At Tuesday night’s game between the New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center, the recipient of the 2011 Hockey Hero Award, Kim Tinkham, will be honored for her incredible contributions to youth hockey over the last 15 years.
Unfortunately, Tinkham lost a battle with breast cancer and passed away in December but her husband, Scott, and son, Garrett, himself a product of youth hockey in the DFW Metroplex, will be on hand to accept the award in her honor.
“The last 3-5 years as part of Hockey Weekend across America, We’ve chosen a deserving honoree in the community to receive the Hockey Hero Award,” said Keith Andresen, Senior Director of Hockey Programs for the Dr. Pepper Star Centers and the Dallas Stars.
“Kim was somebody who was on the short list to receive the award prior to us knowing that she had a reoccurrence of breast cancer. And that was shortly before she passed away back in December,” Andresen said. “We had previously decided that she was one of the people that we were considering to be honored but that clinched it that we needed to honor her for her dedication in life to hockey in the Dallas-Fort Worth area this year.”
Tinkham has made contributions to youth hockey not only in the Metroplex but also in Oklahoma for much of the last two decades. She founded and served as both editor and publisher of Ice Times Magazine, the only magazine covering youth hockey in Texas and Oklahoma. Several years back, she also wrote a book, Life Lessons on Ice that detailed how youth hockey was filled with plenty of lessons applicable in all areas of life.
In short, she was someone who epitomized all the good things that are associated with youth hockey.
“She was always involved in hockey for the right reasons-to try and grow the game from a grassroots level and do it with an integrity and a dignity where people learned to respect the game,” Andresen said. “I think that’s the key word, respect. She had immense respect for the game, the way it was played and the way people conducted themselves in the rinks. I think that was the motivation for starting the magazine that she started.”
But her message with all she did was always fairly simple.
“I think respect is the key word and trying to get people to see that while winning is important, it’s not the core value of what’s important. It’s all the other life lessons through hockey,” Andresen said. “Even more than respect was learning life’s lessons through hockey. It’s a great game that you can learn life’s lessons through like hard work, teamwork, passion, discipline and character. You do all those things, the winning and losing takes care of itself but those are lessons you learn for life. That was her real motivation.”
Not only will Tinkham be honored on Tuesday night, but the award will also bear her name going forward.
“Yeah, it really was [a no-brainer to rename the award in her honor] because that’s really what the Hockey Hero Award is all about. It’s something that people receive for their unselfish dedication to the sport to try and make it better so they can enjoy it for a lifetime,” Andresen said.
During her time involved with youth hockey, Kim Tinkham had an immeasurable impact on countless lives in both the Dallas area as well as in Oklahoma. She truly epitomizes the term “hockey hero” and it’s fitting she receives such a high honor from the game she gave so much to during her life.