"Try to look after the interests of the kids first. We have to provide a vehicle for kids to have fun and to develop their likes and abilities!"
That's the philosophy of the Calgary Booster Club's 42nd Sportsman of the Year, Joe Shea, a 59 year old who has been involved in amateur sports since 1954.
Shea was a student at Penn State University when he began coaching little league baseball. He continued after graduating with a degree in Petroleum Engineering and relocating to Edmonton.
In 1964, Shea transferred to Calgary (Hudson's Bay Oil & Gas) and immediately became involved in little league baseball (Foothills) and in minor hockey (Banff Trail) as a coach.
Over the ensuing years he gradually moved into the administrative side of sport. He coordinated hockey activity, arranged reciprocal visits for various teams from Europe and the U.S. In the mid 70s (1973-76) Joe served on the executive of the Minor Hockey Association of Calgary board of directors. At the same time he remained deeply involved in baseball becoming the city's first Little League District Administrator (1971-75) and a founding director of Little League Canada (1972). He organized a program solely to keep 13 year olds involved (1972) and served as president of Little League Canada and Director, Little League International (1975 - present). As well he was elected as permanent Director, Little League International (1978) and was instrumental in the formation of Little League Alberta serving as the organizations first president in 1979.
The 1972 Calgary Booster Club Honoured Athletic Leader was a driving force in the development of the 13 year old division, the challenger division and the softball program for girls. Under his direction little league in Canada continues to flourish -79,000 participants across the country, including 11,000 in Calgary.
The modest Joe and wife Bev have also been active in the community as parents (son Ron in California, daughter Kylene in Edmonton), foster parents, billets for young athletes (currently Fedor Zakusilo of the AJHL Calgary Royals is living with the Shea's) and as volunteers with Uncles at Large. The tireless worker emphasizes, "There's a place in sport for anyone who wants to contribute. I really feel we should give back to the community. You always get back more than you could ever give."
Of his selection as Sportsman of the Year, Joe says, "It was totally unexpected, I appreciate the honour but it's really a group award that reflects the corps of dedicated volunteers who really believe in kids and developing abilities."
Shea, an employee of Talisman Energy is dedicated, unselfish,unassuming, patient. He has made an outstanding contribution locally, nationally and internationally for 30 plus years. The Calgary Booster Club salutes Joe Shea, Calgary's 42nd Sportsman of the Year.