BISHOP’S FALLS, NL – When the focus was on them, the latest inductees into the Broomball Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame deflected all attention to the sport they love so dearly.
On Saturday night at the Knights of Columbus hall in Bishop’s Falls, locals Dexter Hoffe and Kirk McDonald took their place among the broomball greats in this province when they were inducted into the sport’s hall of fame.
Instead of talking about their personal accolades and team achievements, both gentlemen urged broomball centres across the province to promote junior programs to ensure the sport has a future.
It came as no surprise that Gary Pardy, a Bishop’s Falls native who grew up playing junior broomball, introduced the two men.
“I question if there has been anyone who has been a better definition of a generational broomball player than Kirk McDonald from Bishop’s Falls,” said Pardy. “Playing for decades with the by’s from Bishop’s, his competitiveness, desire to win, ability to elevate his team and lead by example were only a few of Kirk’s exceptional traits. He did whatever it took for his team to win.
“Dexter gave more to broomball in Bishop’s Falls than anyone will truly know,” Pardy continued, now speaking about Hoffe. “His efforts were truly unmatched and his commitment to building the sport in Bishop’s Falls was unprecedented. If it were not for the time, effort, blood, sweat and tears, the success of the Bishop’s Falls Junior Broomball program would not have achieved what it has without Mr. Dexter Hoffe.”
Hoffe — along with others like McDonald and Rob Temple — were vital forces in implementing and continuing junior girls’ and boys’ programs in Bishop’s Falls. The junior boys went on to win numerous provincial titles and made multiple appearances at junior nationals.
McDonald can easily be considered one of the best broomball players of his time. He was the centerpiece of championship winning men’s teams from Bishop’s in 1998, 2000, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014, and represented the province at the national and world levels.
“It hit the heart…it’s unbelievable,” said Hoffe, moments after the ceremony. “All of the work we’ve done with the juniors to give back to the sport we love, and now we’re seeing the payoff because several of the junior players we coached played here over the weekend (at provincials). It just hits the heart. It’s overwhelming, actually.”
“When you see that, it makes the sport mean so much more,” added McDonald, talking about the fact so many of the juniors they once coached are competing today. “When you take a kid and show them how to play it, then they go on to love it and embrace it as much as you do, that makes everything mean so much more.”
The two new hall of famers said all of the countless fundraising and planning was for the sport and to do what they could to grow junior programs, as well as put competitive senior teams on the ice.
“There’s no sport like broomball,” said McDonald.
“The broomball community is like family,” added Hoffe. “The support we get here is simply unbelievable. Broomball is such an amazing, tight-knit community and we both feel honoured to be part of it.”