Inducted November 4, 1989
Joe Byrne was born in Charlesborough, Quebec in 1921. He moved to Newfoundland in 1949, making his home in the Grand Falls area. For forty years Joe has in some way touched the hockey lives of the majority of hockey people throughout the Province. He has conducted numerous coaches clinics, referee clinics and hockey schools throughout the Province for the sole purpose of skill development. He has worked hard at the National Coaches Certification Program and he has been successful in implementing mandatory NCCP certification for Minor Hockey. He has co-ordinated the provincial Program of Excellence (Under 17 Program) since its inception in 1981. In 1980 the CAHA sponsored a “Swedish Clinic”. He attended this seminar, saw worth in their presentation and travelled to communities in Newfoundland and Labrador and presented the program to every Minor Hockey Association with on-ice demonstration and participation with coaches and hockey players.
He has coached in two Canada Winter Games – 1971 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and 1975 in Lethbridge, Alberta. In the Games held in 1983 in Saguenay/Lac-St-Jean, Quebec, he was General Manager of Newfoundland’s entry. He was instrumental in forming a provincial hockey development council and for many years he chaired the council. In 1965 he became Technical Director with the NAHA and held that position until June 30, 1989. In 1953 to 1954 he was the provincial Referee-in-Chief. In 1959 he accepted this position again for another year. Then from 1966 to 1977 he stayed at that helm. In 1959 Minor Hockey was organized on a provincial wide basis. He attended the organizational meetings and in 1959-60 and 1960-61 held the position of Central Vice President of the NAHA Minor Council Executive – the first such council in Newfoundland. In 1955 Joe was offered a coaching position at Bell Island, and up until 1958 he coached their High School, Junior and Intermediate teams and brought provincial championships in each division he coached. In 1954 and 1955 he organized and conducted the first Referee School in this Province.
From 1949 to 1951 he was head coach/player with the Grand Falls All-Stars Senior team. He has to his credit Minor Hockey Provincial Championships, Provincial Junior “B” Championships, High School Trophies, and several Herder Memorial Trophy Championships. Knowing how to get the best from a team is not enough for Joe Byrne – he has dedicated his life to teaching coaches and team officials how to use their resources to their fullest.