7000 Games - And Counting, News (Langton Minor Hockey)

PrintNews Article
Click to view full-size image
7000 Games - And Counting
Submitted By Bryan Swain on Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Langton Minor Hockey icon Roger Demeester (pictured here during an OMHA contest earlier this year) timekept his 7,000th game Sunday, January 26, a Langton Novice Rep victory over St. George. Demeester’s active participation as a member of the LMH executive spans 43 years.

Given a baseline estimate of an hour per game and the average pace of five kilometres per hour, Langton Minor Hockey scorekeeper Roger Demeester could have walked the 7,358-kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway between St. John’s Newfoundland and Vancouver, B.C. four times – and would already have reached Regina on his fifth leg.

Based on a contemporary minimum wage of $10.25 an hour he could alternatively have grossed well in excess of $70,000. And Demeester has volunteered enough time to watch each and every one of the 541 episodes of The Simpsons televised as of January 26, 2014, 25 times – with ample time to spare for 25 viewings of The Simpsons Movie.

Instead, Demeester stepped into the Langton Arena’s timekeepers’ booth for the first time in 1971, unknowingly kicking off a ‘Lou Gehringian’ iron man scorekeeping streak of epic proportions that reached 7,000 games Sunday, January 26 during a Langton novice rep victory over visiting St. George.

“Just for the hell of it, I kept track of it,” said Demeester, an inveterate keeper of records, who for example, also has his farm data from 1960, and rainfall amounts from 1950. “It’s just fun, fun to keep track of.”

A director on the inaugural Langton Minor Hockey executive in 1971, Demeester was elected president for five years, “and just about every job there, I took on at one time or another.” He retains a soft spot in his heart for young referees, based in part on a 15-year stint as LMH’s referee in chief. “I admire the courage they have to go out there and do that,” said Demeester. “Putting their judgment and themselves on the line to do a job that isn’t always appreciated.”

But he is best known as the organization’s scorekeeping elder statesman, his voice eminently-recognizable throughout the arena while announcing both penalties and goals. “We’ve always done that,” said Demeester, an extra touch appreciated in particular by the younger players. “The really little guys go nuts when they hear their names announced.”

Ironically, Demeester regarded another early scorekeeper with a mixture of shock and awe as he tried to keep warm in a snowmobile suit while ducking pucks and sticks in the glassless bench of the early years. “I thought that guy was crazy,” Demeester laughed. “It was really interesting at times, trying to stay out of physical abuse,” he recalled, contrasting today’s contained and well-heated booth favourably by comparison. “The best seat in the house, and you’re kind of gratified to know you’re helping the kids out.” A lot of people didn’t want to timekeep, Demeester continued, and it became a familiar niche through which he could contribute.

Busy on the farm in the summer, Demeester kept himself busy and focussed his energies on minor hockey in the winter, rather than spreading his time around in other organizations or hobbies. He has been joined in the scorekeepers’ booth over the past two or three decades by a trio of committed regulars: Lynn DeCoene, Ryan Conklin and nephew Brian Demeester, who have all contributed significantly, credits Roger, just not kept records. “They’ve probably been there for 20 or 25 years.” LMH policy has leaned toward the experience of adult timekeepers through the years, but Demeester is also pleased to welcome a couple of ‘kids’ aboard more recently. “They like doing it and I like teaching them.” Few, if any are likely to match Roger Demeester’s 43 years of service as an active member of LMH, or a timekeeper.

He was there as his own son Danny progressed through minor hockey, and then his grandson Kyle. But in a way, Roger engaged with all the kids he got to see regularly from the scorekeeping booth. Some of those ‘kids’ are in their 50s today, laughed Demeester, whose timekeeping has spanned their kids and in some cases, grandkids too. “The parents used to be in the penalty box, now their kids are.”

