Builder – Hockey
Born in North Bay, Ontario in 1941, Mike Primeau spent his childhood in the Ottawa Valley and began his hockey career playing for the Pembroke Little Lumber Kings. He concluded his on-ice career as a member of the Kenora-Keewatin Juvenile team and, after graduating from Blind River High School, Mike moved south to Toronto where he completed a four-year electrical apprenticeship with Ontario Hydro.
It was in Markham that Mike began his long tenure as a coach, scout, and parent volunteer in 1977. Mike coached the first Markham Minor Hockey team to win a tournament outside the province of Ontario before moving his family to Whitby and continuing his coaching career within the Whitby Minor Hockey Association. From 1981 until the late 1990s, many Whitby teams under Mike’s tutelage enjoyed considerable success at the local, regional, and provincial levels; the impressive list of achievements by his Whitby teams includes:
- 1984 OMHA Peewee AA Finalists
- 1985 Minor Bantam AA Silver Stick Champions
- 1985 OMHA Minor Bantam AA Champions
- 1986 OMHA Minor Bantam AA Champions
- 1991 OMHA and OHF Bantam AA Champions
- 1993 OMHA Atom AAA Finalists
- 1996 OMHA Midget AAA Champions
Mike’s coaching career spanned a period of 21 years, and included teams from Novice house league to the Midget AAA level. Seven of his former players went on to have great success in the National Hockey League (NHL), including his sons, Keith and Wayne, as well as Adam Foote, Paul Ranger, Jay Harrison, Jamie Allison, and Brad May; countless others continued their hockey careers in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) or at the collegiate level in Canada and the United States.
As further testament to his overall influence and commitment to hockey in Whitby, Mike was instrumental in establishing the Whitby Fury Junior A franchise in 2008, and served as team president for its first two seasons. Mike also spent eight years as a hockey scout, beginning with the Niagara Falls Thunder of the OHL (1989-1990) before holding similar roles with the OHL’s Owen Sound Platers (1992-1995) and the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes (1996-1999).
Mike, and his wife Peggy, now spend evenings and weekends watching their grandchildren play various sports. But, as their grandchildren will all say, Poppie is still a coach, always offering words of encouragement and advice after a game.