After 20 years of seeing her two sons through hockey programs in Prince Albert, Ria Pantsis wanted to keep growing the community that she came to adopt.
“I was a hockey mom for 20 years. And for it to just end, it was just a little too depressing for me,” she said Sunday afternoon at the Kinsmen arena.
Eight years later, and Pantsis has been awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award by the Prince Albert Titans hockey club for her do-it-all approach to all things Titans hockey season to season.
The Titans play in the Prairie Junior Hockey League, a junior B league that hosts 12 teams across Saskatchewan. Bob Dybvig, the league’s vice president of finance, awarded Pantsis the league-wide honour Sunday afternoon in a pregame ceremony before the Titans hosted the Saskatoon Westleys.
As fans and spectators made their ways into the stands at the Kinsmen, Pantsis was busy in the lobby organizing the day’s 50-50 draw and preparing raffle items, unaware that she was chosen as this season’s volunteer of the year.
After learning of her selection and receiving a commemorative plague and a bouquet of flowers in the pregame ceremony, Pantsis spoke of how she values the sense of community and family that the team has afforded her over the past eight years.
“(It’s) for love of the game, because I have two sons who have long been gone from hockey now,” she said.
“Whether we win or lose, it doesn’t really matter. The fact that there was something in our community, I did it for the community, I did it for the love of the game and I did it for the kids, you know?
“Win or lose it just didn’t matter to me. It’s just something that I truly enjoy, truly love inside … and I enjoy coming in here. And the whole social aspect of it too. You make friends. I just love it.”
For more on this story, please see the February 14 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald