Gow’s Home Hardware Recognizes Giving Back- Devan Naugler and Julie Vissers

The South Shore is known for their volunteer spirit. In communities all across this area there are hundreds of people giving back in some way each and every week and making a difference in people’s lives. They are fire-fighting, teaching, entertaining, raising money, driving, cooking, serving and more. Volunteerism is a vital part to building and maintaining our healthy communities and healthy lives. Once a month we feature someone on the South Shore who is volunteering their time in some way to make our community and lives stronger.

Simple Local Life and Gow’s Home Hardware are proud to recognize this month’s “Giving Back” Recipients...Devan Naugler and Julie Vissers.

Giving Back
Photo by Heidi Jirotka Photography

Devan,  with his wife Julie’s support,  founded the Gary L. Wentzell March Break Hockey Tournament and continues as Tournament Chair.  Held on the South Shore, the Gary L. Wentzell Tournament has consistently grown to over 50 teams each year for the past five years, making it one of the largest rural hockey tournaments east of Toronto and bringing in $2,000,000 in revenue.

Can you tell us how the Gary L. Wentzell Tournament got started and what is involved as a volunteer?

Devan: Nine years ago, the minor hockey team that I was coaching did not have a tournament to attend during March Break. So, I reached out to some of the contacts that I made during the season and came up with a 4 team Atom B tournament that was held at Bridgewater Memorial Arena.
Things went so well with the four team tournament, that we attempted to grow it the following season by adding another division.
As a volunteer for the tournament, I recruit teams, development advertising, social media, fund raise, schedule games at three different facilities and book on and off ice officials.

For me, much of this ability to pull off a tournament this size comes naturally I guess. I understand that I have been fortunate enough over the years to have some very supportive parents who helped to get this tournament off the ground and running. It has been incredible to see this tournament grow to where it is today. Some of those individuals are still with our organizing committee to this day. 

Julie: For the tournament I’m mostly the gofer/fill in person. I help Devan with the prep prior to the tournament – getting tickets ready, 50/50 tickets ready to go, filling in the game sheets so they’re ready. During the tournament I fill in wherever I’m needed – selling t-shirts, 50/50, jersey tickets, getting supplies, rolling change, directing and answering questions for teams.

What is it that compels you to volunteer in our community?

Devan: I remember all of the coaches who had a positive impact on my life as I was growing up. So, if I have the ability to positively affect a young persons life because of my time spent volunteering and coaching sport in our communities, it will make all of that time invested, well spent. A lot of what I do, I do  for the kids. The way I look at it  is this: “If we are fortunate enough to enable our children the opportunity to play this wonderful sport, ​the better chance we have of keeping them out of trouble.” The cost of hockey is much less than the cost of a lawyer.

Julie: We enjoy hosting a tournament – it’s awesome to see how proud our home teams are playing on their own turf and the ability to have so many friends and families watch their teams play is really exciting!

Devan and Julie have little free time, but they both enjoy weekend getaways with their kids, and Devan enjoys time at the gym and softball in the summer. Julie enjoys trips to the beach and just being together as a family.

Thank you Devan and Julie for all that you do and for giving back to the community!

Giving Back

The 2018 Gary L Wentzell March Break Hockey Tournament runs from March 14-18, 2018 at the following locations: the LCLC in Bridgewater, the Lunenburg Arena in Lunenburg and Queens Place in Liverpool​. Teams are coming from Glace Bay to Yarmouth

Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the tournament program. This support enables them to provide the tournament at an affordable price which attracts teams from away to spend money in our local economy:
$150 – Business Card size ad
$250 – 1/2 Page Ad
$400 – Full Page Ad

You can contact Devan with any sponsorship inquiries for this years tournament.

Founded in 1848, Gow’s has been serving the residents of Bridgewater as one of the oldest established businesses in the community. Gow’s Home Hardware is the proud sponsor of the “Giving Back” profile.

Do you know someone who “Gives Back”? Please consider nominating someone here so we can recognize them and also their organization.

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