St. Stephen Aces goalie Jack Grant and the team’s alternate captain Mike Waugh are the latest recipients of the Brian Parsons Community Leadership award.
The award was created to honour the memory of Parsons, who died unexpectedly at the age of 62 in March 2016.
Emcee Chuck Brown explained Parsons “represented what the Aces organization stands for”, and noted the award is presented to the player who demonstrates true leadership on the ice, and in the community.
“(Parsons) was a man who was first and foremost about family, and was very passionate about his community and about sports.”
Grant, of Fredericton, and Waugh, of Blackville, were presented with a plaque by Parsons’ daughter, Samantha Kinney, his grandson Nate, and his widow, Patty, during an Aces appreciation dinner Monday evening at the St. Stephen Legion.
Former Aces captain Ricky Young was the inaugural recipient of the award last year.
Prior to the presentation of the award, Kinney delivered a touching tribute to her father.
Kinney spoke about her father’s longtime dedication to the community as a coach, volunteer, and referee and his love of making people laugh.
“My dad always loved to make people laugh, even if it was at him.”
Parsons started coaching in his twenties, and coached baseball, basketball, and hockey.
Kinney said he was a “big supporter” of the Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte County, and of the St. Croix Vocational Centre.
She said he couldn’t have been happier with the 2014 announcement that junior A hockey was coming to St. Stephen.
“He was the biggest Aces fan, and I’m sure he was one of the first season ticket holders.”
Following the dinner, Grant and Waugh, both 19, agreed it was “awesome” to receive the honour.
“When Ricky Young’s name is on something associated with the Aces…” Grant began, while Waugh completed his sentence. “It’s pretty big shoes to fill.”
Exchanging a glance, both Grant and Waugh explained they weren’t surprised to hear each other’s name announced as the winner – but surprised to hear their own.
“I was a little surprised to hear (my name),” Grant said with a laugh.
“Ever since the team shook up, Waugh really stepped up in a big way, and he took on a lot more of a leader role, and he’s really filled it really well.
“Not just on the ice, but off the ice too, in the dressing room, and throughout the community. Everybody really appreciates him,” Grant finished.
Waugh was equally as generous with praise for Grant.
“I honestly thought Jack was going to get it because as far as on ice performance and off the ice, he’s always volunteering and I know there’s quite a few young kids that look up to him.
“He’s the goalie for the Aces, right? So he’s kind of an idol to a lot of little kids. It’s well deserved and he’s great in the community all around.”
Both Grant and Waugh agreed it was “special” to be honoured in Parsons’ name.
“Brian Parsons was a really great man, so it’s awesome the Aces honour him this way,” Grant said, while Waugh nodded in agreement.
Courtesy of St. Croix Courier