If hard work, dedication and longevity are the qualities that make up a true builder of sports, then Joe Tookenay fits the description exceptionally well. First being introduced to the game of hockey as a 7 year old in Schreiber, Joe would go on to dedicate over 40 years to the sport as a player, coach, referee and administrator.
From 1950-67 Joe learned the game by playing for teams along the north shore including Terrace Bay, Schreiber, Nipigon, Red Rock and two seasons with the Fort William Hurricanes. Joe played a few years of old timer hockey with Nipigon, eventually having to hang up his skates in 1984 due to this commitment to the game off the ice.
When his two sons followed in his footsteps and joined the minor hockey league, Joe turned his attention to coaching. Beginning at the Tom-Thumb level he made his way up through the ranks to the Juvenile level, several times coaching two teams per season. In just his first year coaching Juvenile, Joe led the team to victory at the district level going on to represent the Thunder Bay Amateur Hockey Association at the western championships.
Not just limiting himself to coaching, Joe also got heavily involved in the administration of the sport. Active with the Nipigon Minor Hockey Association he served as President from 1971-74 and 1982-84 and was elected to the TBAHA executive as East Zone Director in 1984. Making his way up through the ranks of the TBAHA, Joe spent time as Senior and Junior Hockey convenor, Branch representative for the Centennial Cup and in 1995 was elected President of the TBAHA. This past June, Joe's contributions to hockey in Canada were recognized when he was awarded the Order of Merit by the Canadian Hockey Association.
Joe Tookenay has truly dedicated his life to ensuring that the youth of his community have had the opportunity to participate in the game of hockey. He has said that his motivation to do so is just being able to see the look on the faces of the young players when they have accomplished something in the game.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 28, 1996