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The Influencers: Bud Sheldon, Director Emeritus, WAHA

By Matt Carey, Contributor, 11/01/23, 10:00AM CDT


Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this article are solely those of Matt Carey and do not reflect the opinions of Wisconsin Prep Hockey or its partners.

As summer was ending and the fall air approaching in 1971, Bud Sheldon drove to the local ice rink to sign his son up to play hockey. Bud did not envision that a drive to the rink would result in 50 plus years of service to hockey. Bud thought of himself as an ordinary husband and father just trying to give his son an opportunity to play hockey. But the hard-working employee of a telecommunications company was anything but ordinary.

After hearing a group of parents needed help organizing another hockey association in Milwaukee, Bud jumped into action. He tirelessly helped the new organization, Southeastern Hockey Association of Wisconsin (SHAW). Bud served as director, secretary, and president of SHAW, and helped grow the association from an initial 37 members to become one of the largest youth hockey associations in Wisconsin.

Shortly after he began serving the kids at SHAW, Bud started his tenure at Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association (WAHA), which continues today as a director emeritus at age 92. Bud was WAHA vice president for fourteen years, tournament director, and served as director of WAHA player development for a quarter century.

In his player development role for WAHA, Bud organized all the state-wide tryouts for the bantam/midget festivals. If you walked into any Wisconsin ice rink from January thru March starting in the mid-1980’s until the 2000’s, you would have seen a banner hanging on the wall with a WAHA/USA Hockey logo on it with tryout registration forms attached. Bud Sheldon’s name, address, and phone number were on every registration form.

The tryout registration form of every player that attended a WAHA/USA Hockey tryout passed across the table in Bud’s kitchen! Thousands of players attended tryouts and Bud orchestrated it all. Bud was an exceptional communicator, and with his likeable personality and resilient determination he ran a smooth operation. However, as a humble man that describes himself as “just a volunteer worker”, Bud gives credit to everyone but himself. In a recent phone conversation Bud deflected a compliment by saying, “The evaluators and coaches did a great job.”

Bud’s contributions have impacted multi-generations of Wisconsin players, including kids that are playing today. For example, Bud was one of the first WAHA Board members to go all in to support the idea of Team Wisconsin. Bud helped garner enough votes on the Board to get the proposal for Team Wisconsin approved. When Bud started on the WAHA Board, Wisconsin did not have the state divided into regions. So, Bud rolled up his sleeves and helped the late Don Kohlman create the six WAHA regions that exist today.

Rolling the sleeves up and getting to work is common for a person that grew up during World War II. In 1942, Bud’s dad got pulled away for WW II and his mom had tuberculosis.

Consequently, Bud had to move from his childhood home in Green Bay and go live with his grandma in Ashland. Fortunately, Bud’s dad came home from WW II, which allowed a teenage Bud to return home and graduate from Green Bay West HS in 1949. Following high school, Bud attended UW Green Bay and UW Madison. He met his wife, Anne, in college and they moved to Milwaukee in 1956 and still live there today.

Bud Sheldon’s multiple decades of youth hockey leadership is sincerely appreciated!

Yours for hockey, Matt Carey

Bud Sheldon was inducted into the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992, and received service awards from SHAW, Milwaukee Admirals and USA Hockey.

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