Through his tremendous fundraising endeavours, Albert James Clarke earned the title as the “Million Dollar Man” in the city of Mount Pearl, N.L.
He had a quiet dignity and respect for others, a good sense of humour, and adored his wife of 61 years, Kathleen, his two children Christopher and Wanda, family, friends, and community.
“Dad cared about many in the community and made sure all the children had an equal opportunity to participate in hockey. It was just in his nature. He would humbly say, ‘it’s because I want to help, not because I have to’,” Wanda recalled, while remembering her father who passed on April 30, at age 82.
“It’s incredibly sad to think that Dad has gone,” she said, her voice choked with tears.
“He meant everything to a lot of people and me. He was such a good man, and I’m thankful that many in the community have reached out to share just how much Dad impacted their lives.”
Clarke played an active role in organizing fundraisers. He dedicated much of his life to the Mount Pearl Minor Hockey Association, Mount Pearl Junior Blades, Hockey NL, and the Mount Pearl Sports Alliance – playing a pivotal role in building the sport.
As a result, he was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame.
“My brother Chris and I grew up in the hockey system because of Dad. He was a knowledgeable man and passed on a lot of good advice to all the kids. I went on to play in the Canada Games in Grande Prairie, Alberta. He came up there with me because he never missed a game,” said Wanda.
Once retired, Clarke worked even harder to raise money for various charities and be a part of the community he so loved. He fulfilled every obligation that he undertook, and his word was his bond.
Steve Kent, the former mayor of Mount Pearl and former Member of the House of Assembly (MHA), said his friend did a lot for many people.
“Through my many years as one of Mount Pearl’s mayors and MHAs, I worked with countless community volunteers, but Albert was like no other. It is not an exaggeration to say that he was a legend,” said Kent.
“I remember when our minor hockey community celebrated Albert’s incredible accomplishments selling Mount Pearl Minor Hockey Booster Club tickets. His efforts helped raise over $1 million. It was quite an enormous feat. For years since we affectionately referred to him as the ‘Million Dollar Man’.”
But it did not stop there, he said.
“Whether it was helping with the Hockey Dads, or serving on the minor hockey executive, or volunteering at minor hockey’s bingo when there was a need, Albert was there. Always happy to help. Albert loved his family more than anything. He was a devoted dad, and he cared deeply about the rest of the kids in Mount Pearl, too.”
Many young people had positive experiences in minor hockey because of Clarke’s legacy. He brought to the rink an infectious smile and spirit, and was always there to show support.
“He did a lot of good for a lot of people. Our community is better and stronger today because of Albert Clarke. Mount Pearl will miss him. I will miss him,” said Kent.
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