Half a century of service

Roger Mayert poses for a photo while holding the Memorial Cup trophy at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert. -- Photo Courtesy of Prince Albert Raiders

Raiders’ Wall of Honour inductee Mayert touts good hockey, volunteerism, family’s support as backbone of WHL club

There were two people inducted onto the Prince Albert Raiders’ Wall of Honour this year.

One was a stay-at-home defenceman who spent a year and a half with the Western Hockey League club in the 1990s, before forging 17 years of success in the NHL.

The other arrived in Prince Albert before the Raiders were formed as a team, and has been a season ticket holder for 47 years, since 1971.

Roger Mayert was inducted as a builder for his years of service to the junior hockey organization.

When considering all of the hours, days and nights he’s put in with the team, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“When I first came to Prince Albert here in 1961, that’s when I started getting involved with hockey here and then the Raiders went to junior and I volunteered for them,” he said.

“I loved helping them, and I guess the only reason why I did that is because I love sports, and I love hockey.”

Through those 47 years, Mayert has held several roles with the club – some official, some not – including board member, vice president, board director, ticket collector and counter and bartender, among others.

Prior to that, if not for a so-so job in Saskatoon in the early 1960s, he might not have made his way to P.A.

Mayert was born and grew up in Leroy, a small town southeast of Humboldt. Looking for work, he moved to Saskatoon when he was old enough to do so.

“I didn’t mind Saskatoon, but I didn’t like the job I had; I just took anything I could get,” he explained.

He had three days off from work, and decided to take a quick trip to Prince Albert.

“I came down the hill, and my dad was a Co-Op member at the time … so I stopped at the Co-Op service station,” he said.

“I said ‘I’m looking for work’ and the guy says, ‘yeah I’m looking for a guy to work in the front … you’re too small.’ I said, ‘try me,’” he said with a smile.

He worked his two off days at the Co-Op, got the job offer and put in his notice in Saskatoon.

“The guy in Saskatoon wanted to give me an increase in wages. I said, ‘no way.’”

Mayert made the move to P.A. in 1961 and has been here since, meeting his wife, Ann, in the city. Together they had a daughter, Darcy.

“They’re the backbones of me. They help me whenever I need, and they do lots.”

On a given game night, Roger, Ann and Darcy are in the Scouts and Media Room at the Art Hauser Centre preparing game-day programs, roster sheets, food and coffee.

(This reporter has partaken in his fair share of Domino’s pizza and Tim Horton’s coffee thanks to the Mayerts.)

Looking back on his many years of service to the club, Mayert fondly recalls the Raiders’ 1985 Memorial Cup win in Shawinigan, Que. He and Ann flew with the team to the championship tournament to watch the Raiders win.

The return home after that was equally special, he said.

“(P.A.) was really enthused about hockey and they were really happy; we flew in to Saskatoon and came back here by bus, and there were hundreds of fans just waiting there (at the Art Hauser Centre) to congratulate the Raiders.”

Looking to the future, Mayert says he hopes more volunteers get involved with the Raiders, in part because the team needs community support, and in part because the team plays good hockey.

Referring to Games 3 and 4 of the Raiders’ playoff series this year against the Moose Jaw Warrior, he underscored how support for the team should be like that throughout the regular season, too.

Fans boomed, cheered, hollered and shouted throughout the teams’ tight playoff game.

“I kind of thought there was a lot of different people that would never be at a hockey game, or very few. And a lot of those were in the middle age group. So if you get good hockey like last night, that could help.”

He emphasized the necessity of volunteers to the club.

“We would never survive if we didn’t have volunteers, because (as a community-owned team) you need volunteers.

“I just want to see the hockey team stay here; that’s all I want to do. And that’s why I’m volunteering.”