By John DeCoste
Berwick-area resident and Kentville businessman Mike Landry is taking on a new challenge: president of the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League.
Landry will take over as NSMMHL president when current president, John Sellers, completes his term, likely sometime in May.
Until then, he says, “I’ll be sitting in on league meetings and shadowing John until his term ends and I take over.”
Landry is “really excited” about the challenges of the new position, and especially that he was “voted in by all the team presidents. I’ll be working with all the teams, as well as with Hockey Nova Scotia and Hockey Canada.”
Landry has been involved with major midget hockey for several years. For a time, he was president as well as lead sponsor for the Valley Major Midget Wildcats, but he stepped away from that role once he knew he would be becoming league president, so as to avoid any potential conflict, either real or perceived.
“I had a choice to make, “ he admitted. “This has been in the works for a while.”
He stressed, “I’m here for the entire league, not any individual team.”
As incoming president, Landry is already involved with “a lot of exciting projects” the NSMMHL is, or will be, involved in.
These include the league’s largest fundraiser, a celebrity golf tournament, the organization of which Landry is heading up.
The 2013 tournament, set for July 20 at Ken-Wo, will be the second annual. The 2012 event was held at Berwick Heights, and raised $20,000, which was shared among all the teams in the league. For the 2013 event, Landry’s shooting for $35,000.”
As was the case this past year, the tournament field will include a lot of NHL players. Brad Marchand, who also attended this past year, is already confirmed, and Hall of Famer Al MacInnis, also a Nova Scotia native, “is 99 per cent sure.”
Landry had a Marchand story from the 2012 tournament.
“He donated a hockey stick, then bought it himself (for $700), signed it and gave it to a youngster.”
Other current or former NHL players are expected to commit in the next while.
“We have eight to 10 committed so far,” Landry said. “Our goal is to have 20.”
At a cost of $600 for a team of four, participants get the round of golf, a sit-down dinner (this past year, the main menu item was lobster) and auction, and a chance to meet and socialize with the NHL players.
“It was a big hit this past year,” Landry said of the tournament, “and there’s already been a lot of interest in next year’s event.”
Anyone interested in the tournament, or in entering a team, can call Landry at 679-7904. Ten teams are already registered, and they’re only taking 36.
Other initiatives Landry is, or will be, spearheading as league president include a contract with Eastlink to televise NSMMHL games (some have been aired already), and the possibility of an outdoor major midget game sometime in the near future.
“There are lots of exciting things going on,” he said. “All in all, it’s an exciting time to be league president.”
More than anything, he said, “it’s all about making the league more viable, and the product as a whole more noticeable and visible for the kids.”
Landry noted he already has a real asset in NSMMHL vice-president Wayne MacPherson, also a Kings County resident living in Aylesford.
“I’ll be working closely with Wayne, who has loads of experience with hockey at this and other levels.”