HARBOUR GRACE, NL — A major force in the Conception Bay North hockey community has died.
Valentine “Val” Slaney of Upper Island Cove passed away suddenly on Sunday. A fixture in local hockey circles, he was heavily involved with the Cee Bees Minor Hockey Association, having served on its board as president. The minor hockey association reflected on Slaney's passing in a statement posted to its website.
“Every association has volunteers, some have great volunteers, but the Cee Bees had Val Slaney,” wrote Cee Bees Minor Hockey. “Val was an amazing leader, amazing volunteer and a great all-round person. He has given so much to our Cee Bees family, more than anyone can ever imagine. To say he was a great volunteer would not do him justice. He went above and beyond what volunteers do. He was truly one of the best.
“Val served on the Cee Bees board for many years and leaves behind a legacy that will live forever. Val was the life of any gathering and his contagious laughter could be heard a mile away. He was so much more than just a Cee Bees friend, he was everybody’s friend.”
Slaney also volunteered with the Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises CeeBee Stars, a club currently captained by his son, former pro hockey player Robert Slaney. Val's involvement continued right up until his death — he was at St. Francis Field in Harbour Grace Saturday helping out with its Chase the Ace fundraiser.
“When we parted ways last night, the members of our CeeBee Stars family, little did we know the tragedy that awaited us just a few short hours later,” the CeeBees wrote in a Facebook post Sunday. “Val gave more to the game, to the community and to the children than he ever took. Val Slaney never punched the hours or volunteered for any reward, he simply volunteered his time for the cause.
“(Saturday) we had a day together that we wish Val’s family could have been a part of. It was one of our proudest days in recent history to have had such success with a fundraiser and for the volunteers to have accomplished it together and enjoy it together was beyond words. Val was laughing, having fun and the life of the party as usual. He was glowing with pride. For our group it was as big as winning the Herder and we were all extremely proud. To look back now and realize this was our last day with Val makes it truly the most amazing day that we will ever have as a group together.”
Beyond his involvement with local hockey, Val Slaney was also a former town councillor in Upper Island Cove.
Funeral arrangement details had not been made public as of Monday morning.