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Far from forgotten: Tim McIntosh retires from Marqeutte Junior Hockey after 47 years as director

Tim McIntosh performs his duties as public adddress announcer at a Northern Michigan University hockey game played at the Berry Events Center in Marquette in 2004. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE — Most people within the Marquette community know Tim McIntosh as the public address voice of Northern Michigan University hockey.

What some people may not know about “Mac” is what he’s done for local youth hockey behind the scenes.

For the last 47 years, McIntosh has worked within Marquette Junior Hockey as the director of hockey operations.

But after nearly five decades of time, effort and dedication, Mac has decided to hang up his skates.

He officially retired from MJH on Oct. 31 as an informal retirement party was held on Sunday in Marquette at Blackrocks Brewery. It featured pizza from the food truck Smelted, a cash bar, live music, and of course dozens of Mac’s friends and acquaintances he’s met along his journey.

Family, friends and acquaintances celebrate the retirement of Tim McIntosh, shown here, from more than 40 years as director of hockey operations with the Marquette Junior Hockey Corporation at the Blackrocks Brewery in Marquette on Sunday. (Journal photo by Ryan Spitza)

“It’s great to see the number of people that have come out,” he said. “There’s been people who have come from over 400 miles for this and I really didn’t expect that. It’s tremendous to see ’em and it’s been a really great night.”

It’s hard for McIntosh to even consider his 47 years of service as “work,” but rather something he simply loved to do.

“I’ve spent over 40 years working with the youth of Marquette County and the hockey program. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t love what I was doing. I really liked what I was doing, and the response we’re getting is overwhelming.”

McIntosh got his start within the organization through coaching, recalling one of the first teams he coached in the late 1960s at Lakeview Arena’s predecessor before making his way into the administrative side of things.

“The first year I worked in the program was as a coach,” he said. “I was an assistant coach for the TV6 team with Greg Mingay as head coach. That was back in either 1968 or ’69 at the old Palestra.

Tim McIntosh, director of hockey operations for Marquette Junior Hockey over more than 40 years, celebrates his retirement with family, friends and acquaintances at Blackrocks Brewery in Marquette on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019. (Journal photo by Ryan Spitza)

“Eventually, I stayed in coaching for awhile and got more and more into administration. The people here in Marquette allowed me to take charge of the program and I’ve really, really enjoyed it.”

McIntosh has a number of memories from his tenure, but his favorites were seeing local teams advance to national tournaments, and even taking the now-retired Midget AAA Marquette Electricians overseas one year.

“We took the Electricians to Kajaani, Finland, and that was a great time,” he said. “Kajaani is Marquette’s sister city in Finland and we took our hockey team there. There’s just a lot of tremendous memories from over 40 years of youth hockey in Marquette.”

One retirement party attendee, former NMU hockey player (1999-2003) and Marquette native Chris Gobert, has known Mac since his junior hockey days. Gobert reflected on his and seemingly everyone else’s relationship with McIntosh.

“I’ve known Mac probably since I was about 3 years old, which is when I started in Marquette Junior Hockey,” he said. “I grew up through the program playing travel hockey and everything, and Mac was always there and very supportive of all the kids. He’s an outstanding guy that went out of his way to help you.

“Mac has donated a lot of his time and a lot of extra time and has done a lot of things that a lot of people don’t see. I’ve always had a really good relationship with Mac and even coming through junior hockey, as I got older, Mac did a lot of things for me and a lot of the other kids to help us get to junior hockey, college hockey and things like that which a lot of people don’t know about. I have the utmost respect for Mac and I wish him well.”

Gobert added that his favorite memory of McIntosh is one that can easily tell you the kind of person he is.

“One of my favorite memories is when I graduated high school,” he said. “Mac was probably the first person to show up at my house for my graduation party, and I think he was one of the last to leave.”

While McIntosh has retired from Marquette Junior Hockey, NMU hockey fans who are all too familiar with his magical voice inside the Berry Events Center have no need to worry, as Mac will continue his public address duties for the Wildcats, a position he’s held since the program’s inception in 1976.

“I’ve done the Wildcat hockey games from Year 1, Game 1 and I’ll continue to do that,” he said. “The reason I’m retiring (from MJH) is that I have some mobility issues and my organizational skills are just not what they used to be. That comes with age, but the voice is still there, doing the Wildcat hockey games is fun and I’ll continue to do those as long as they’ll have me.”

Leah Nygard will assume the director of hockey operations position with big shoes to fill.

As McIntosh rides off into the sunset, the ultimate memory he’ll take with him is seeing the advancement of every kid he’s worked with over the years.

“I’ve always loved hockey,” he said. “As a youth myself, I didn’t play very long or play very well, but I enjoy working with youth athletes and the response and satisfaction you get from seeing kids move on.”

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.