Saskatchewan volunteer recognized by RBC Insurance, Hockey Canada & Hockey Hall of Fame

    "RBC Local Hockey Leader" awarded $10,000 for hockey in Gray,

    TORONTO, March 1 /CNW/ - Johnny Ford of Gray, Sask., who has volunteered
at his local rink for more than 70 years, will earn special recognition in the
Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
    Ford is this year's RBC Local Hockey Leader for Saskatchewan, one of
13 volunteers (one for each Hockey Canada branch) recognized today by RBC
Insurance, with support from Hockey Canada and the Hockey Hall of Fame. The
winners, who will also receive a signed Team Canada jersey, were chosen from
more than 1,000 nominations received from across the country.
    "Johnny Ford is averse to public recognition but continues day after day
(he drops by the rink every day, summer and winter, to ensure things are as
they should be) to volunteer his time and energy, behind the scenes, to this
facility that is the hub of our community," said fellow Gray resident Lori
Boesch in a nomination essay. "In small town Saskatchewan, community life
revolves around the rink, and fundraising for the rink. Johnny has devoted
himself to fundraising events here for more than half a century."
    As outlined in the nomination, Ford's multi-tasking at the rink has also
included Zamboni driving, concession operation, facility management and repair
 - all in a volunteer capacity.
    RBC Insurance will donate $10,000 to the program in Ford's name. Ford is
also invited to attend a special ceremony unveiling a display honouring the
2006-07 RBC Local Hockey Leaders at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. A
banner recognizing his achievement will also be raised at Ford's local arena.
    "RBC Insurance is proud to recognize truly dedicated hockey volunteers
like Johnny Ford," said Neil Skelding, President and CEO, RBC Insurance.
"Hockey is a way of life in many Canadian communities, and this simply
wouldn't happen without volunteers."
    The RBC Local Hockey Leaders program is now in its fourth year. A panel
of experts including Hockey Hall of Fame Director of Public Affairs Ron Ellis,
Chair of the Board for Hockey Canada René Marcil, and 2006 Olympic gold
medalists Jennifer Botterill (Women's Ice Hockey) and Jean Labonté (Men's
Sledge Hockey) selected the winners based on guidelines that include
dedication, leadership, commitment and impact on hockey and hockey players in
their community. To date, the program has donated more than $450,000 to
grassroots hockey initiatives across Canada.
    "If you visit any arena in Canada, chances are you will hear people
talking about the RBC Local Hockey Leaders program and about a volunteer in
their community who is a perfect candidate for recognition," said Bob
Nicholson, President, Hockey Canada. "This program resonates across the
country, because every Canadian community has individuals that organize,
administer, fundraise, coach and do whatever it takes to keep hockey vibrant
in their communities. We appreciate RBC's continued leadership in recognizing
these volunteers."
    For more information and biographies on all of the RBC Local Hockey
Leaders, please visit

    2007 Regional RBC Local Hockey Leaders:

    Region                  RBC Local Hockey Leader  Community
    Hockey North            Dale Smith               Cambridge Bay, NU
    British Columbia        Gary Edwards             Cecil Lake, BC
    Alberta                 Brian Ennis              Red Deer, AB
    Saskatchewan            Johnny Ford              Gray, SK
    Manitoba                Henry Kazina             Tyndall, MB
    Ontario                 Murray Howard            London, ON
    Northwestern Ontario    Dan Reynard              Kenora, ON
    Ottawa District         Raymond & Cheryl Graham  Ottawa, ON
    Quebec                  Robert Nutbrown          Canton d'Ascot, QC
    New Brunswick           Garry Brooks             Fredericton Junction, NB
    Nova Scotia             John Murphy              Yarmouth, NS
    Prince Edward Island    Terri MacDonald          Central Bedeque, PEI
    Newfoundland & Labrador Joseph Lane              Port Aux Basques, NFLD

    About RBC Insurance

    RBC Insurance provides a wide range of creditor, life, health, travel,
home, auto and reinsurance products and services to more than five million
clients in Canada, the U.S. and internationally. These products and services
are offered through a wide variety of distribution channels, including the
telephone, independent brokers, travel agents, a proprietary sales force and
the Internet. More information is available at

For further information:

For further information: Brian Findlay or Bob Stellick, (416) 603-9452;
Jackie Braden, Media Relations, RBC, (416) 974-2124

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