2018 Honorary Chairs- Debbie Cooper & John Doyle
With a diverse history that includes participating in 9 Canadian National Fast Pitch Championships along with a second-place performance at the NB Scott’s Tournament of Hearts, Debbie Cooper has committed more than five decades to being an athlete, coach and leader in the Saint John sports community. Apart from being a curler, softball, hockey, volleyball and basketball player, she’s also taken on many administrative and leadership positions with countless local sport associations. Debbie was an Organizer and Past-President of the Saint John Women’s Volleyball League as well as having been a Co-Founder of the Saint John Women’s Hockey League.
The interesting and truly unique quality about Debbie’s tenure is that it’s rooted in a sense of service. Debbie is quick to point out that she has used her time in athletics to honor her past coaches. “It all comes from the love of the game and a way to pay it forward to all those coaches that were so good to me,” Debbie adds.
Debbie’s leadership is noted both in and outside the confines of the athletics world. She’s been honored with the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award as well as being inducted into the Softball NB Sports Hall of Fame. Debbie was also selected as a City of Saint John’s Community Torchbearer for the Vancouver Olympics torch run in 2009, named the City of Saint John’s “Sportsperson of the Year” in 1983 and was the Venue Manager for Softball for the 1985 Canada Summer Games.
Off the playing fields, Debbie has been a longtime advocate for children & youth. She spent 26 years with the Saint John Boys and Girls Club as Executive Director before moving onto the Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada as Regional Director, Maritimes
Anyone who meets John Doyle is instantly struck by his infectious optimism. A firm believer that everyone can make a difference, no matter the context, John’s enthusiasm has made him a fixture of the Saint John sports community.
For decades, John’s dedication to athletics has been felt as player, coach and manager. His interest in the sport of basketball started at the YMCA and the Rotary Boys and Girls Club and culminated in his being a member of the Assumption Canadian Juvenile Championship Boys’ Basketball Team. He later was a great supporter and fan of his son Greg’s high school and university basketball teams. John and his late friend, Rip Seeley, were named “Honorary Saints” for their support of St. Malachy’s basketball program. John was also awarded the Honorary #1 Fan Award from UNBSJ’s Men’s & Women’s Basketball Teams in 2005. More recently John has become a familiar face at the Saint John Sea Dogs and Rip Tide games.
Off the court, John has been a long serving member of the community. Having been a member of the Kiwanis Club of Saint John for more than 40 years, John’s commitment has led to his being awarded the Mel Osborne Award for Outstanding Contribution & the 2012-2013 Human & Spiritual Value Award from Kiwanis, along with Canada 125 Award, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and was named a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Club.
Outside of his community involvement, John has had a long career in funeral services and is currently the Vice-President of Brenan’s Funeral Homes. He is active in caring for the families of the Saint John area, having never seen this as a “job” but rather his life’s calling.