RED DEER - To celebrate National Volunteer Week, Hockey Alberta is shining the spotlight on a handful of volunteers who make a huge impact on the sport in Alberta.
More volunteer profiles can be found on Hockey Alberta’s Volunteer Appreciation page.
Karyn Fanstone - Brooks
Although hockey is already a full-time job for Karyn Fanstone, she still takes the time to give back to the game any chance she can get.
Since moving to Alberta from Manitoba in 2015, Karyn has been heavily involved in hockey in the province as both an Athletic Therapist and Equipment Manager. She is currently the Athletic Therapist for the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, a position she’s held since 2017, and previously worked for the Drayton Valley Thunder and the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
Karyn has also been an avid volunteer with Hockey Alberta since 2015, having been a part of the Team Alberta program in just about every capacity. She’s served as an Athletic Therapist at all three Team Alberta events: the Alberta Cup, Alberta Challenge, and Prospects Cup, as well as with Team Alberta U16 Male on numerous occasions. Her work with the U16 program includes back-to-back WHL Cup Championships in 2015 and 2016, and a bronze medal the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.
She has also volunteered at the Team Alberta U18 Female Summer Camp, leaving serving as Athletic Therapist for a competition on the female side as the only checkmark missing from Karyn’s Team Alberta bucket list.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity to kind of get my name out with hockey (in Alberta),” she said. “Ever since my first camp, my hockey family has grown exponentially, and getting to work with kids, and be a part of their process as they develop and accomplish their goals, as cheesy as it sounds, it’s an indescribable feeling.”
Karyn said even though her initial reason for volunteering was to network and get a feel for the game in Alberta, it’s become so much more than that for her.
“Volunteering is the opportunity to do what I absolutely love, and use that to help others reach their goals,” said Karyn. “I had lots people when I was up-and-coming and still in school who took that extra time to mentor me to make sure I felt comfortable with what I was doing and learning, and to be able to be that person for other people is my goal.”
Tony Jacobsen - Grande Prairie
Anthony (Tony) Jacobsen has been a committed volunteer in Grande Prairie since 2011.
Tony has coached all levels of minor hockey over the last 10 years, from U7 to U15. The relationships and connections that Tony has built are what he enjoys most about coaching.
“It’s a pretty cool learning experience overall,” said Tony. “There are a lot of people that you’re dealing with like parents, other teams, coaches, and dealing with a lot of kids. I would say volunteering is a great learning experience for anybody.”
The Jacobsens are a big hockey family with three kids playing with Grande Prairie Minor Hockey and Deunne, Tony’s wife, coaching on the female side. During his time coaching, Tony is proud to have been able to see his players grow and develop.
“You know what’s really rewarding? Recently I was on the ice with the U15 group. These are kids that are my kid’s age and I coached them back in novice, and when I watch them skate around, all of them can skate better than I can and all of them are playing heads up high-level hockey. That’s really cool when you had a little tiny hand in that,” said Tony.
Tony won the Grande Prairie Minor Hockey Association (GPMHA) Recreation Coach of the Year in 2016 and continues to serve the community as a coach in Grande Prairie.