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Days of Sugar Kings past

On March 29, 2004, Jeremy Machin earned a place in Sugar King history as the first player to be awarded the Dan Snyder Memorial scholarship. For the past decade, the citation, named in memory of the Elmira NHL player who died in a 2003 car accident, has provided top Sugar Kings with support for their education. Now, on the tenth anniversary of receiving the prize, Machin looks back at the honour as one of the highlights of his hockey career.

Ten years ago, Jeremy Machin became the first recipient of the Dan Snyder Memorial scholarship, presented at the Sugar Kings’ 2004 end-of-year banquet.[Will Sloan / The Observer]
Ten years ago, Jeremy Machin became the first recipient of the Dan Snyder Memorial scholarship, presented at the Sugar Kings’ 2004 end-of-year banquet. [Will Sloan / The Observer]
“I had a lot of pride in the award,” said Machin from his home in Fergus. “Graham Snyder and his wife LuAnn did a lot of great things for myself and the hockey club, so it was just an honour that I cherish to this day.”

He added, “I didn’t know Dan Snyder personally, but one of my close friends was his cousin, so to be the first recipient was a tremendous honour.”

He also looks back fondly at his time in Junior B hockey, recalling his three seasons with the Sugar Kings from 2001 to 2004 as the best time of his life. “Elmira is obviously a tremendous hockey club. I learned a lot of lessons not just for hockey, but for life. I made a lot of good friends playing for the Sugar Kings. It’s a great small-town community Junior B team.”

The Dan Snyder memorial scholarship provides $1,000 for members of the Sugar Kings and Woolwich Minor Hockey who show a passion for the game. In 2004, Graham Snyder told the Observer, “This award is meant to go to someone who shows dedication to the game of hockey. … A generally hard working player who shows respect for the players that they play against, someone with determination.”

For Snyder, Machin met all the criteria. “He’s shown a lot of determination. He’s a smaller player that a lot of teams in this league looked at and weren’t all that interested in. I guess [we were] fortunate enough to see that determination,” he said in 2004.

At the 2004 banquet, Machin also took home the trophy for top goal scorer (30 goals and 66 assists in the regular season), the Don Duke memorial award for sportsmanship and leadership, and the Sugar Kings memorial trophy. At the provincial level, he was named the OHA Junior Player of the Year.

After leaving the Kings, he planned to play hockey for the University of Waterloo, but decided instead to focus on his studies. Still, he wasn’t out of the game for long: that same year, the Elora Rocks hockey club came calling. For 2004-2005, Machin’s team won the WOAA Championship (the first Elora team to do so since the ‘80s). He’s now wrapping up his tenth season with the team.

“Everybody in this league is 20 and over, so we have other lives as well,” he said. “It’s a great league to stay competitive in, and I like to play meaningful hockey, so that’s why I’m still playing for the Rocks. It’s just a way of life.”

Machin graduated from UW with a degree in recreation and business, and currently works for Centre Wellington Township’s parks and recreation department. At home, he and his wife have a two-year-old son, with another child on the way. Even with this, he still makes time for hockey.

“I’m maybe not as fast as I once was, but you definitely learn a lot as you get older. And I definitely learned a lot about hockey playing for the Sugar Kings. I had tremendous coaches and great teammates. It was a privilege to play there.”

When asked if he had advice for future Sugar Kings, he said simply to enjoy.

“It goes by quickly, no doubt about it. It’s probably the best time of your life, so do the best you can, and have fun, because that’s what it’s all about. Take pride in wearing a Sugar King jersey.”

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