Home NYS Hockey West Tom McFall Follows in Father’s Footsteps Wins 2012 J. Michael...

Tom McFall Follows in Father’s Footsteps Wins 2012 J. Michael Duffett Memorial Award for Contributions to Hockey!

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For two decades coach Tom McFall and the Chautauqua County Youth Hockey Association have gone hand-in-hand. He has coached at every level of youth hockey.

For his efforts McFall has been named the 2012 recipient of the J. Michael Duffett Memorial Award. The award is presented each year by the Buffalo Sabres to the coach whose contributions to amateur hockey in Western New York “best exemplify the knowledge, teaching, love of the game and gentle humanity of Mike.”

McFall is the 27th recipient of the Duffett Award, joining his father, John McFall, who won the award in 1995.

“It’s a great feeling,” said McFall, who is a fifth grade teacher at Chautauqua Lake Central School. “Our whole family has been involved in hockey all of our lives.

“What is even more special is the fact that I knew Mike Duffett. He coached me on my Empire State Hockey Team.

“What is even more special is the fact that my dad won the award as well. I’m absolutely thrilled.”

McFall oversees both the on- and off-ice operations of the Jamestown Timbits. It is a program that emphasizes fun while teaching beginners, ages four to seven, the fundamentals of hockey.

This year alone, the Jamestown Timbits program has welcomed nearly 70 new players.

“We’ve really tried building that program up so that we have a future influx of new players coming through,” stated McFall, who played for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres in 1984-85. “This year we have had the most kids since the movie, “The Mighty Ducks” came out in the early 1990s.

“For me it’s always nice to see more kids introduced and play the game.”

McFall recalled when the Jamestown Arena opened in the downtown area. He teamed up with fellow coach, George Watkins, in 2002 to create the “Keep It In Jamestown” house hockey league.

The co-founders began the league with the goal of allowing more young people to play hockey at virtually any age or playing ability. And they could do it without the challenges presented by travel hockey.

“That’s when we began a house league,” continued McFall. “It allowed the local kids a chance to play hockey.

“Over the years the program has given hundreds of kids the chance to play hockey and experience the sport that otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity.

“You have to remember that when I talk to people up in Buffalo about travel hockey, their idea of travel is going from Hamburg to Amherst. But in Jamestown it’s a whole different story.

“For us, travel in Jamestown can be a three-hour drive for an 80-minute game. It turned out to be a seven or eight hour day for us.

“That’s why this program is so important. It keeps the travel, as well as expense, down for the kids and their parents.”

McFall admits that he learned a lot of what he uses today in hockey from his dad.

“I watched and he taught me the basics of how to treat kids as well as the parents,” said McFall, a graduate of Oswego State College, where he also played four years of hockey. “He set a good example for me to follow.”

Interestingly, hockey never seems to end for McFall. One of his greatest contributions to youth hockey in Western New York came in 1992 when, upon recognizing a lack of summer hockey programs in the Jamestown area, McFall created a summer hockey camp.

“This summer we will be entering our 20th season,” remarked McFall. “My brothers help me with the program that provides additional hockey training for area hockey players of all ages.

“We all have the love of hockey. Combine that with our love of working with kids and it makes for a great combination.

“The bottom line is that the kids have fun and learn about a great sport. You can’t go wrong with that.”the challenges presented by travel hockey.

“That’s when we began a house league,” continued McFall. “It allowed the local kids a chance to play hockey.

“Over the years the program has given hundreds of kids the chance to play hockey and experience the sport that otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity.

“You have to remember that when I talk to people up in Buffalo about travel hockey, their idea of travel is going from Hamburg to Amherst. But in Jamestown it’s a whole different story.

“For us, travel in Jamestown can be a three-hour drive for an 80-minute game. It turned out to be a seven or eight hour day for us.

“That’s why this program is so important. It keeps the travel, as well as expense, down for the kids and their parents.”

McFall admits that he learned a lot of what he uses today in hockey from his dad.

“I watched and he taught me the basics of how to treat kids as well as the parents,” said McFall, a graduate of Oswego State College, where he also played four years of hockey. “He set a good example for me to follow.”

Interestingly, hockey never seems to end for McFall. One of his greatest contributions to youth hockey in Western New York came in 1992 when, upon recognizing a lack of summer hockey programs in the Jamestown area, McFall created a summer hockey camp.

“This summer we will be entering our 20th season,” remarked McFall. “My brothers help me with the program that provides additional hockey training for area hockey players of all ages.

“We all have the love of hockey. Combine that with our love of working with kids and it makes for a great combination.

“The bottom line is that the kids have fun and learn about a great sport. You can’t go wrong with that.”*

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