A Coldwater referee who has been a fixture at local hockey rinks for 40 years has won the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) Development Award.Ken Cadeau says he was shocked to receive the prestigious award that honors an individual who has made an "outstanding contribution to hockey development programming in minor hockey.
“It meant a lot to me; it’s huge,” said Cadeau, who is a Level 4 referee. “I’ve worked with a lot of great kids, parents, officials, and everybody involved with minor hockey. To be recognized is overwhelming.”
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Last week, OMHA posted a video that paid tribute to Cadeau and his contributions to the Coldwater Minor Hockey Association (CMHA). The video featured some of Cadeau’s peers explaining how invaluable the referee has been to the organization, its officials and players.
CMHA president Brian Zulak explains how Cadeau treated being an official as a career. “He makes everybody aware of what’s going on and any rule changes,” he said. “He just involves himself in everything, and he makes us better.” Zulak went on to say that Cadeau has been a great mentor to hundreds of young officials who have also carved out a career in hockey .“When a play happens on that ice and they are unsure, he was there to help the younger ref deal with what was going on," he said. "He took them aside and made them aware of what they needed to do."
Ken is unbelievable. CMHA past president Frank Brazda says Cadeau is a "tremendously active" person in the community, noting Cadeau is a member of the Coldwater Lions Club which has helped less fortunate children play the game of hockey. “Your community involvement and your involvement in Coldwater Minor Hockey over the last 40 years has been impeccable,” he said to Cadeau.
Cadeau, 72, says the video brought tears to his eyes. The Port Severn native, who grew up playing hockey in Midland and Coldwater, credits his wife of 44 years and two kids for supporting his passion for the game of hockey.“ They allow me to be out so much,” Cadeau said. “They allow me to do the things I love to do.” Cadeau says his refereeing days will be ending in another year or two. He hopes to stay a part of the game by helping develop other referees off the ice.
Outside of hockey, Cadeau has worked at Mount St. Louis Moonstone as a rental shop manager for 50 years, which allows him to be free in the evenings and at the rink. “It’s a life that I would love to live again if I were to come back somehow,” he said. “It’s been quite a journey and I’ve enjoyed every part of it. The support I’ve received from the village of Coldwater is very strong.”