Submitted by Doug Lee on Monday, May 13, 2019
The RHRA is honoured to induct Geoff Sarjeant into the Richmond Hill Ringette Association Hall of Fame.
After a long, successful, and adventurous career in professional hockey, Geoff, his wife JoAnne, and their two children, Jenna and Kyle, settled in the Montreal area. Geoff’s first exposure to Ringette coaching was in 2006 with the 4 Cities Ringette Association as a goalie coach. In 3 seasons coaching Ringette in Quebec, Geoff and his teams enjoyed a great deal of success. His teams won back-to-back Lac St. Louis championships and Geoff progressed to head coach at the regional level finishing 4th at the Quebec Winter Games in 2009.
In the Summer of 2009, Geoff and his family relocated to the Newmarket area and Jenna joined the U16A team in Richmond Hill with Geoff as the head coach. Geoff also began running goalie clinics for both the Richmond Hill and Newmarket associations.
The following season, Jenna was selected to play on the U19AA team in Richmond Hill and Geoff agreed to join Jim File on the bench as an assistant coach. Jim had to step away from the bench shortly before the season started and Geoff agreed to become the head coach. If that story sounds vaguely familiar to you, you are not along. I guess this is how many of us get started volunteering for RHRA, right Jim?!?
Geoff coached the U19AA team in Richmond Hill for the next two seasons. This was RHRA’s introduction to U19AA play and the team took their lumps including a season with only 2 wins…and perhaps a story about sticks and other equipment being thrown onto the ice but you will need to ask Vince about that. These teams included future NRL players Melissa Simone and Megan Gibson and despite the rough seasons the team made some noise at provincials just missing out on the medal round in 2011.
From 2012 through 2016, Geoff coached AA teams in Richmond Hill at U14 and U16 along with assistant coaches Kevin Laliberte, Tracey Mattucci, and Carling Munro.
My daughter Hannah was lucky enough to play on these teams and benefited immensely from Geoff’s coaching on and off the ice.
Throughout his time as a head coach in Richmond Hill, Geoff quietly set the standard for our association. He was always prepared, and he developed and executed detailed plans for the season. His technical understanding was second-to-none and he was always looking to grow and develop his and his team’s repertoire. He was demanding of his players however he was always fair and ensured that everyone was having fun.
He provided regular, detailed updates to the parents to let us know how he felt the team was doing and what they needed to work on. The players all received mid-season report cards that highlighted the positive aspects of their game and where he felt they needed to develop.
When asked, he was always willing to share his thoughts and philosophies with other Richmond Hill coaches but did so in a thoughtful, constructive, and positive manner.
There was also a very strong family-like atmosphere around the team and the pot-lucks at away tournaments became legendary.
Over the four years, this group of players steadily developed and improved however they were never able to crack the medal round at provincials coming close in 2016 losing out in a mini-game.
At the end of the 2015-16 season, Geoff stepped away from the bench, however this group was well prepared to for future success. In the 2016-17 season, our U19AA team won a bronze medal at provincials and then finished 7th at the Canadian Ringette Championships in Leduc Alberta. The following season, 7 of these players were selected to play for the Southern AAA team that won medals at all three AAA Challenge Cup events.
I feel that Geoff’s greatest and most lasting impact will be the positive influence that that had on the players that he coached. We have invited Jada Laliberte, one of these former players to speak tonight.
As an association, we feel that is very important that our current members recognize the valuable contributions people like Geoff have made to the Richmond Hill Ringette Association over the years.
Please join me in congratulating Geoff Sarjeant as our 2019 Hall of Fame inductee!
Submitted by Jada Laliberte on Monday, May 13, 2019
Thank you Doug Lee, for asking me to be here tonight to speak on behalf of the many players who were lucky enough to have been coached by Geoff Sarjeant (or as some may say Jeff; but its Geoff) [to clear things up, long story short; some call him Jeff but his closest friends call him Geoff, including me]
So, my first impression of Geoff would have been when I was in diapers, so I can’t exactly tell you about that. Move ahead 14 years later when I relocated from Newmarket Ringette Association to Richmond Hill. One of the main reasons I came to the team was because Geoff was going to be the new coach, and my dad encouraged me to tryout as it would be a great experience. This would’ve been my first year of ringette at the AA level, and I was looking for a coach who could help me grow and develop as a player. Geoff has a passion for all sports and the game of ringette. Having played at the highest competitive level of hockey, and having many years of coaching experience of his daughter Jenna.