Langton Minor Hockey hosted a major and appreciated celebration when Demeester reached 4,000 games, and he received an OMHA Honour Award in 1999, but has been happy to quietly ‘cruise on through’ milestones of 5,000 and 6,000 games. Inclement weather pushed number 7,000 back from an scheduled atom house league encounter that would have been fitting on a level, given Demeester’s appreciation of all levels of hockey. “In a pinch, I sort of root for the house league kids,” he said, noting there would be no rep hockey without house league. “I like that starting point for kids where hopefully they get on the right track.” Demeester does like kids to succeed at sports, but cautions if parents’ definition of success is professional career, the odds aren’t on their side. “There’s a really good chance they’re not going to make it,” he understated gently. “There can be too much emphasis on being a star. People don’t always let their kids have as much fun as they could have.”

Instead, his definition of a ‘winner’ is summed up by that word over a picture of a young player that hangs in the Langton Arena, completed with the following caption: ‘I’m not a great hockey player, but I’m a good kid.’ “If a kid has fun, makes friends and comes out of this after minor hockey being a good kid, that’s a winner. Hockey can help with life skills, if you’re a great player, that’s a bonus, if you’re not, you can still be a winner.”

Demeester used to timekeep roughly 200 games a year when Langton Minor Hockey had 400 kids, currently, with around 150, he does “maybe 125.” Given there are simply less games, 8,000 might never come, says Demeester, accepting that fact happily enough. “Like I say, I’m not trying to reach a goal, just enjoying it and counting it as I go. “I’ve had a lot of satisfaction out of helping an organization helping kids. It just kind of makes you feel like you’re doing something for somebody.”

And given the fact the 75-year-old is in good health and continues to enjoy contributing, he’s not planning on hanging up his scorekeeping pen any time soon. “As far as I know I’m still doing it right,” he concluded. “Might as well keep on going at it.”
This article has been viewed 1074 times.
View AllOur Sponsors
  • Country Pride
  • Langton Lions Club
  • Langton Hockey Moms
    
  • Demaiter Real Estate
  • Andy's Drive In
  • Verhegghe Insurance
    
Social Networking
Follow Us On
Visit Langton Minor Hockey on Facebook
Quick Links
Manage Subscriptions
Signup to receive email or text messages for the teams you want to follow.
News ArchiveOther Recent Articles
  • 17
    Oct
    Organization
    Power has been restored and practice will be as scheduled.
  • 14
    Oct
    Organization
    Attention LAMHA Families There will be a planned power outage this coming Saturday October 17, 202o for the Langton Arena.
  • 06
    Oct
    Organization
    Saturday October 10 6:30-7:30am Peewee 1 Ken 's Team 7:45-8:45am Peewee 2 Ray's Team 9-10am Beginners 10:15-11:15am Minor Novice 11:30am-12:30pm Major Novice 2-3pm Atom 1 Dave's Team 3:15-4:15pm Brian's Team 4:30-5:30pm Bantam 5:45-6:45pm ...
  • 12
    Aug
    Organization
    We know that many of our LAMHA families are eager to return to the ice, and we look forward to see you there soon!
  • 13
    Mar
    Organization
    The Ontario Minor Hockey Association’s foremost priority is the health and safety of our participants, volunteers and hockey families. We have been proactively working alongside Health Canada, Hockey Canada and local public health officials in ...
  • 31
    Dec
    Organization
    On December 27 th to the 29 th , our Langton Atom LL team participated in the Georgina Regional International Silverstick Tournament.
  • 19
    Sep
    Organization
    One last Round Up! Calling All Eligible Atom Aged Players in the Langton Area. If you are intereasted and are contemplating playing rep hockey please come out to our final tryout Sunday September 22 from 1:30-2:30pm at the Delhi Arena.
  • 03
    May
    Organization
    HOCKEY REGISTRATION for 2019/20 SEASON: WE HAVE ONE REGISTRATION DAY LEFT - Thursday June 13 from 6pm til 8pm The Langton Minor Hockey Association is happy to offer a 20% reduced rate for ALL ages and levels for the 2019-20 season. * Full Ice ...
Printed from langtonminorhockey.com on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 5:43 AM