As we announce the exciting new Hamilton Steel pilot project, we are also very proud to honour our Hamilton Steel lifetime members Yosh Kitamura & Neil Skirving. The contributions that Yosh and Neil have made to the Hamilton hockey community and the organizations which have bonded together to create the Steel are immense and irreplaceable and we are honoured to have them as lifetime members.
Yosh Kitamura has an incredible history in the game in Hamilton, having volunteered for 55 years in minor hockey in the city. Beginning in 1967 as the coach of Hamilton Police Minor Hockey, Yosh went on to become a coach with the Hamilton Huskies in 1971, which was just the beginning of his relationship to the Huskies. By 1980, Yosh was the coach of the Timbit program with Eastwood Minor Hockey while also serving as a convenor through various leagues.
A founding member of the ALLIANCE, Yosh has helped to lay an incredible foundation with the Hamilton Huskies, serving as President on two occasions, including his current term from 2005 to present, he has additionally been a parent in the program, a coach, a trainer, a member of the technical development committee and general manager. Yosh has also been a key figure in the RBC Inner City “Learn to Skate” program and has also rightfully been awarded the OHF Minor Hockey Volunteer of the Year Award.
Neil Skirving may be the only person whose contributions to hockey in Hamilton can rival Yosh Kitamura. Neil began his coaching career in 1969, having coached across six different junior hockey associations and playing a significant part in all.
In 1987, Spike McConnell invited Neil to a Development Committee which eventually saw him join the OMHA as a Technical Director in 1991 where he stayed for 6 years. After the six years, Neil returned to his NCCP instructing and coaching, which allowed him to continue to develop coaches and programs. On top of his coaching career, Neil was Technical leader at Stoney Creek Minor AAA from 1991-1999 and later worked with the Hamilton Jr Bulldogs as a Technical Leader.
Still serving on the board with the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs, Neil has been recognized for his incredible fifty-plus years of contributions to hockey in Hamilton with 4 Coach of the Year awards, OHF Order of Merit Award, OMHA Program Development Award, OMHA Honour Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.
Without the incredible contributions of both Yosh Kitamura and Neil Skirving there wouldn’t be a chance to forge the next chapter in Hamilton hockey history with the Hamilton Steel.