Posted by: alexhickey | April 12, 2019

Dorothy Hickey Presented with NL Soccer Award of Merit 2019 © Alex Hickey

It was one of those mornings in February, cold, a bit snowy and barely daylight.  My steaming hot coffee was slowly cooling as I busied with a few things around the kitchen. CBC radio’s Morning Show was chattering away in the background, moving from interview to interview then the news. I wasn’t paying much attention.  Then, like a prick from a needle, my attention was drawn immediately to the voice.  I was certain I’d heard the name, “Dorothy Hickey”!

Dorothy Hickey accepting NL Soccer Award of Merin April 2019

Dorothy Hickey, NL Soccer Recipient 2019 Award of Meri

The volume button doesn’t work on that device therefore I had to find the remote to turn it up.  By that time the news report had finished and the latest weather forecast was underway.   But I did hear the word soccer.  That was enough to know the announcer was referring to a woman who has dedicated over forty years to the advancement of soccer in Canada. The next day the Telegram carried a news story about the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association recognizing her for her outstanding contribution to the sport.  Here’s what I read about Dorothy or “Dot” as she is known to some.

“Hickey has worked for Canada Soccer for more than 40 years, and during that time has overseen the growth and development of the Toyota national championships. She has been instrumental in managing the air travel for teams traveling to the competition and has worked across numerous international matches in Canada.

Hickey has been staff support to the Youth Committee and Senior Amateur Committee which amalgamated into the Competitions Committee. She is also a recipient of both the Canada Soccer Award of Merit and Canada Soccer President’s Award.”

That’s when I learned she had received the Canadian Soccer Association National Award of Merit back in 1998.  A year later she was honoured with the Canadian Soccer President’s Award.  That award provides “recognition and appreciation to a person’s outstanding and unique efforts for an extended period of time, resulting in the positive and constructive development at the national level across Canada. The award winner is selected solely at the discretion of Canada Soccer’s President.” (CSA Site)

The President’s Award was given for organizing the Annual Meeting on short notice and at the same time working on the Canada Cup in Edmonton which included teams from Guatemala and Ecuador. Well done and a secret well-kept at that!

Award of Merit, NL Soccer, 2019

The 2019 award is special. This is the inaugural year for the award and is given as an acknowledgement of the deep respect the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association has for Dorothy’s contribution to soccer nationally and especially for the her efforts to encourage and further the work of the Newfoundland and Labrador organization at the national level.  It is always nice when your peers turn to you and say, “Well done! We appreciate your work on our behalf.”  It is nice to hear in your immediate place of work but when your work is on the national level it is especially sweet to hear from your home province.

When asked about the most memorable game, out of the many she worked, Dorothy hesitated, then, with confidence said: “The Men’s International Friendly on June 5, 1994 – Canada vs Brazil. The Cup was hosted in the United States that year. It was a friendly game played in Canada prior to the start of the main cup event.  At that time, the home stadium for Canadian Soccer was Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. The game was played before a crowd of 52,000 people.  It was probably the most exciting game that I ever worked.   It was amazing to see so many Canadian fans in one place. The final score was 1-1.   The stadium exploded when Eddy Berdusco scored for Canada in the 69th minute to tie the game.”

She speaks highly of Lorraine Miller, the lady who hired her to work at Canada Soccer after finishing her studies in Office Administration at Algonquin College.  She says with pride, “We have been friends ever since.   I worked with Lorraine for over 30 years. She was the driving force in my advancement to become the Competitions Manager here.”

Dorothy, daughter of Pat and Patricia (Farrell) Hickey, hails from St. Jacques. That’s not a well-kept secret, for anyone between St. John’s and Vancouver who has ever met her is told in no uncertain terms that she is from St. Jacques, Newfoundland.  It was evident during the presentation ceremonies at the Shriner’s Club in St. John’s on April 5th that Dorothy commands a presence in soccer circles. Her job with Soccer Canada is Competitions Manager and as such has regular contact with folks across this wide nation.  Anyone who knows her is quite aware that she is no pushover when it comes to programming and expecting everyone to carry their share yet over and over it was obvious that there’s a soft spot in her heart for her home province. Thus it was fitting that she be on the receiving end of this prodigious award given during the Hall of Fame Induction and Provincial Awards Night.

