Gayle Payette third vice-president of NOHA

Gayle Payette

M’CHIGEENG – Gayle Payette of M’Chigeeng First Nation, who has been involved in minor hockey for many years, has now taken on the role of third vice president of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association (NOHA).

This comes after she had actually been thinking of stepping back from her hockey responsibilities. “I have been involved in minor hockey for many years,” Ms. Payette told the Recorder late last week. At the NOHA annual meeting, “Oscar Cloutier, who had been the second vice president, resigned and I was told I could put my name in for a vote on this position or step into the third vice-president spot without a vote.”

“I had been trying to step back from my responsibilities in minor hockey,” Ms. Payette said. “I have good knowledge of minor hockey and will advocate for changes for the kids. I decided to take on this position for a year, to finish of the term. But I also said, knowing me I will continue—when it comes to kids and helping them out I can’t say no.”

Ms. Payette said she has been involved in minor hockey for over 20 years, noting her involvement in the Manitoulin Minor Hockey Association, M’Chigeeng Minor Hockey Association, with the Manitoulin Panthers in the Nickel District Hockey League, NOHA board of directors consulate and the Little Native Hockey League. Since 2012, she has been a member of the NOHA executive board. She served as the council director for District 7, an area which includes Manitoulin Island all the way up to Blind River.

Kevin Eshkawkogan of Little Current is the NOHA’s new District 7 council director. 

In addition to mentoring one or two directors, Ms. Payette will be attending regular meetings at the NOHA office in North Bay, and is expected to serve on a couple of the association’s committees. This past season, she was on the NOHA’s player development and referee committees.

She will also be more involved in Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF, the governing body for most of the hockey associations in the province) meetings, she told the Recorder. 

Ms. Payette first got involved in hockey because her husband Mike was working as a referee, and she became even more involved in hockey as her son Mitch started playing hockey and began moving up the ranks to the AAA level. 

“I always said if we had a kid who was involved in hockey then I had to get involved as well,” said Ms. Payette. “When it comes to kids, it’s important help out with things like fundraising for the teams they are playing on.” She noted that Terry Jarmovitch, who was involved with the Manitoulin Panthers, was a mentor, “was a strong voice for kids and kids’ hockey. Debbie Debassige, who is involved in sports, education and kids; and Randy Thibault was a good example to follow, as is my husband Mike who got involved in minor hockey with his refereeing.”