The first annual Rod Pike Award in Men's Hockey was awarded to Rob Mignardi this Saturday, November 15, at Fredericton's Aitken Centre before the start of the game between UNB and Acadia.
Presenting the award will be Rod's wife Deborah Pike and his son Ryan, who travelled from Ottawa for the occassion.
Rod Pike was a successful businessman, leader and mentor. He was a caring family man and a true team player who always asked the best of himself and brought out the best in others.
Born and raised in Fredericton, Pike was a proud Maritimer who loved a good game of hockey. He played defence for the UNB men's hockey team from 1976-80, following in his father Jim's footsteps who also played for UNB in the late 1940s.
"For him, that was a tradition, and he was so proud of that," Deborah Pike explained. "He was very proud to be at UNB as a student and as a hockey player."
After graduating from UNB in 1980 with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Pike built a successful career in banking - first with the Royal Bank in Atlantic Canada and Ontario, then with MBNA Canada and Bank of America in Ottawa and the United Kingdom before serving as the CEO of BofA Canada Bank.
In November 2013 at the age of 55, Pike died following a courageous battle with cancer.
In his memory, his wife Deborah and family have established an award in his name at the University of New Brunswick.
"It seemed like a natural thing to lead to a scholarship because he was born here and raised here, and hockey was such a big part of his life," Mrs. Pike said. "It made perfect sense for us to honour his memory in this way."
"Hockey was a part of his life always, from playing minor hockey here to playing well into his forties... He was always on a hockey team. UNB was where he and I met. My father and brother played competitive hockey and I was always around hockey, so that was something we could connect over. It was something we carried through our lives together."
The Rod Pike Award in Men's Hockey will be awarded to a Fredericton campus student who has complete at least the normal requirements for the first year of an undergraduate degree program and is returning to UNB in the fall. The recipient must be a player on the Varsity Reds men's hockey team, have demonstrated a special athletic ability in the sport of men's hockey at UNB and have successful academic performance (minimum 3.0 scholarship grade point average).
This year's recipient is Rob Mignardi, a third-year forward from Richmond Hill, Ontario. Mignardi had a 4.0 GPA in business last year as a red shirt for the Varsity Reds. Prior to coming to UNB, he was captain of the OHL's Owen Sound Attack and played two years of pro hockey in the AHL/ECHL.
"Rob has an excellent pedigree and is a team first player with excellent leadership skills, a very high compete level. He'll be a key difference-maker for our team as we progress through the AUS season," said UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall. "He demonstrates excellence on the ice, in the classroom and in the community and epitomizes many of the traits Rod Pike demonstrated in the success of his life and career."
Mrs. Pike says it will be an emotional day coming back to UNB to present the award, but one that is also filled with memories of many years of happiness.
"You hope when you find a university, you have that special experience. When you're in the middle of it, you don't realize it. And then it's only when you look back that you realize what a precious time it was."