RED DEER – Mike Klass passed away on Sunday, November 5 at the age of 51.
Mike was a staff member at Hockey Alberta for more than nine years, and his passing leaves an indelible mark on the organization.
“I was lucky and honoured to know Mike as a colleague and close friend. It’s not what was on his job description that defined Mike, it’s the heart and soul that he brought to our organization and every group that he was part of. Mike was one of those people who did so much more than what he was asked. He truly defined our vision, Hockey for Life, and I will miss our day-to-day interactions greatly,” said Rob Litwinski, CEO of Hockey Alberta.
Mike showcased his pride in Hockey Alberta and his dedication to leave the game in a better place in everything he did.
He joined Hockey Alberta in August 2014 as Manager of Internal Alignment. A year later he shifted to Senior Manager, Business Operations, and then progressed to Director, Business Operations in 2018. Recently, he had transitioned to Director, Corporate Services.
During his time at Hockey Alberta, Mike worked closely with the CEO and the Board as part of the executive leadership team. He assisted in the organization’s revised business plan, participated in rebuilding the Hockey Alberta Foundation business plan, and recruited and maintained sponsors and partners over the past five years. He oversaw the financial services, risk management and human resources areas of the organization.
Mike also led a number of projects that had significant impact on the hockey community throughout the province. Those projects included the implementation of renewals of Respect in Sport certification for parents, background screening for on-ice officials, and Hockey Alberta’s move to its current offices in the Gary W. Harris Centre.
But it was as a co-worker and friend that Mike will be best remembered. Whether it was delivering a bag of children’s clothing to a co-worker with young kids, providing advice on how to deal with a difficult situation, or helping organize social activities, Mike cared about his colleagues at Hockey Alberta.
MIKE AT HOCKEY ALBERTA – PHOTO GALLERY >
Outside of Hockey Alberta, Mike had a lifelong passion for sports that permeated everything in his life, from his work to his volunteer and community involvement. He was a player, teammate, and coach, as well as a mentor, volunteer, and community leader. He was particularly interested in providing sport and community involvement opportunities in the central Alberta region.
Prior to joining Hockey Alberta, Mike worked for eight years as the Executive Director for the Alberta Sport Development Centre – Central.
He had a key role, starting in 2012, on the Board of Directors of the Bid Host group that brought the 2019 Canada Winter Games to Red Deer. After Red Deer was named the host in 2014, Mike continued as part of the transition team, leading to the creation of the board of directors for the Games. The building of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre was a significant part of the Games legacy in the community.
Mike also was a founding board member and treasurer for Coach Alberta (2010-11), and a founding board member of the Sport Council of Red Deer.
Mike was born in Edmonton before moving to Strasbourg, Saskatchewan as a boy. He attended SIAST – Kelsey Campus in Saskatoon where he completed his Diploma in Recreation and Leisure Studies in 1992. He remained in Saskatoon for several years, where he met and married his wife, Cheryl. Mike and Cheryl moved to Hay River, Northwest Territories, for two years before settling in Red Deer in 2002.
Together they had two sons, Kai and Parker. Mike shared his love of sport with his boys. Often coaching or watching them play the sports they loved, watching a game on TV together or doing an activity with them. Mike loved his family and had a “Dad joke” for everything.
Mike is remembered by his wife Cheryl; sons Kai and Parker; mother Heather Schaeffer; sister, Melanie Loroff; brother-in-law, Corey Loroff; nieces Jaden and Erika Loroff; brother, Scott Klass (Gabrielle), nieces Myelle and Cambrie; fur baby Archie; and numerous cousins, uncles, aunts, in-laws, and friends.
A celebration of Mike’s life was held on Tuesday, November 14 at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre at Red Deer Polytechnic, in the Fas Gas – On The Run Gymnasium. To honour Mike, the congregation wore their favourite sports jersey. If you were unable to attend in person, the service was livestreamed via YouTube:
Celebration of Life Livestream >
Memorial donations may be made directly to:
Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed at www.parklandfuneralhome.com.
OBITUARY FOR MIKE KLASS >