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Provincial ringette honour for long-time volunteer

The timing was just about perfect for Keith Sullivan. On the day he retired after 38 years as a millwright at Prince George Pulp and Paper, the 60-year-old Sullivan received word Thursday he's won the B.C. Ringette president's award.

The timing was just about perfect for Keith Sullivan.

On the day he retired after 38 years as a millwright at Prince George Pulp and Paper, the 60-year-old Sullivan received word Thursday he's won the B.C. Ringette president's award.

Sullivan will receive his award March 31 in Richmond.

"Needless to say, I'm honoured and humbled by it," said Sullivan. "You don't go in it for stuff like that, you go in it for the kids and a good time. I still have a good time with it."

He must, because he coaches three teams. Not only is Sullivan the current head coach of the Prince George belle team, he also serves as an assistant coach with the junior and open (women's) teams.

His love of coaching also crosses borders. He'll be coaching his 16-year-old granddaughter's team next weekend in the Alberta Winter Games.

"I thought I'd give coaching another year but my wife is still after me to stay longer," said Sullivan. "It gets me out of the house for her."

The native of Cobalt, Ont., began his 26-year involvement with ringette in 1984 when asked to coach the Prince George junior team, which had no coach and was in danger of folding.

Sullivan's daughter Cindy became involved that year as a player in the petite age group and Sullivan eventually took over as her coach to follow her progression in the sport.

Sullivan has coached in the double-A Northern League, B.C. Games and Northern B.C. Games and has taken local teams to provincial, and Western Canadian championship tournaments.

He's also adept at blowing whistles, having served as an on-ice official for BC Ringette. He's currently the officiating director of the Prince George Ringette Association, and has filled the role with that group as an executive and as coaching director.

"I'm not saying I was good as a referee, I was a body out there," laughed Sullivan. "I had a hard time skating until I got going."

Sullivan has helped local committees organize the 2000 Canadian ringette championships, the 2008 Western Canadian championships, and will be an organizer and coach at the B.C. provincial A championships coming to Prince George for the first time, March 11-14.

"Keith puts in a lot of time for ringette -- he's there to help any time for any team and he deserves that award," said Madeleine Crandell. "He does everything. He's big-time involved."

Five teams in each of the four divisions (under-14 tween, under-16 junior, under-19 belle, and 18-and-older open) will compete for the right to represent B.C. at the Western Canadian championships in Winnipeg, March 25-28.