Jordan Oye was recently elected chair of the Richmond Public Library’s board of directors.
Photo courtesy Richmond Public Library
‘Oyester’ grateful to fill library chair
By Don Fennell
Published 2:52 PST, Tue March 2, 2021
Giving back is, quite simply, in Jordan Oye’s DNA.
Growing up in a family that placed a high priority on extending a helping hand wherever possible, Oye and his siblings are now perpetuating on the trait as adults.
“We watched both my parents give back to the community, school and sports systems in Richmond in countless ways,” he says. “(Giving back) has afforded all of us many amazing opportunities, and I think all of my family would agree that we want to provide those same opportunities for future generations so they can enjoy the same.”
Oye is honoured to have been afforded that opportunity as the newly-elected chair of the Richmond Library Board. But he was even more surprised to be nominated just to serve on the board. Joining in 2016, he was looking to extend his reach beyond coaching hockey.
“As I researched opportunities the library came up as potentially a good fit,” he explains. “I spent a lot of my youth at the Steveston library, and the core values of the library—diversity, inclusion, engagement, and lifelong learning—are certainly values I believe in as well. It was naturally a good fit. I am very grateful for the opportunity and fortunate to be working with an amazing and diverse board, with the support of a very talented CEO and staff.”
Oye has a number of goals he’d like to see realized in his new capacity, but the immediate priority is helping the organization navigate the uncertainties of COVID-19 and the impacts it has and will have moving forward. He also wants to see the goals and priorities of the 2019-2021 Strategic Plan completed, while also starting to work on the next set of goals for the library. Advocating for and strengthening relationships with municipal and provincial governments to ensure continued support for the library is crucial. And providing the governance leadership that supports staff in continuing to provide welcoming, foundational and innovative library services is also top of mind.
“Our public library is at the heart of this vibrant community,” he says. “I believe the community sees us as a welcoming and safe place for everyone, which is critical to (our) health and well-being. We all benefit from an educated, well-informed society, and libraries help facilitate that.”
Oye is particularly proud of the steadfast determination of its staff to ensure the library remains accessible during the public health crisis.
“I am amazed at how quickly the team mobilized to continue to provide services to the public, through virtual programs, the introduction of eServices card to access digital resources, investment in eBooks and other digital collections, delivery and phone services for seniors, and residents experiencing isolation,” he says. “I am also quite proud of our recent move to a fine free library. Late fines can present a significant barrier to accessing the library, particularly for those individuals who are vulnerable and those with low or fixed income. We want everyone in our community to have equitable access to resources that support lifelong learning, and this demonstrates our commitment to everyone in our community.”
Spending the bulk of his day as manager of products and services for Telus, Oye may also be remembered for his prowess at hockey.
A former Richmond Sockeye, where he was bestowed with the nickname “Oyester,” in part a play of his surname and partly for his proficiency as a scorer, he suited up for his hometown team during one the team’s most decorated periods in the early 2000s when the club won a pair of provincial and national junior championships.
The 2010 Richmond Sports Awards’ post-secondary male athlete of the year, Oye was a hard worker who continually set out to improve on his previous effort. After graduating from the Sockeyes in 2005, he joined a team in Neepawa, Manitoba for 10 games where he averaged a point a game. The following season he found his way to the Brampton Capitals of the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League where he again averaged more than a point per game in both the regular season and playoffs.
In the fall of 2007, Oye played the first of four seasons at Fredonia State University in western New York. While eventually graduating as a double major in business and economics, his point totals on the ice also steadily increased. By his senior season of 2010-11 he amassed 40 points in 27 games. His efforts to successfully marry academic and athletic excellence earned his the Chancellor’s Award and first-team and All-American honours by the American Hockey Coaches Association.
Oye went on to play one season of pro hockey in the Southern league, scoring 29 points in 46 games for Louisiana IceGators in 2011-12.
“Time certainly has flown by,” he says. “The withdrawal was certainly difficult to begin with. I was hard to come to terms with not being at the rink every day, like I had been for almost my entire life, and to figure out what the next chapter of my life was going to look like.”
Oye was also fortunate enough to have received some accolades post-career, just last month being named to the his State University of New York Athletic Conference All-Decade Team. He was also recently inducted into Fredonia’s sports hall of fame, providing him with an opportunity to travel back to his alma mater, and reminisce with former teammates and coaches.
“It’s brought about a nice bit of closure to my hockey career, and reminded me of how fortunate I have been to be afforded many amazing opportunities,” he says.
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