For Nick DeHoog that individual was Ab Weeks.
“I will always remember him,” said DeHoog, 64, of his Edmonton minor hockey league coach who died many years ago. “ He coached me for about six or seven years, from mites up and he was a true gentlemen He did so much for us guys that I will never forget. He was like a father image for us. So I said when I got older and if ever the opportunity to coach or whatever came about, I would give back to the community.”
Born November 15, 1942 in Holland, DeHoog immigrated to Canada with his parents and eight brothers in 1951.DeHoog also brought to Canada, even at a young age, the passion for the sport of soccer.Such was his prowess that 16 years later in 1967, he was selected to the Top 25 for the Canadian national team competing at the 1967 Pan-Am Games held in Winnipeg, Manitoba.”I didn’t make the final cuts because I banged up my knee a bit and I was also working up in Yellowknife at the time and there really wasn’t that much soccer going on up there,” recalls DeHoog, who only a few years prior had been a member of an Edmonton senior men’s team that won the Western Canadian Soccer League championship.Arriving in Fort McMurray in 1969, to manage Pacific Western Airlines, DeHoog continued playing soccer along with hockey while also “dabbling” in baseball. He also coached various minor local sports teams for the next 30 years.. His hockey background prior to moving to Fort McMurray included a tryout with the Edmonton Oil Kings playing out of the Central Alberta Hockey League.
The highlight of his senior men’s hockey career was in the selection to play one game as part of Team Canada in an 1978 oldtimers tournament in Copenhagen. DeHoog was the only player on the team that had not played professional hockey. This love for sport is also found in his commitment for helping others for which he has been elected in the Builder Category within the Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. In the early 1980s’ he started volunteering for the fledging Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, “I did anything they wanted me to do.” Then in 1993 he stepped up to the plate an was elected President of the Oil Barons and has been reelected every year since. I feel very proud that I have had some hand in building character and assisting in getting an education for these kids (Oil Barons players),” says DeHoog. “They come to us usually as kids and leave as young men….hopefully with a scholarship and an education to a USA college or even a chance to attend a Canadian college.”
Retired since 2002, DeHoog has no plans of slowing down: “As long as they keep reelecting me President…I’m not moving away from Fort McMurray because I love it.”
- His role as President of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League since 1992. Assisting to make it one of the most stable franchises in Canadian Junior A Hockey.
- Coaching various local sports teams in baseball, soccer, hockey from 1969 – 19997.
- Providing a positive attitude and promoting the community
Comments from Nick DeHoog on being selected to the Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame:
“When I first heard about it (Wood Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame) I thought they would be picking the (local) people that went on to professional ranks or Olympics. To be chosen as a local boy who raised his family here and worked here it is very humbling and a honour. “
“I might have the title (President of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons) but there are a lot of people that make this go. Without all the supporting people over the years I would be no where. You need true support from the rest of the community.”
Comments from Fort McMurray Sports Hall of Fame Society president Curtis J. Phillips:
“Nick (DeHoog) is an excellent selection in the builder category as he exemplifies what we are all about…for nearly 40 years he has gone above and beyond in achieving not only extraordinary distinction to the development and advancement of sport but in enriching our community as a whole.”
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