Recognizing One of Our Own!!, News (West Grey Minor Hockey)

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Recognizing One of Our Own!!
Submitted By Erin Schreinert on Mon 02 06, 23
If you were not in attendance on January 14th at the Thundercat Alumni game, you missed seeing one of our own receive the WOAA O.M. Mike Weichel Trophy presentation to Rob Nixon for outstanding efforts in minor sports!

Please read the article from on his accomplishments and why he is so deserving on this award!

A longtime volunteer, official, minor sports executive and junior hockey leader has received the Western Ontario Athletic Association 

Durham’s Rob Nixon received the annual award at an alumni game celebrating the history of the Durham 72’s/Thundercats senior men’s organization in January. Nixon served as the Durham Thundercats goaltender from 1994 to 2001.

“He’s held just about every role in the organization and probably has about 20-plus years volunteering in minor hockey, and with sports in general,” said Alex Neuman, WOAA vice president.
Nixon’s long list of accomplishments begins in the mid-’70s when he started working as a WOAA softball umpire.

“My dad was doing it, helping out with minor sports. I started umpiring when I was 11. My dad was doing the assigning,” Nixon said.

He’s previously been a part of the WOAA senior hockey committee (2008 to 2021) and is still a WOAA senior referee and OMHA referee. n’s O.M. “Mike” Weichel Trophy for his outstanding efforts in minor sports.

“Awards are not why we do volunteer work, but I was happy because in this little town here, in Durham, there have been a lot of good people who have won this award before me. I saw it a lot growing up. It just seemed natural. It’s what we do,” Nixon said. “Small towns can’t run without volunteers.”

He was Durham minor hockey’s referee-in-chief for a decade from 2002 to 2012, as well as the association’s president for two terms (2002 to 2007 and 2010 to 2012). He’s served as the former minor hockey association’s centre contact and a coach.

He’s also credited with helping to spearhead the amalgamation of the Durham and Ayton-Normanby minor hockey associations in 2012, acting as the new West Grey Minor Hockey Association’s president for its first six years of operation, as well as time spent acting as a centre contact and referee-in-chief.

Nixon said he took pride in the fact the minor hockey association was able to keep the registration fee consistent for so many years and help out families who struggled to afford the fees and associated costs.

“The goal was to keep the money down and give as much to the kids as we could give them,” he said. “I still get kids coming to me now that they’re in their 20s, and they talk about how much playing minor hockey meant to them . . . those are the good stories. Those are, you don’t even need words. That’s probably why we do it.”

He coached the Mount Forest Patriots Junior C team from 1994 to 1997 and has been the team’s general manager since 2014. The former Ontario Provincial Police officer and current member of the West Grey police is a member of the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s board.

 “If you make it fun it doesn’t even feel like volunteer work. It was just going out for a laugh and to have something to do, it was fun. It never felt like work,” he said of the years spent volunteering.


The O.M. “Mike” Weichel Trophy was donated in 1953 to the WOAA by Mike Weichel of Elmira who was a well-known sports enthusiast throughout the western Ontario region.

“In a youngsters’ life, their guidance of Christian training, education and recreational well-being is of paramount importance. A leader who guides and shapes today’s youth, paves the way for those who will be tomorrow’s leaders and citizens,” said Mr. Weichel in an excerpt from his final award presentation speech in 1964.

Each year, the WOAA’s board of directors, on behalf of Mr. Weichel, selects a person or persons whom they consider to be worthy of its possession after each community is solicited for nominations.

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