Al Scott and several other retirees from the Innisfail Pontiacs Midget Team of 1962-63 have established the Larry Reid Memorial Coaching Development Fund which will benefit the Innisfail Minor Hockey Association. (Contributed photo)

Fund to support Innisfail hockey coaches reaches first goal

A former Innisfail midget hockey coach’s impact has stretched from coast to coast, and a fund in his honour has surpassed an early goal.

Larry Reid coached the Innisfail Pontiacs in 1962-63. Two of his former players, Al Scott and Vern Fox (who live in Nova Scotia and B.C. respectively) are behind a memorial fund to provide financial support to coaching initiatives in the Central Alberta community.

Last year they launched the Larry Reid Memorial Coaching Development Fund, setting a preliminary goal of raising $50,000. So far, they have raised $58,175 and are well on their way to supporting programs for the Innisfail Minor Hockey Association.

“The fund will have a really positive impact on Innisfail minor hockey and their coaching,” said Scott. “That was the goal from the time we started fund.

“We only had Larry for one year, but he really instilled a lot of values in us such as work ethic and doing things right. We did pretty well.”

Through the fund’s first contribution of $1,375, four coaching enhancement projects were supported during the 2017-18 season.

Randy Graham, Innisfail Minor Hockey Association’s director of coach and player development, said the initiatives had an immediate impact.

“IMHA brought home a couple of league championships this past season and amazingly, three of our teams captured provincial zone titles and represented IMHA at Provincials,” said Graham. “This has never been accomplished before.”

After his midget hockey days, Scott embarked on a career in teaching physical education while Fox went into finance.

“He was a great believer in education,” said Fox. “He’d talk with guys about that and tell them to go and get an education and use midget hockey as a stepping stone for your education.”

Reid worked for 20 years in the development of minor hockey in Innisfail as a player and coach with the Innisfail Eagles. The 1962-63 midget Pontiacs made the finals of the Central Alberta Midget Championship that year, a major accomplishment for a town of roughly 2,500 people at the time. In 2007, he was recognized by Hockey Alberta as one of the top 100 contributors to hockey in Alberta. Reid died in 2016.

“It’s our hope that this money will make Innisfail Minor Hockey better and better as the coaches get better and better,” said Scott.

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