A well-known, hard-working volunteer with a longtime passion for the game of hockey is the latest recipient of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association's Order of Merit.
The Angus Campbell Merit Award, named after the founder of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association, is an order of merit in hockey, awarded by the NOHA, to an individual for outstanding service to the game other than as a player.
The 2021 Angus Campbell Merit Award winner is Willie Cowie of North Bay.
Willie Cowie has spent more than 27 years helping kids enjoy our great sport of hockey. Willie has no children of his own but has been such a dedicated volunteer and an amazing ambassador for hockey in North Bay.
Cowie has been well known to volunteer at all the tryouts and evaluations, helps coach a U11 team, and also served as Equipment Manager. He spent most of his time volunteering, not only with hockey, but also Blue Sky Bingo, a local fundraising non-profit, and at the local Davedi Club serving meals.
His friends say there really is not anything Cowie would not do to help the hockey team.
"Anything time Willie is asked to do something, he does it. It does not matter what time of day it is. He is there at the tournament, he is there at the Bingo Hall, he is like a staple. Anytime you ask Willie he is there," said Darrell Pitman, longtime friend and President of North Bay Minor Hockey Association President on the NOHA Order of Merit video.
"He is there helping for the right reasons."
Cowie believes all the volunteering he has done has made him a better person.
"I was sick, and it started to make me angry a lot and I have made some really good friendships with people that I may have never met," said Cowie.
At Christmas, while the hockey season slowed down, Cowie still found time to dress up as Santa Claus and go door to door to visit with children and their families in North Bay.