You can’t get much different a profession change than moving from behind a desk to working in a shop at a local mill.
Sandy Moger has made such a change, stepping down as director of hockey operations for Greater Vernon Minor Hockey to now being employed in the mechanics shop at Tolko Lavington.
Moger, a former NHL player with the Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings, spent 13 years with Greater Vernon Minor Hockey.
“I just needed to do something different in my life,” said Moger, 51, a father of two. “I was ready to move on.”
Moger returned to Vernon after his hockey career ended. A native of 100 Mile House, Moger and his family moved to Revelstoke and then landed in Vernon where he attended W.L. Seaton Secondary. He played 15 games in the B.C. Junior Hockey League before heading to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and a stint with the Yorkton Terriers.
It was in Yorkton that Moger caught the eye of the NCAA’s Lake Superior State Lakers, signing a Div. 1 scholarship. After his freshman season in 1988-89, Moger was drafted in the ninth round of the NHL Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks. He opted to stay in school and in his senior year, 1991-92, Moger helped the Lakers win the national championship.
He played two seasons with the Canucks farm team in Hamilton before being traded to the Boston Bruins. He made his NHL debut with the Bruins in 1994-95, playing in 18 games, scoring twice. He appeared in all 80 games the following season, scoring 15 goals and finishing with 29 points.
Moger spent two seasons with the L.A. Kings in 1997-98 and 1998-99, two seasons with the International Hockey League’s Houston Aeros and then closed out his career with seven seasons in Europe.
Reflecting on his time with Greater Vernon Minor Hockey, Moger said there was a lot of success.
“There were some great teams in some age groups, some years we had really strong teams,” he said. “One of the highlights was two Vernon teams meeting in the Okanagan Atom Division final.”
Several teams won provincial championships during Moger’s term.
Moger also gave back on-ice, both as a coach and donning the stripes as a referee and linesman.
“Going on-ice, one of the main things for me was watching the kids working hard to improve,” he said. “I always cared that the kids would really try and really work at getting better.”
He spent the past five seasons in the association also working as an on-ice official.
“Between playing, coaching and refereeing, refereeing is by far the hardest,” laughed Moger. “You could read the rule book every day for 10 years and still miss something. Being a ref stressed me out. I stuck to being a linesman.”
Greater Vernon Minor Hockey president Kara Blazek said Moger was a valuable member of the organization and understood his decision to step down was a difficult one.
“He will be missed but I understand his need for change,” said Blazek. “We wish Sandy all the best in his further endeavours and hope he keeps in touch.”
No replacement for Moger has been named though a search is underway.