Geoff has an understanding of the game from both a coaches and players perspective. The knowledge he had for ringette was so beneficial as it could help each player improve their mental and tactical game. Geoff has the ability to push his athletes to be the best they can be and help each and every one of us grow and improve as individuals as well as a team. Whether it was how to be a team leader, how to appreciate one another, or how to have confidence in yourself and your teammates was all used to allow us to have fun but also be serious while playing the game we love.
However, over the four awesome years he coached us, there were times when his emotions and passion for the game and our team could sometimes get the better of him.
We always knew when Geoff wasn’t too happy or was getting angry when his neck and face would go red and blotchy; and let’s not forget about the continuous sweating. No matter what arena we were in, he would always be sweating for some reason. The bigger the game the more intense he became, and the more he sweat. My team and I soon came to recognize the signs and knew we needed to pick it up whenever this occurred to avoid the post-game speeches. Nobody ever wanted a repeat of these types of moments as we just wanted to make Geoff proud, which shaped us into the dedicated hard workers we became in both practices and games.
Not long after Geoff stepped down from coaching, I continued on with my love for the sport and tried out for Southern Region AAA. Amazingly, I made the team along with many other teammates from Richmond Hill. This is a testament of how good and successful of a coach Geoff was towards those he coached. While playing AAA, the process of Team Ontario scouting began. Luckily enough I was asked to attend both of the training camps, resulting in the success of making the team. This was an accomplishment I never would have expected myself to achieve throughout my ringette career. During our three challenge cup tournaments in Winnipeg, Pickering and Montreal, Geoff would come out and watch whenever he could. If he couldn’t attend in person he would watch it online through streaming. Geoff has always been able to critique my play and help me to transition to a faster and harder style of game which I’ve never forgotten. Due to Geoff’s continuous support and guidance, I was able to become a productive member of Team Ontario where we won a silver medal at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alberta this past February.
Alongside playing for Team Ontario I was a full-time student at the University of Guelph, which gave me the opportunity to play my last year of U19AA for the Guelph Ringette Association. From the moment our team was picked, the expectations were very high as we were predicted to make it to nationals and take a run at winning gold. As the year progressed, the team lived up to these expectations and won Provincials, thus naming us Team Ontario and securing our spot for Nationals in P.E.I.
Even at this point Geoff continued to follow and watch my games whenever he could. Any valuable advice he has given me in the past or could still give me, I would use to better my game. As my Guelph team headed to Nationals, we successfully made it through round robin winning 7 out of 8 games. This led us to go on to quarters and then semis which we successfully won, providing us a spot in the championship game facing the only team we had lost to that week. After a long and hard-fought game against Quebec, we pulled out a 5-3 win and were crowned the U19AA National Champions. When we received our gold medals, there were two pins on it that we were instructed to give to someone who has helped get us to where we are today. I truly believe for myself, that one of these people is in fact, Geoff Serjeant. Geoff, your kindness, support and dedication has helped shape me into the ringette player I am today and I would like to offer you this pin as thanks and gratitude for everything you have done for me and my many teammates over the years.
Submitted by Steve Zanon on Monday, April 28, 2014
The RHRA is honoured to induct Paul Silbernagel into the Richmond Hill Lightning Hall of Fame.
Paul began his ringette involvement in Richmond Hill when his daughter Haley started as a Bunny in 1996. The association was looking for an ice scheduler and Paul stepped forward to take on the task and so began his journey with Richmond Hill ringette. The following season Paul added the Central Region rep title to his task list.
In 1998 Paul initiated the 1st Bunnyfest in Richmond Hill and he welcomed teams from as far away as Woolwhich & Exeter. With the help of Anne Hashimoto and Pam Weintraub they transformed Elvis Stojko into bunny land for a day.
In 1999 Paul organized the 1st Lightning float for the Santa Claus parade… putting all the bunny’s on a float and parading them down Yonge St. In 1999 Paul also took on the task as Tournament chair.
In 2002 Paul and Scott Sullivan coached the Lightning U12 Provincial team to the 1st ever Provincial medal for a Lightning team bringing home a bronze. The following year Paul took over as President of Richmond Hill ringette and Richmond Hill hosted its 1st ever Provincial Championship. Their U14A team took home the silver medal and Richmond Hill was awarded the “ORA Association of the Year”, thanks in large part to the efforts of Paul and the likes of Scott Sullivan, Tim Cain and Wendy Gibson among others. It was at this time Paul recognized the need for more ice and when Richmond Green was built it became the new home of Richmond Hill ringette.
