2020 volunteer week tanya noble

For their love of the game

Tanya Noble has volunteered innumerable – and invaluable – hours to the Tri-County Minor Hockey Association for one simple reason: to give all kids a chance to enjoy the sport

Wendy Graves
April 24, 2020

It’s been years since Tanya Noble laced up a pair of skates. Every Thursday night, a group of moms would meet at the Tri-County Complex for a game of pick-up. As her son, Mayson, got older – and into hockey himself – Tanya decided to redirect her attention. While you won’t find Tanya on the ice anymore, you also won’t find a person more passionate about creating the best possible hockey experience for hundreds of kids in Fredericton Junction, N.B.

“I love seeing the kids play and enjoy themselves and being able to be involved in a sport that they all love,” says Noble. “I didn’t have that when I was a kid; we didn’t really have anything other than softball. To see all these kids have fun and enjoy getting together – as well as learn skills and life lessons from their coaches – that’s what does it for me. It’s about the kids, and to give all kids a chance to enjoy the sport.”

“She’s a quiet person but she does so much,” says Lisa McLaughlin, president of the Tri-County Minor Hockey Association (TMHA). “She does so much that people don’t even realize how much she’s doing. Her mind is always thinking ‘How can we do things better, how can we be more organized, what can we do to improve this?’ She is just so valuable.

“I always describe her that she’s my left arm,” says McLaughlin, laughing, “and I say that because I’m left-handed. I really don’t know how we would’ve gotten through the last few years without her supporting us and laying a lot of the background work that seldom gets recognized.”

Noble has been the secretary/registrar for the TMHA for more than six years. A friend knew she had done some secretarial work and asked her to come to a meeting to take notes. That eventually led to an invitation to take on the volunteer position full time.

Her fellow board members have crowned her the queen of spreadsheets and organization. She rosters more than 150 players and more than 50 coaches each season. She touches base weekly with those needing courses, criminal checks and certifications. She takes detailed notes at every meeting. (She’s become such a vault of knowledge that board members know to just “Ask Tanya” if they need to find something.) She ensures all coaches have their necessary credentials and the MHA is compliant in everything it does.

A visual learner, Noble took it upon herself to create step-by-step instructions to walk new hockey parents through the Respect in Sport process. “They’re new to the sport, and it can be overwhelming for them,” she says. “[I wanted to] give them something that’s going to make their lives easier.”

At Noble’s suggestion, the TMHA created a new policy – parents would get their Respect in Sport documents at registration and need to complete the course before their kids could hit the ice instead of by the standard Dec. 15 deadline. “It’s streamlined the process immensely for our association,” says McLaughlin. “The document she created was sent out to the other associations in our district as a good way to deal with the Respect in Sport hurdle that comes up for associations.”

As methodical as Noble is, she’s equally creative. Take last season’s end-of-year banquet.

When Noble arrived to decorate, she brought with her 10 homemade poster boards – one for each team in the TMHA. Each poster board included a cut-out jersey for every team member, complete with the player’s name and number on the back.

“Things like that are so time consuming but they mean so much,” says McLaughlin. “You could see all the kids looking at the poster boards and looking for their names.”

“All the little touches – it makes people happy,” says Noble. “It makes me happy to see people happy. I enjoy doing it. I love to tinker around, and it’s just the added touch to see the smile on their faces. Kids know that they’re respected and we want them there.”

She devotes these countless hours to volunteering while working a full-time job with the government of New Brunswick. Noble has been deemed an essential worker during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like everyone, her days are now different, but she’s happy to be in a position to help others. Her job involves ensuring people have the tools and resources they need to feel more secure about their future.

While the hockey season has been cut unexpectedly short, Noble’s line remains open. She continues to assist parents and anyone else who reaches out with questions, as well as handle her regular responsibilities with the TMHA. She’s proud to be a member of what she considers a great team.

“I’m just one person within the Tri-County Minor Hockey Association,” she says. “The board members are a great group who all have the same goal – to provide a memorable hockey experience for as many families as possible in our area.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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