Ted Doncaster, shown above taking visitors to an agricultural field day at his family's farm on a tour, has experienced many changes in life.
Ted Doncaster has played many roles in his life – farmer, student, athlete, coach, police constable and security chief, to name a few – and he has some fine advice for young people, which he has compiled after this combined experience.
"Change provides opportunities," he says, "and you will never know what you can do until you try. Try things you think you can't do and be ready for the opportunities."
Ted was born on a farm and had many responsibilities as a young lad, so it was hockey that drew him in, as there were fewer chores to do during the winter months. He recalls having some outstanding coaches through minor hockey, which included Dr. Ross Barclay, Gerry Bartlet, Don Fillmore and, later, Don MacIntyre for his three years as the starting goalie at Tantramar high school.
"It was great fun and we enjoyed a lot of success," he said during a recent discussion. His bantam team won the provincial championship and the following year copped the midget title. And later the Titans copped a pair of championships, meaning he was a member of four provincial title-holders in seven tries.
He recalls guarding the mesh for such teammates as Eric Sloan, David Moore, Steven Bowes, Colin Wheaton, Mark Phinney, Mark Hubert, Greg Tweed and Kevin Bulmer.
He graduated from Tantramar in 1978 and following a year of police training at Holland College was hired as an officer with the Saint John Police Force. After two years there he returned to his hometown and spent the next 22 years until policing of the town was taken over by the RCMP.
He resumed his hockey career with the senior Sackville Combines in the Memramcook Valley League from 1982 to 1990, again being part of the championship team on two occasions. Many of his mates had been with him at both minor and high school level as well as others like Ron Fahey and Peter Hastie.
In 2003, Ted joined the nuclear response team at Point Lepreau, subsequently being appointed supervisor, and this past year has become the tech specialist ensuring the proper licensing of all nuclear facilities.
It was in 1985 his coaching career began in order to give back something he had learned from his outstanding mentors. For the next five years he handled the provincial bantam team and for several seasons took on the Titans, capping it all with a provincial high school title in 1997. On his squad at the time were such players as Amos Austin-Stewart, Scott Simpson, Lovitt Allen and Marshall MacDonald. Then for the next three seasons Ted dropped down to coach the atoms where his oldest son had begun his athletic career.
After moving to the Saint John area with his new job, Ted took on the task of coaching the Harbourview High School girls’ hockey team and says some of his most enjoyable games came against the Lady Titans in Sackville.
In 1985 he and Kelli Lutes were married and they have two sons and one daughter. They currently reside in Grand Bay-Westfield and love the area almost as much as their old hometown.
"Sackville is just a perfect community for a family," he says.
It is so centrally located, almost equidistant from Halifax, Fredericton, Saint John and Charlottetown and close enough to Moncton and Amherst for shopping and a change of activities."
And Ted says Sackville has a rich diversity of recreational activities - more than most communities of its size and compares to that offered up in much larger centres.
Speaking as a former local police officer, he says this is a relatively crime-free community, which permitted him to become deeply involved in projects such as visiting schools, founding the Children's Wish Foundation and working with his family at the annual Agricultural Field Day. In addition, he rose through the ranks of police agencies, serving on the national police association.
For all of his community volunteerism as a law officer, he was awarded the Order of Merit by the then Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.
Soon he and Kelli must decide their future residence. Will it be Sackville or Saint John?
He has only a few years remaining until retirement and he says they are pulled in two directions.
But Ted Doncaster says while change may not always be for the better, in his case it has worked out exceedingly well for him. And he urges young people to try new things, go the extra miles and get involved in your community.