I believe one of Paul’s greatest strengths was his ability to encourage people and teams to participate and get involved. Paul did a great job recruiting teams in the early years for our annual tournament. He also did an excellent job of building up the executive in early 2000’s setting up the building blocks for future executives. He was also instrumental in getting the NRL team set up and established in Richmond Hill. In 2005 Paul was awarded the Ontario Ringette Community Builder Award.
In the mid 2000’s Richmond Hill Ringette was also transitioning from a Regional association to a Provincial association and the growing pains were evident. When Paul’s daughter Haley wanted to move on and play “AA”, we did not have the “AA” opportunity in RH to offer her so she and Paul moved on to Whitby. Haley continued to play all the way up to the NRL level in Whitby.
Paul and his wife Cec still live in Richmond Hill and are still very active in the community and busy at work locally as real estate agents with Kellar Williams.
As I’ve indicated in the past, I feel it is very important that our association and the current members recognize the valuable contributions people like Paul have made to the Richmond Hill ringette association over the years.
It is also good to bring Paul back to let him see 1st hand what he had a hand in creating. I doubt very much Paul would have visualized Richmond Hill hosting teams at every age and level… annually winning medals at both the Provincial “A” & “AA” levels and competing for the 1st time on the National stage with the U19AA team finishing an impressive 4th in Canada.
We are very proud to introduce Paul Silbernagel tonight as the 2014 Richmond Hill Ringette “Hall of Fame” inductee.
Submitted by Steve Zanon on Monday, July 1, 2013
Wendy Gibson joined Richmond Hill Ringette in 1997 when she registered her daughter Sarah as a Bunny...
Wendy joined the executive in 2001 when the association had 8 Bunnies registered at the start of the season and less than 100 players in the entire association. The association was at risk of folding within a few years without a major new player recruitment effort. The executive committee at the time, under Paul Silbernagel as president and Wendy as secretary decided to make it the #1 priority of the association. Wendy was a very large part of the strategic planning to focus the executives energies on the growth of the association at the grass roots level.
Wendy helped start the LTS program with Paul S. in 2002. She recruited and coordinated the on-ice volunteers and volunteered on the ice every Sunday for the first few years of the program This program was the rudimentary beginning of our beginner programs that exist today. She also initiated an advertising campaign inserting flyers in local newspapers and brochures through schools, soccer clubs, community centres and libraries. She did most of the leg work in the early years distributing as many as 10,000 flyers to hundreds of schools in the Richmond Hill and surrounding areas. This along with the focus by the exec at that time to focus on our grass roots programs set up the framework and the foundation for the associations success of today.
In 2004 RHRA hosted its first and only Provincial Championship to date. Wendy was on the Championship Organizing Committee and took charge of many of the components including the Opening Ceremonies, advertising for the Provincial Program and convening, all while helping coach Sarah’s Tween A team to the associations 1st ever Provincial medal.
In 2007 Wendy, Rob Evans and Jim File initiated an application for a Trillium Grant… a very complicated and cumbersome govt document that required in excess of 100 hrs to prepare… the resulting $35K grant allowed us to purchase many important items for the association, non more valuable than the lending gear for our beginner programs which is still an intricately important component of these programs today.
Wendy was also an instrumental contributor to the annual ringette tournament in RH each February… if she wasn’t overseeing the planning and execution as the tournament chair, she was a convenor or running another volunteer task.
Wendy was also very involved helping coach her daughter Sarah's Ringette team over her 12 yrs. Sarah’s teams were the early trail blazing teams being the 1st to participate at both the Prov “A” & then the “AA” levels. Wendy's daughter Sarah shared one of her fondest memories when they played AA for the 1st time. “It was a challenging and exciting year that tested us as players, coaches and a team. This was the year that my mom put on hockey skates for the first time, became a Level 2 certified coach and committed to being on the bench for each and every game. This is also the year my mom learned how to deal with the emotions of 15 teenage girls in the heat of a close ringette game. Just in case having one teenage daughter wasn't enough, her experience with our team of 15 girls most definitely was! She put up with more from us girls on the bench then any mother should have to. But her role on our team that year was one of the reasons we were able to play AA.
Most recently in 2010 Wendy helped us develop our role of Program Administrator… she took on the position as part time administrator for the association as a pilot to see if such a position would work and help alleviate the workload of volunteers.
