National Volunteer Week - Krista Outhwaite

April 19, 2024

During National Volunteer Week, HEO will be sharing stories of some of the incredible volunteers we are so lucky to have involved in hockey in Eastern Ontario. This story features Krista Outhwaite, the former President and Chair of the Board of HEO and current Director with the Board of Hockey Canada.


Q: What volunteer roles have you held within HEO and now with Hockey Canada? Can you briefly describe what you do in these roles.

A: I began my hockey volunteer career as a manager for my son’s team, the SouthEnd Wildcats, in the SouthEnd Minor Hockey Association.  Becoming the team manager is so often the starting point for hockey volunteers.  I enjoyed that role tremendously, in particular helping the coaching staff deliver a great experience for the players and their families throughout the season.

I then joined the executive of the SouthEnd Minor Hockey Association, where I helped implement the organization’s first on-line registration system and for three years, managed the SouthEnd-Ottawa East minor hockey tournament. I learned so much from organizing a tournament from registering and qualifying teams, to recruiting a small army of volunteers, to scheduling round robin and playoff games for 90 teams on seven ice surfaces over two weekends!

Following that, I joined the Ottawa Sting as registrar and then president, an experience which taught me a lot about how to promote a good balance between development and competitiveness.

Next stop was to join Bytown District as its District Chair. Here I came to work with my District Chair colleagues and the HEO Minor executive to plan minor hockey programs across HEO, all the while promoting the interests and needs of Bytown District and its five home associations and three competitive organizations.

While serving in this role, I was asked by Hockey Canada to join a joint HC-HEO committee looking at governance, specifically the roles of HEO and HEO Minor.  My involvement there prompted me to become a Director on the new HEO Board and subsequently the President and Chair of the Board of HEO.  I served in that role until late 2023, when I was elected as a Director to the Board of Hockey Canada.


Q: How did you get involved with volunteering?

A: My dad and I watched the Bruins and the Canadiens battle in the late 60’s, and this is where my passion for the game began. It’s hard to believe I once supported a perennial rival of my beloved Leafs, but that’s the effect Bobby Orr had on all of us at the time.

Living in Toronto in the 90’s meant watching #93 of the Leafs on a regular basis. So with my daughter playing for Kitsilano’s high school girls’ team followed by my son deciding to play minor hockey, I was excited to be around the game.

I grew up in a small community in Nova Scotia, where I learned the value of giving back to the community.  Minor hockey across Canada relies strongly upon its volunteer base to deliver hockey programs for kids, in fact it cannot survive without volunteers.  And so with my son’s taking up minor hockey I found a home within the hockey community.


Q: What has been the most rewarding part about volunteering?

A: I really enjoyed working with volunteers from all walks of life, who share a common goal of giving kids excellent hockey experiences.  It’s also gratifying to me to see my daughter and son also volunteering within the hockey community today, long after their hockey experiences came to an end.


Q: Why do you think others should get involved in volunteering?

A: First and foremost, hockey needs volunteers.  Our kids need us to show up and help shape and deliver these programs — programs that are so important to them, as we particularly saw throughout the pandemic.  These jobs are not always easy — I’m looking at Risk and Safety Directors here — but they are incredibly rewarding at the end of the day. I can tell you that our family still recalls funny moments, moments of accomplishment, challenge, hardship, etc, and we talk about them and cherish them.  Hockey is a great game, with its traditions and its potential for the future.  It helps contribute to making our kids great human beings. Why wouldn’t we all want to be a part of that? 

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