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Powell River Regals honour longtime trainer

Ceremony highlights contributions of Dennis Dyer
RESPECTED REGALS: [From left] Dennis Dyer and his wife Jo, and Cliff Milne with his wife Jenny at a function in Dwight Hall. Dennis and Cliff were major contributors to the longevity and success of the Powell River Regals hockey club.

At a ceremony between games last night (March 28) at the 2024 Coy Cup tournament hosted by Powell River Regals, the club honoured two late members of the organization whose contributions were felt for decades. Narratives were provided by the daughter of Dennis Dyer and the sister of Cliff Milne for the ceremony, which were also shared with the Peak.

Dyer was the club’s longtime trainer and an integral part of multiple provincial and national championships, in addition to being a member of the team’s executive. He was heavily involved in planning for hosting previous Coy Cup, Savage Cup (provincial AAA trophy) and Allan Cup (national AAA trophy) tournaments held at Powell River Recreation Complex. The narrative below was written by Dyer's daughter, Jenni.

Hockey became Dennis Dyer’s unintentional love and number one hobby through his adult life. He never grew-up playing hockey. His humble beginnings and transient upbringing never allowed him to play organized sports.

Dennis’s love for hockey began when he moved to Powell River with his new bride, Jo, at age 18. Dennis accepted a job at MacMillan Bloedel and it didn’t take long for him to see that hockey was a big deal here, for both players and fans.

He once recalled trying to get tickets to a big game at Willingdon Arena, the Regals versus Quebec. Wanting to make sure he got a ticket, Dennis stood in line waiting for them to go on sale. As the ticket booth opened, eager fans rushed the booth and he was unsuccessful in getting a ticket. That didn’t stop him from pursuing hockey culture in Powell River.

Some of Dennis’ workmates encouraged him to try playing, so he joined the Log Pond Hockey Team. Having never played, he didn’t have the basic skills down just yet. He couldn’t stop or skate backward, but he didn’t care.

Jo recalls going to watch, admitting there were times she wished she could crawl under the seat as Dennis took the goalie and net down in an attempt to stop or would just run straight into the boards. However, this was not competitive hockey, and he was having the time of his life!

Dennis’ true hockey calling came around 1980 when he was given the opportunity to help in the dressing room of the Powell River Regals, assisting Frank Sutton with equipment and trainer duties. This was the beginning of a true passion for Dennis, who was referred to as “Denny” by his hockey community.

Helping behind the scenes allowed for friendly banter, joking around and friendships to form, all while getting a front row seat to the game he had fallen in love with. Being on the bench and in the action was right where Denny wanted to be, fuelling his desire to be part of the team while helping friends and his community.

The Regals organization had a faithful committed volunteer who would do whatever was needed, no matter how much time was required, for nearly 40 years. This commitment was not without reward, for which Dennis was enormously grateful.

As a valued member of the Regals, Denny had the opportunity to travel far and wide, visiting multiple communities throughout BC and Alberta, Nova Scotia, Alaska, Eastern Europe and Japan.

There were many proud moments Denny shared as a Regal member, but two most definitely stood out: representing Team Canada in Nagano, Japan, and being inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame. Both experiences were highlights of his life. However, these accomplishments were the cherry on top so to speak.

His family can assure you that he loved the everyday moments in the dressing room, the comradery and friendships more than anything. This was what drove him to keep going to the rink day in and day out.

Denny loved this club as much as it loved him. Heart and Soul, a Regal forever.

The narrative written by Milne's sister, Joyce Carlson, is available here. The 2024 Coy Cup semi-final game takes place tonight (Friday, March 29) at Hap Parker Arena. Saturday’s championship game also starts at 7:30 pm.

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