Wendy questioned me as to whether she should be considered a candidate for the RHRA hall of fame. I told her I've always felt strongly the younger families are made aware of the important efforts that people like herself contributed in the earlier leaner years. People only see the successes of today… it’s important to recognize the earlier efforts from the likes of Wendy Gibson, Scott Sullivan, Ted Moritsugu & Rob & Barb Evans.
I'm very proud to bring Wendy here today to see what she was a very large part of creating and for our members to recognize the valuable contributions she made and the results of those efforts. I doubt Wendy would ever have believed we would be able to ice a team at every level… it has been through hard work but initiated through the valuable early efforts of Wendy.
RHRA is honoured to induct Wendy Gibson as the 2013 inductee to the RH Ringette Hall of Fame
Submitted by Jim File on Wednesday, June 5, 2013
We are honoured to introduce Scott Sullivan as the Richmond Hill Lightning 2012 “Hall of Fame” inductee.
Scott began his ringette career in Markham where his daughter Lindsay played U12 Petite Provincial in 2000. The following year tryouts produced an interesting situation, when there were more Richmond Hill girls who had made the Provincial team than Markham girls, the collective decision was to move the team to Richmond Hill and place it under coach, Paul Silbernagel. In that first year, Scott acted as his assistant coach and they were fortunate enough to qualify for Provincials and this time they did not just participate, but they took home the first Provincial Bronze medal for a Richmond Hill Lightning team.
The following year, as a first year Tween team, Paul and Scott reversed positions and Scott took on the Head coaching job and Paul became the assistant. At the same time Paul took over as the President of the Richmond Hill Ringette Association and convinced Scott to replace him as the CORL representative for Richmond Hill. As a second year U14A Tween team they again made the Provincials at the A level. These 2008 provincials were held in Richmond Hill that year, and their Tween A team walked away with the Silver medal losing in the last minute of play.
As a first year U16A Junior team they started losing their better players to the surrounding associations offering AA play and they struggled to recruit enough girls to continue playing “A”. The Association numbered around 90 girls at this time. Paul’s daughter Haley was one of the players who had left to play AA and Paul was becoming less and less involved with the executive and Scott’s team. Paul stepped down as President as they entered their second year of Junior and Scott reluctantly gave up his CORL job and accepted the position as President of the Association.
The number of girls playing ringette remained low and it was at this time the Richmond Hill Executive started to discuss priorities and it was agreed that the single focus needed to be on the recruitment of U9 & U10 aged players… numbers, if successful, would look after all the rest. In every decision Richmond Hill Executive made it was all focused on attracting and retaining these young players. The fruits of these CTR efforts are seen by the number of U10, U12 & U14 aged players in the Association today.
We were privileged to have some really great people join our Executive in those years with great spirit, endless energy and a desire to make things better for the participants. Activities continued to focus on the Bunnies and our numbers were building. “Come Try Ringette” had been introduced and the Executive embraced it as a new method to recruit players and more and more of our efforts and resources were focused there. A grant from the Trillium Foundation allowed us to buy 60 sets of lending equipment which many have utilized. The loaner program we believed would eliminate one of the major hurdles encouraging girls and their families to try out the sport and it proved to be very successful. We begged for more ice and the arena association heard our pleas and over the demands of hockey gave us the ice needed to support our potential growth and we took the risk of committing to the cost before we knew how to fill it.
Scott’s contributions to the sport of ringette and specifically to Richmond Hill ringette were instrumental in the development of the RHRA. Scott’s teams won the 1st provincial medal for the association and Scott coached the 1st “A” & “AA” teams in RH.Scott continues to support RH ringette even after moving on… whenever we have called Scott to see if he would help at our CTR events or help convene our tournament he has always generously stepped forward.
We are very proud to introduce Scott Sullivan as the 2012 Richmond Hill Ringette “Hall of Fame” inductee.
Submitted by Jim File on Wednesday, June 5, 2013
The Richmond Hill Ringette Association is proud to announce Ted Moritsugu as the 2011 inductee into the Richmond Hill Ringette Hall of Fame. The presentation was made to Ted at the RHRA 2011 Banquet held on June 11, 2011.
Ted has been a Richmond Hill resident for over forty years and was involved in ringette in Richmond Hill since its early days, as well as contributing to the provincial organization long after his daughters stopped playing the sport.
Ringette first started in Richmond Hill in 1978 when the Arena Administrator heard that ringette was a growing on-ice sport for girls. Believing that girls in our town should have a chance to play, he started a one-hour weekly program.