Here’s what the program had to say about her:

When Dorothy Hickey left her home town of St. Jacques at the head of Fortune Bay to seek her fame and fortune, little did she know the impact she would have on one of the largest sports governing bodies in Canada. Ottawa and Canada Soccer would never be the same.

For more than forty years, her outgoing, friendly and sometime authoritative style captured the attention of all who managed to come into her presence. From the get go, you knew this woman had your back and that she was there for you.

In her years with Canada Soccer, Dorothy has handled various roles within the soccer community.  Her most noteworthy role has been managing the logistics for competitions, both nationally and internationally. For us at NLSA, she has been a resource extraordinaire.  If you had a question or problem pertaining to soccer, if she didn’t have the answer off the top of her head, she directed you to where you could find the answer.

Over the years, our office staff and executive personnel who deal with Canada Soccer on a regular basis, have nothing but praise for her knowledge and extraordinary willingness to assist you with your concerns.

Dorothy’s outstanding abilities have not gone unrecognized.  Canada Soccer, over the years, has certainly realized the contribution she has made to soccer across the country.  For her commitment and dedication to the development and promoting of the game, Canada Soccer has honoured her with two of its highest honours.

On the evening of April 5th in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Brian Murphy of the Newfoundland Soccer Association, introduced the Award of Merit recipient in this way:

“A person whose character or conduct deserves reward or honour certainly fits the description of our next award recipient.  Whether it was solving problems, providing direction, or lending a shoulder to lean on there was always a little extra for those of us from home.”

Dorothy, as she has been all her life, was to the point and direct in her acceptance of the award. She said:

“I’ll keep this really short. I’d like to thank the Newfoundland Soccer Association for this award, especially Doug and Jeff. You guys have been great

over the years.

When I started with Canada Soccer I hadn’t planned on staying this long. I was just trying to build up enough money to go to Vancouver. Over my forty plus years I have met a lot of really great people from this province, especially those like Doug Redmond, Jeff Babstock, Brian Murphy, Bob Antle, Bob Miller, Ben Lake and others. I was very fortunate when I went to the Competitions Committee for I had two really great people from this province to support me as my chairs – Angus Barret and Judy Kelloway.  They provided great support for me through the National Club Championships and provided advice to me on lots of contentious issues we have had to deal with over the years. I would really like to thank my partner Steve, who unfortunately couldn’t be here tonight, who has provided me lots and lots of support. Thank you Newfoundland Soccer.”

I sat at the table with Dot alongside her brother Don and in the company of Judi Kelloway, a member of the NLSA Hall of Fame and also a recipient of the CSA’s Award of Merit, as well as Angus Barrett, a member of the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame and an NLSA Honorary Life Member, along with their spouses, among others.

When she was being presented with the Award I remembered hearing her name that morning back in February.  It made me think of how special the people are that you grow up with in your hometown.  Out of the blue, you hear a name and it captures your attention;

You respond to it by remembering the person. What you don’t know most of the time is what that person has been doing all those years.  Sometimes you are privileged to find out such as with Dorothy.  Like most of us who leave our small communities to establish careers, she didn’t set out to become one of the top administrative people in this august organization, Soccer Canada. Nor, I am sure, did she expect to become known throughout the country and internationally for her contributions to soccer.  Yet, she has and her peers from coast-to-coast gratefully acknowledge all that she has invested.  Despite all of the recognition from elsewhere, the recognition of people from ‘home’ makes the smile last longer.

Canada Soccer

Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. Congratulations DOROTHY,you have brought much honor to the province and most of all,ST.JACQUES,i am sure the people there are very proud of you.

  2. Congrats Dot from all of your cousins in Nova Scotia and we are all proud to say that we are proud of your Province. See you in the summer time.

  3. Well written Alex! I can attest to Dorothy’s very dedicated efforts and hard work for the association and the game of soccer. I’ve had the privilege of knowing Dorothy for only 15 years and can say she is one of the best. She is certainly at the top for being one of the most knowledgeable persons involved in the game in Canada. It was always special when seeing Dorothy at a national championship, especially when she visited us in Cape Breton when we hosted.
    Sincerely,
    Ken MacLean,
    Chair, Canada Soccer Hall of Fame
    Former CSA Competiins Chair, and former Pres of Soccer NS.


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