(Photo courtesy of Anita Betterley)

Hockey Award Renamed After Ronny Betterley

A division of the Provincial Junior Hockey League has renamed an award in memory of a 7-year-old hockey fan who was adored by many in the Chatham-Kent community.

The Stobbs Division’s Defenseman of the Year Award will be named after Ronny ‘Tuukka’ Betterley, who passed away last month following a battle with a rare form of brain cancer.

“He was really a special little kid. He would pretty much welcome anybody with open arms and a great smile,” says Mark Hagerman, convener for the Stobbs Division of the PJHL. “[He was] just a fun kid to hang around. Certainly not the personality of somebody that was as sick as he was.”

Hagerman says after the decision was approved by the league managers, he called up Ronny’s father, Jeff, to tell him the news.

“He was pretty choked up, as was I, just telling him about it,” says Hagerman

Betterley was a member of the South Kent Minor Hockey Association and was also named an honorary Bobcat by the Blenheim Bobcats.

“He was truly a kid that I look up to — just how he took it all in and how he moved through life,” says Hagerman. “He was having issues with vision and motor control and it didn’t stop him at all. And he’s just a perfect example of how we should move through our lives.”

The first “Ronny ‘Tuukka’ Betterley Defenseman of the Year Award” was given to Anthony Cristofaro of the Essex 73’s.