CK hockey coach recognized for hockey sense and dedication
A local hockey coach has won a provincial award from a leading body in community hockey.
Derek Fitzmorris from the Kent Minor Hockey Association has won the 2023 Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) Excellence in Development Award for his decades of dedication to the minor hockey community in the area.
Fitzmorris is being praised for inspiring other coaches and developing players. He’s also being lauded for his innovation and going above and beyond the call of duty.
Travel Director with Kent Minor Hockey Scott Roberts said Fitzsimmons is irreplaceable.
“Derek is extremely valuable to have as a member of Kent Minor Hockey. Whether it be a hockey coach or somebody running skills development. He can help develop coaches within our organization and help develop practice plans for them,” said Roberts.
Vice President of Operations with Kent Minor Hockey Rex Graham said Fitzsimmons is a great coach.
“He was very encouraging. We often times had to explain to parents because they wanted puck involvement at that young age and we just said we’ll get there and we’re making strides towards that and always positive with the players as well,” Graham said.
Fitzmorris has been a coach and an assistant coach with Kent Minor Hockey for over a decade. He started coaching the U7 program and has been on the bench staff all the way to U18 teams.
Fitzmorris has also been involved as a member of the Executive Board for the last several years, taking a lead role in the U9 and below programming.
The association said he was instrumental in Kent’s involvement in the First Shift program, and has helped the association continue with the Breakaway Program, which he organizes and develops.
Breakaway offers 12 weeks of ice time for children six to ten years old that have never been involved in hockey but wish to try it.