising money for local charities including the Guelph Wish Fund for Children.
On the ice, the Storm finished seventh in the Western Conference with 74 points and qualified for the playoffs for the 18th straight season. Gaetz also served as chair of the OHL’s selection committee in the hiring of Ken Miller for the role of the OHL’s Enforcement Officer and Director of Security.
In 1998, Rick and his wife, Barbara Underhill, founded the Stephanie Gaetz KEEPSAFE Foundation in memory of their daughter Stephanie. The foundation is dedicated to injury prevention and safety education for Canada's children.
Rick, Barbara and their four children currently reside in Mississauga, where Rick is active in Minor Hockey as a coach serving behind the bench for the Oakville Rangers Minor Midget AAA team that competed at the 2010 OHL Cup Showcase Tournament.
The OHL Executive of the Year Award is presented annually to the executive whose team demonstrates success both on the ice and at the administration level through excellent organization and franchise success. The winner is selected by the League’s Executive Council.
Gaetz becomes the second Storm representative to win this award following Mike Kelly in 1994-95. Craig Goslin of the Saginaw Spirit won the award back-to-back in 2005-06 and 2006-07, followed by Denise Burke of the Niagara IceDogs in 2007-08. Warren Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires was last year’s recipient.
The OHL’s Executive of the Year Award will be formally presented to Rick Gaetz at the league’s annual award ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame on June 9th.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)