In 1979, Ted’s daughter Lynne asked if she could join this sport, and there began Ted’s involvement in what became the Association as we know it now.
In the summer of 1980, Ted and a few other parents met to try to create a more structured program. At the end of the 1980/81 season the newly formed RHRA joined the Ontario Ringette Association. In its first year, goalie equipment and sweaters were borrowed from the Hockey Association. Ted was always on the lookout for broken hockey sticks which he sawed, planed and sanded then painted red, white or blue as coloured sticks indicated positions at that time.
Registration increased each year, and the 1981/82 season had enough players to form a four team house league, with each team having age defined "big shifts" and a "little shifts" which changed every 2 minutes on the buzzer. Seeing a need for coaches and referees, Ted worked to improve his skating skills as the only adult participating in the Power Skating sessions held each fall.
During the 80’s ringette evolved. Markham started an association, which allowed Richmond Hill to have league play with neighbouring teams. Teams also entered into tournaments, and eventually competed in the Regionals. During this era, Ted was coach, referee, president, and referee-in-chief, often holding more than one position a season. He also wrote articles for the Richmond Hill Liberal to raise awareness of the sport.
Ringette was a family affair for the Moritsugu’s. Ted’s three daughters all played for many years, some coached and refereed; his son refereed at the national level; and wife Nancy assisted with coaching, managing, time keeping, fund raising, hosting board meetings and billeting out-of-town referees.
In 1987, Ted was inducted into the ORA Hall of Fame as a Community Builder. In 1990, Ted and Nancy were recognized by the town of Richmond Hill as Volunteers of the Year, for developing ringette in the community.
In addition to building our Association, Ted volunteered with the ORA, as Chair of the Provincial Rules Development Committee, Referee Evaluator, Editor of the Ref-O-Gram (the referees’ newsletter), Regional Referee Evaluator, and as a Supervisor of Officials at Provincial Championships from 1995 to 2004 and in 2007, some years at both the A and double A’s.
Ted Moritsugu was primarily responsible for the establishment and growth of the Richmond Hill Ringette Association through its first decade. Without his dedicated efforts, our Association would not be where it is today. Thank you, Ted.
Submitted by Jim File on Wednesday, June 5, 2013
We are delighted to be inducting two exceptional candidates as the first members into the RHRA “Hall of Fame”.
Barbara and Rob Evans have been long-time residents of Richmond Hill and valuable contributors to the sport of Ringette in Richmond Hill and throughout the province in a variety of capacities. Both Barb & Rob’s involvement in Ringette spans over 25 years.
Rob started coaching his daughter Cheri in Richmond Hill in 1983. Along with coaching he has also been very involved in refereeing. Rob is also an evaluator and teacher of both coaches and officials. Many of our coaches have probably had Rob as an instructor at the various coaching seminars and courses. Rob has also spent time in various capacities on the executive boards of both the Richmond Hill and Etobicoke Ringette Associations. Rob has also been involved on the boards of the Southern Region Ringette Association, acting as chair between 2000-04 and as a Vice President on the ORA Executive between 2004 - 08. Rob has most recently been involved locally overseeing the Richmond Hill Lightning Bunny House League and Introduction to Ringette programs helping to develop our youngest players.
Barbara Evans has also served at the local level in a variety of capacities over the years. Barb was part of the Richmond Hill executive in the early years; including referee-in-chief, player rep, vice-president, and president. Barb was President of RHRA from 1985 - 1989 before moving on to the Southern Region executive, 1st as secretary and then as Chair of Southern region. Barb also spent 2 yrs as manager of the Southern Region “AAA” team. After her 8 yr stint at SRRA, Barb moved onto the ORA executive in a variety of capacities including President for 3 years. Barb was vital to the Ontario Ringette Association in a time of great difficulty. As president of the ORA, from 1995 to 1998, Barb made the difficult decisions that brought the ORA to a surplus when the budget was tight. The surplus Barb created as president of the ORA was still present when she was inducted into the ORA Hall of Fame in 2000 and is still present today. Barb’s most recent contributions to the sport of ringette were on the board at Ringette Canada.
Ringette has been a very big part of the Evans family for many years, son Jeff has also been very involved in both R-Hill and Southern Region as referee in chief for the past 6 years.
We are very proud to induct our first two very deserving members to the RHRA “Hall of Fame” - Barbara and Rob Evans.