Paul Delorey, the former Hay River North MLA and Speaker of the House at the NWT legislature, has passed away at the age of 71.
Delorey, first elected in 1999, remained an MLA until 2011. He served as speaker for his final seven years in office.
In a statement, Premier Caroline Cochrane said Delorey “embodied what it meant to be a northerner.”
She wrote: “As a three-term MLA, former Speaker of the House, and an avid curler, he fought for a better north, cared deeply about his community of Hay River, and the people he represented. He will be missed.”
Keith Dohey, a Hay River councillor and president of the local curling club, called Delorey “a cornerstone” of the sport in the town. Delorey had lived in Hay River since 1971.
Dohey said Delorey served the sport in various capacities for more than four decades, including coaching appearances at the 1991 Canada Winter Games and two editions of the Arctic Winter Games alongside many honours as a competitor.
In 2016, Delorey was part of the NWT’s gold medal-winning mixed curling team at the Canada 55+ Games. He also coached the territory’s women’s team at the 2002 Scott Tournament of Hearts.
He was Hay River’s citizen of the year in 2019 and was a member of the exclusive Governor General’s Curling Club of Canada, an invite-only club for Canadians who have “made a significant contribution to curling.”
“He leaves behind a legacy that will last forever and shoes that can never be filled,” Dohey wrote.
“Our club and our sport are where they are today in large part because of Paul’s tireless efforts. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his contributions and will do our best to continue down the path he paved for us.”
Former Thebacha MLA Michael Miltenberger, who served in the legislature alongside Delorey as speaker, told the CBC he “was always a very, very good referee, and he protected the institution that he was sworn to serve.”
Dohey said Delorey is survived by his wife Davida, four children, and his grandchildren.