The Ontario Junior Hockey League today announced that Karen Sheppard, who is a volunteer with both the Pickering Panthers and Whitby Fury, has been named the inaugural recipient of the OJHL Volunteer-of-the-Year Award.
Karen Sheppard is what one would refer to as the epitome of a volunteer, offering her services to numerous associations around the Durham Region. The Toronto, Ontario native was originally a volunteer with the Oshawa Dodgers Intercounty Baseball Club when she was approached with the idea of helping out with the Pickering Panthers and has been a staple at their admission gate since 2007, giving fans a friendly face when they come to the rink.
When Frank Robinson moved to Whitby, becoming the Fury’s General Manager prior to the 2008-09 season, he asked Sheppard if she would like to volunteer with the Fury and she quickly agreed. However, due to existing relationships in Pickering, would remain on with both clubs at the same time since their primary home dates fell on different days of the week.
Sheppard is more than just the person that takes money at the admission gate, she is often called upon to be the club’s customer service representative since she is the first person that greets the fan upon entering the building. Although it can often be a frustrating position for a volunteer, Sheppard always goes out of her way to ensure that people get an answer to their question or concern and is known by all that attend both Panthers and Fury home games.
The OJHL Volunteer-of-the-Year is awarded annually to the person who has volunteered for a club(s) that is
adjudged to consistently have gone above & beyond the call of duty for his/her member club throughout the
course of the regular season, while past experience and time served will be taken into consideration.
Kim Anderson of the Newmarket Hurricanes and Mike Johnson of the Orangeville Flyers were co-runners-up in the OJHL award balloting to Sheppard.
Anderson has been the Hurricanes’ Billet Co-ordinator and Game Day Operations Manager for the past eight seasons, while Johnson has held many different roles and responsibilities with Orangeville junior franchises (Thunder, Crushers, Flyers) over the past ten years.
The inaugural OJHL Humanitarian-of-the-Year Award recipient will be announced later this week.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)