Tony Ryder’s contributions to minor hockey in Kelowna over the past three decades have earned recognition on a national scale.
Ryder was presented this week with the Canadian Tire Hero of Play Award.
A joint venture between Hockey Canada and Canadian Tire, the award acknowledges the commitment and behind-the-scenes work by individuals who support and enhance the growth of the sport in their community.
For nearly the last 20 years, Ryder has been the team selection and scheduling director for the Kelowna International Elite Midget Tournament. The annual tournament is held in Kelowna each January and features a roster of top midget teams from across Canada and into the U.S.
Tony immigrated to Canada from Scotland with his wife and infant son Colin in 1975. Soon after arriving in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., their daughter, Marie, was born. Tony began playing soccer and was quickly introduced to ice hockey via the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, where he watched a Wayne Gretzky play the game.
After three years, he and his family moved across the country to Kelowna. Once Colin got into the game, Tony began coaching, first at the peewee level, before moving to higher levels. He worked as a trainer for the Kelowna Minor Hockey Association’s (KMHA) Spartans and a bantam AAA team.
When Ryder isn’t assisting with fundraisers, running tournaments or talking hockey, he enjoys spending time with his family, including his four grandchildren.