One could argue that the most important position on the football field is that of an official. Without referees, umpires, line judges, field judges and others, games simply could not be played in the CJFL. However for their extreme importance, officials are often yelled at and verbally abused by coaches, players and fans alike, yet they continue to do an excellent job on the field.
The CJFL is proud to announce the first ever official to be given the honour of a CJFL Life Member Award.
Brian Small contributed a great deal to the CJFL on and off the field as a referee from 1983-2002. He was named the first ever Prairie Conference Referee-in-Chief and held that position for 19 years, stepping down just this past fall. He not only officiated games on the field during his career, but was also responsible for scheduling officials to be at all the other Conference games each week. Brian is a huge advocate for the sport of football and specifically officials.
He has had a distinguished career that has spanned more than 25 years and has officiated all levels of football including the CJFL and a stint in the CFL from 1993-1997 during the expansion to the United States. His resume is impressive officiating a Canadian Bowl, an Atlantic Bowl, a Hardy Cup and his final game, the 2002 Vanier Cup. Brian also served as the Referee-in-Chief for Canada West of USports creating training programs that both leagues continue to use.
Just prior to the 2011 Vanier Cup Brian was honoured with the Sydney Halter Award for his “Outstanding Contributions to Football Officiating” which included his extensive training program for the development of better officials. This award is not given out each year.
“Officials are always the unsung heroes of the CJFL,” says Commissioner Jim Pankovich. “I’ve known Brian for several years and his long-term commitment in developing new officials in Western Canada through various training programs has been outstanding. Brian helped create officiating standards in the CJFL when it comes to selecting which referees officiate our Canadian Bowl each season. We owe a great deal of debt to all of our officials each and every year as they not only make our game safer but they actually make it possible. Without our dedicated officials across the CJFL we wouldn’t be able to play. On behalf of the CJFL, I would like to congratulate and thank Brian for everything he has done for our game, this is well deserved.”
The CJFL Life Member Award is saved for an individual that has contributed a great deal to the CJFL and Brian Small certainly has done that. Officials today in Western Canada are much better trained and equipped thanks to his programs and love for Canadian amateur football.
Congratulations Brian Small.