The legacy of Mike Dodd, a long-time local reporter and supporter of minor sports in Orillia, will live on in a way that would have brought a smile to the well-known scribe's face.
Dodd, who died earlier this year, left a “significant donation” to the Orillia Minor Hockey Association.
That donation has enabled the local association to establish The Mike Dodd Orillia Minor Hockey Foundation, in partnership with Team Micks, says Steve Fagan, the president of the Orillia minor hockey organization.
The Foundation was established to help local youth by reducing the cost of playing hockey through a needs-based award, Fagan explained.
Beginning next year, at least two local players will be able to apply to the Foundation to obtain financial assistance with their registration fees.
“We hope that as the Foundation becomes more established, we can grow the number of youth who can benefit from Mike's generosity and the key support of Team Micks,” said Fagan.
“Orillia Minor Hockey is incredibly grateful to Mike Dodd for sparking the creation of this Foundation,” said Fagan.
“We welcome Team Micks' support and invite others to join us to increase the Foundation's endowment and remove barriers to playing this great game we all love so much,” he said.
Dodd, whose name was synonymous with local sports and writing the stories of his beloved Orillia, died in January after a life-long battle with myriad health issues in January. He was 62.
As a kid, he was a goalie when he played house league hockey.
As an adult, he wrote stories and took photos of every hockey team that played locally - from tykes to national champion Jr. A teams; he had a life-long love of Canada’s national winter sport.
It wasn’t always easy. He required multiple stitches after getting stepped on by a skate during a brawl between the Orillia Travelways and Newmarket when tempers boiled over in the dressing room area in the basement of the old Community Centre in the early 1980s.
He was also there later to chronicle the magical moment when that Travelways team captured a national title on a muggy May day in 1985 in that same fabled arena.
Adam Lewis, a star player from that team, said Dodd was one of the first people he met when he came to Orillia in 1983.
“He was a fantastic writer and a better person," Lewis told OrilliaMatters after Dodd died.
More information about the Mike Dodd Foundation will be available on Orillia Minor Hockey’s website.