League News

   

More Than Just a Game - Meet “Smitty”

In a year of confusion and disappointment that the game is not being played, there is always a bright side that seems to go unnoticed. During these times of diversity and inclusion, this is a fabulous story that needs to be shared, not only with our league however with the public at large. Stories like this is why we volunteer for this game and makes us proud to be part of this league!! Regards, Todd Watson If you play hockey in Dartmouth, chances are you have come across Paul “Smitty” Smith. He has been a fixture in Dartmouth arenas since 1995 when he helped his Dartmouth Spartans High School team as a student. In fact, while helping the Spartans, he had two current Whaler dads as players, Terry Tremblay and Dan Rhyno. Smitty himself dressed for a Spartans game and played 4 or 5 shifts. The game was a sell out and he proudly shares he got a tripping penalty. Head Coach of the Whalers U15 Major team, Tony Breau, met Smitty in 1997 when he would watch Tony’s Bantam AAA games. When Tony moved on to Major Midget, he went along as well. He was a fan favorite and as much a part of the team as anyone. From 1998 to the early 2000’s, he was with the Dartmouth Whalers Minor Hockey Association, but it was in 2004 that he joined his friend Tony and they coached the Atom AAA team. The two coached current Whalers U15 Major Assistant Coach Evan MacEachern for two years in PWAAA. A coaching highlight was when that team won the PW International B Division in front of 14,000 people in Quebec. He and Tony fondly shared that Matthew Highmore scored in a shootout in the semifinals to help them move on to the finals. The two friends have remained together, coaching the U15 Major Whalers from 2017-present. They took their coaching courses at the same time and Smitty is fully certified. Away from the rink, Coach Smitty competed in the Special Olympics in the early 1990’s and was a gold medalist in swimming. He has also worked for Walmart for 21 years. He has coached 400-500 players and knows everyone. Over the years, he has won the Ross Drake Award (SEDMHA) and volunteered for many years with the SEDMHA tournament. His favorite part of coaching is the kids and road trips. He is always happy and positive. Chris Guildford, GM of the Whalers U15 Major team, shared that, “Having Smitty on our team is about much more than hockey”. Tony added, “Most kids coming into the program are looking forward to being around Smit Dog. The reason we have had success as coaches is that he is the good cop to my bad cop. Although he does love when I skate the players.” Many of Smitty’s former players still stay in contact and he is quite popular at the Monnctonian. For the past 20 years, he has been the head coach for three beer league teams/year. His reach in the hockey community goes far. When asked what advice he gives to his players, he responded, “Play hard. Play well. Do what you can do.” Tony summed things up in a sentence, “He treats everybody the way we should treat everybody.” The players, coaches, staff, and parents agree that the Whalers U15 Major are incredibly fortunate to have Coach Smitty on the roster.   By: Heather Baltzer (Photo courtesy of Terrel Beals)
Jan 28, 2022

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