Mintos honour longtime president Zenon Markowsky at home opener

Jean Markowsky says her late husband would have appreciated the tribute before the Prince Albert Mintos’ home-opener on Saturday, but he would have been just as excited about the final score.

The Mintos skated away with a 6-1 win at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday, but before the game Jean was on hand to pay tribute at a special ceremonial faceoff in honour of her husband Zenon. The longtime president and board member of the Prince Albert Mintos died on May 7, 2022 at the age of 75.

“I was very honoured, for them to call and (ask if) I’d like to drop the puck, and then invite me to their social tonight,” Jean said. “Zenon loved the Mintos and was very passionate about them, so it meant a lot to do that.”

Zenon Markowsky spent 30 years as a teacher in Prince Albert, Pelican Narrows, and Sturgeon Lake, but was best known for being among the founders who brought the Mintos to life in the late-90s.

Jean said her husband loved hockey and loved working with kids, and that made him a great fit with the organization.

“He was very community-minded to start with, and then he got involved with the Mintos,” she remembered. “One of the ex-board members asked him if he would join, and then he put his whole heart into it.”

As president, Zenon oversaw a team that won three Telus Cups, the most recent of which came in 2014.

When he took over as president, one of his first major moves was to encourage assistant coach Tim Leonard to take the top job in 2005. The club blossomed under Leonard’s direction, winning back-to-back Telus Cups in 2006 and 2007.

Leonard was behind the bench Saturday for his second stint as head coach with the Mintos. He described Zenon as one of his “best buds” and said the former president and board member will be tough to replace.

“He’s a special guy,” Leonard said following Saturday’s win. “He had confidence in me and he supported me all the way through. Like I said, there are a few people that you always owe stuff to in your life, and Zenon was one of them.”

Leonard said he hit it off with Zenon as soon as the two met. They bonded over their love of hockey, and a mutual desire to make the Mintos one of the best U18 AAA hockey programs in Canada.

“He’s missed,” Leonard said. “We can’t replace him. We can try, but we’ll never replace the man.”

The current Minto roster did their part to honour their former president with a convincing 6-1 win over the visiting Swift Current Legionnaires on Saturday. During the second intermission, Jean said the tribute would make him happy, but the scoreboard would too.

“I just know he would be very happy,” she said. “That score up there would mean a lot to him. He liked to travel with (the team). He’d go on the bus every once and a while, go to different games during the year, go to the Mac’s Tournament at Christmas time. We went, I can’t remember how many years in a row. He really put his whole heart into doing what he could to help out.”

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