A Port Alberni minor hockey volunteer has been honoured with a BC Hockey Unsung Hero Award.
Both BC Hockey and the Vancouver Canucks, who partnered on the awards, announced on June 22, 2020 that Kellie Steel was one of nine recipients to receive the award.
The Unsung Hero Award was presented to members who have been working the front lines in health care facilities and essential services during the novel coronavirus pandemic. BC Hockey defined an unsung hero as “a person that does the job to ensure that their patients, co-workers and community members receive the service and support they need during this time.”
Steel and her husband Tyler own and operate Tyler’s No Frills grocery store in Port Alberni. They worked hard to ensure the store stayed open during the COVID-19 closures, to provide the community with an essential service.
Steel has dedicated her life to supporting her family’s hockey dreams. Her older son Carson was captain of Port Alberni’s midget rep hockey team this year, and has graduated from the AVMHA. Her younger son, Robbie, recently finished Grade 10 and plays with the North Island Silvertips minor midget team.
“I don’t know who nominated me, but I just wanted to say a huge thank you to whoever you are,” Steel wrote in a social media post. “To say the least, I was shocked when I got the e-mail. I thought it was spam until someone texted me to say congrats, and I saw it on the BC Hockey page.
“Thank you so much, it truly means a lot to me.”
This is the second honour for Steel as she wraps up her time with youth hockey. In April, the AVMHA named her the Marilyn Gibson Volunteer of the Year for 2020. Steel has volunteered with the minor hockey association for 13 years, and managed the midget rep team in 2019-20.
Other BC Hockey Unsung Hero winners were from Abbotsford, Elkford, Surrey, Oceanside/ Parksville, Coquitlam, Kelowna, Burns Lake and South Okanagan.
The Oceanside winner is Marcia Kent, a U11 tournament organizer and mother of twin boys who also works at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Kent is a full-time acute care nurse and has worked in that role for 16 years.
“There are so many people working essential services and the nominations received were all worthy and inspirational,” a BC Hockey spokesperson said.
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.