Earl Gaukel Brought Hockey to St. George
This weekend our local league teams take the ice and participate in the Earl Gaukel Memorial Tournament but many may not know the actual impact that Earl made to St George Minor Hockey!
Earl and his wife Helen raised their family of 7 in St George. While Coaching School Boy Hockey on natural ice in Lynden his commitment to bringing the opportunity for children to play hockey in the community of St George began.
When Earl recognized there were no options for kids to play locally after elementary school he played a major role in organizing bantam, midget and juvenile teams to play at the Ayr Arena and St George Minor Hockey was born!
He became involved on the executive of the Grand Valley Hockey League to ensure the future of hockey for our St. George youth. However, it soon became evident that the community would need its own arena to ice their teams, and fundraising began. Earl became the first President of St. George Minor Hockey, a thriving organization that continues today, benefiting hundreds of boys and girls every year.
Ironically, his involvement with the arena fundraising and minor hockey led to a construction job and building of South Dumfries Community Centre. When the arena was complete Earl was hired on as an Assistant manager and eventually became Manger, a position he held for 22 years. His son Ken was also the Arena Manager, retiring in 2013. They both set the bar very high for standards around the cleanliness and organization of the arena we still see today.
Earl received lifetime memberships in St. George Minor Hockey & the Grand Valley Minor Hockey association. In 1987, he received the Ontario Government Certificate of Recognition for his contribution to Amateur Sports in the Community.
In honour of Earl, the Gaukel family every year have their family Christmas reunion upstairs in the arena on the Sunday of this tournament. They purposely plan it this way to help hand out the trophies for the final games.
Thank-you Earl and the Gaukel Family for everything you have done for hockey in St George.
Good luck to all the teams playing this weekend!