Big name announced for awards banquet

The Sports Council of Red Deer is bringing in a big name for this year’s Community Sport Awards.

St. Louis Blues assistant coach and Innisfail native Ray Bennett has been announced as the keynote speaker for the Feb. 26th banquet.

“When first asked to be a part of this event, it certainly hit home for me,” Bennett said in a release.

“In every sense, I am a product of the grass roots sports system. I grew up in Innisfail, played organized youth baseball, minor hockey, and high school football. I also played high school rugby, tennis and took advantage of any organization or public facility I could to play, including as much pond, road and grass hockey as my mom would allow. I’ve been so very fortunate in my professional career to get to be able to work in hockey and coach for going on 27 years.”

The Community Sports Awards honour deserving athletes, coaches and volunteers from Central Alberta every year, and Bennett is thrilled that he can be a part of it.

“I never played pro hockey, but through the opportunities I had as a youth, I was able to hold the belief I could work in a sport I loved,” said Bennett.

“I was exposed to incredible adult direction and support from my parents, coaches, mentors, and friends. It always seemed there was someone willing to share their knowledge and experience and push and prod when necessary. These people were those who saw the benefit of a strong grass roots sports system. Those people existed 100 years ago for me, and thankfully, they still exist for the local kids in the Red Deer area. I am honoured, and humbled to have this opportunity.”

The deadline to nominate an athlete, coach or volunteer for an award is fast approaching.

Nominations must be in by January 21st, with forms available at