BCHL Volunteer Award: Phyllis ‘Rusty’ Brewer

The BC Hockey League and LNG Canada are proud to present the first-ever BCHL Volunteer Award to Phyllis ‘Rusty’ Brewer who has been a volunteer with the Merritt Centennials for over 30 years.

Brewer currently works the gate at Centennials games, but also does so much more, including helping to organize and oversee game-day programs, facilitating player autograph sessions after games and other miscellaneous errands like filling programs with statistical information.

“My best days are the ones when I’m included in the lives of our Merritt Centennials,” said Brewer.

According to the Cents players, the feeling is mutual. On top of her duties on game day, she is a former billet parent and actually came out of billeting retirement briefly this year to account for extra players at training camp.

She has built a strong relationship with current and past players. On top of her contributions at the rink, Brewer has often saved a spot for players to make some extra cash at her place of work by giving them a few shifts here and there.

“Rusty is essentially the backbone to the Merritt Centennials hockey team,” said Centennials alum Chase Bell, who played with the team for parts of three seasons from 2016 to 2018. “Without her, the club wouldn’t be the same, whether it’s getting a hug before the game and her wishing you luck, or sitting down with her during the tough times of being a junior hockey player and talking things through. The things that have stuck with me the most are the countless hours that Rusty puts into organizing team events and making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible on game days.

“Rusty is a special kind of human and it is exemplified through her dedication to the organization, going from her day job, to volunteering at every single home game. She always makes every single player feel at home and loved during their time in Merritt.”

Merritt’s business operations manager and play-by-play broadcaster Jared Thomas works with Brewer at each Centennials home game, so he is well aware of the positive impact she has on the players and staff.

“Rusty is one of those volunteers that make life easier for everyone,” said Thomas. “She’s the first to raise her hand if volunteers are needed, she’s the first to arrive at the function and often she’s the last to leave. She has a wealth of experience within the organization and serves as a guiding light in regards to new initiatives. Every organization has a volunteer like Rusty Brewer, but she truly is one of a kind. She’s exactly what you’d want from a hockey player – all heart and effort.”

The BCHL and LNG Canada would like to thank Rusty for all her contributions to the Centennials and to the league over the years.

If you know of someone who is deserving of the BCHL Volunteer Award, you can submit your nomination here.