Willie Cowie has spent endless hours of his time helping support the game of hockey in North Bay. Now organizers with the North Bay Minor Hockey Association are hoping hockey can help Willie.
Willie Cowie has spent close to 30 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 ambassador for hockey in North Bay.
In 2021, he was recognized by the Northern Ontario Hockey Association with the Angus Campbell Order of Merit in Hockey.
See related: Local volunteer nets NOHA Order of Merit in Hockey
Darrell Pitman, president of the North Bay Minor Hockey Association, held a press conference at West Ferris arena asking the public to help Willie out.
"Everybody around the rink has seen Willie," said Pitman.
"If a kid needed skate laces, Willie would use his last five bucks to buy the kid new laces. He would not have any money left and he would be happy with it.
Pitman knows firsthand the type of person Willie is having coached house league teams with him for close to 20 years.
"He is always there for the kids," said Pitman about Willie.
"He is in it for the kids to have fun."
When Willie was not at the rink, he has been volunteering at Blue Sky Bingo, a local fundraising non-profit, and at the Davedi Club in North Bay serving meals.
"His whole life has been about volunteering," said Pitman.
However, Willie suffers from diabetes and just recently, the longtime hockey volunteer had one of his legs amputated.
The 65-year-old, who was diagnosed with the disease about 15 years ago, has been in the hospital recovering since mid-November and is hoping to go home soon.
"He is going through a lot of challenges so we would like to get him into his house," said Pitman.
"So we want to get him everything he needs including a wheelchair and posts. It is a big change in his life."
The organization has set up a Facebook page called "Team Willie".
Through a GoFundMe page they are hoping to raise some funds to help him.
"I am estimating we are looking for $10,000 to $15,000 to get him back in there and be comfortable," stated Pitman about the fundraising goal.
Willie has shown his love and passion for hockey for decades, now through this campaign, organizers hope the game he loves helps him get home.