For nearly as long as they have been in Moose Jaw, Rose Mary Hartney has been working behind the scenes with the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Hartney retired two years ago, but she remains the Warriors education co-ordinator. It’s a job she has filled since before it existed.
For her work in that role she was inducted as a builder at the Warriors & Legends Hall of Fame banquet Friday at the Heritage Inn.
When Warriors first began attending classes at Vanier Collegiate in 1985-86, Hartney was there to help them arrange their class schedules and help them make the transition in her role as vice principal.
“In the beginning this education advisor position didn’t exist,” said Hartney. “It was my job at school, as far as the time-tabling and matching schedules to back to home. It wasn’t the way it is now. There wasn’t the onus from the league either. The league didn’t really know that education existed.”
That has changed a lot as the WHL under commissioner Ron Robison has made education a priority.
This past season, Hartney was awarded the Western Hockey League’s Distinguished Service Award from Robison. The award is presented annually to an individual associated with the WHL who has made an extraordinary contribution over an extended period of time at the club or league level.
In the early days Hartney would call Colleen McBain in Swift Current — a woman filling the same role, but someone she had never met — to try to help find solutions to problems that came up.
“She cared about the players and went above and beyond to make them feel welcome in Moose Jaw,” said former Warriors head coach Lorne Molleken. “She worked very hard for the players to make sure they had what they needed.”
Former WHL scholastic player of the year Brennen Wray spoke about Hartney, but so did some other former players who admitted that they needed her to help keep them on the right track.
“If it wasn’t for her I don’t know if I would have finished high school and now here I am a year away from my (university) degree,” said former Warriors goalie Joey Perricone in a video message.
Hartney spent 38 years at Vanier and since retiring still works to lead study hall and acts as a liaison between the team and the school as she continues her role. She has committed to another season as education co-ordinator, but said she will take it year by year.
“I’m very pleased. I’m very honoured and I’m very humbled,” said Hartney of the honour. “I’m especially pleased that the other two people — the real inductees — are Jerome, who was nearly an original Vanier hockey student, and Donovan — who I don’t know — but from the education side of things it pleases me immensely to see someone who has ‘doctor’ in front of his name. That certainly addresses the education side of things in a very real way.”