The Stewart MacDonald Executive of the Year is handed out each season to a worthy volunteer who has gone above and beyond their usual duties. The winner must show a passion to make their team or Conference better and the 2021 recipient did that, and then some.
This CJFL season required “out of the box thinking” at almost every turn and BC Conference President Tyler McLaren was up for the task. He demonstrated incredible leadership with the changing COVID-19 protocols and was able to secure much needed funds for the Conference when ticket sales and sponsorship dollars were in jeopardy.
Tyler has been named the 2021 CJFL Stewart MacDonald Executive of the Year.
Original nomination submitted by Paul Shortt.
In his fourth year as President of the British Columbia Football Conference, 2021 turned out to be the most challenging for Tyler.
A hands-on President, as the conference came back to play following a CoVID year off, Tyler had plenty of work to do to get the BCFC back on the field and help the teams maneuver the provincial restrictions and help the teams who were experiencing financial setbacks.
Tyler maintained constant communication throughout the year to head off any potential problems and concerns that might delay or cancel the 2021 season and to ensure that all the teams in the BCFC were up to date on what was taking place within the BCFC as well as the CJFL.
This season Tyler created a schedule that the teams could adapt to, all the while obeying the provincial restrictions due to the pandemic. Part of the schedule called for the Okanagan Sun and Kamloops Broncos to hold home games in Chilliwack. Because of that decision, there were no games lost or postponed.
Along with being financially frugal, Tyler has again secured a major sponsor from the B.C. Lions football club. He was able to negotiate a new 50/50 agreement that would see the BCFC maintain the money flow to the league, despite the Lions missing 2020 and playing a shortened 2021 season. He also worked with and lobbied the BC government to secure some financial assistance from the COVID Relief Fund.
To help alleviate some of the financial strain on the teams, Tyler was able to broker a deal with Traxx Bus Lines that made for more cost-effective travel for the clubs.
All the while, Tyler was able to keep the new franchise from Prince George, the Kodiaks, informed and on track for their opening campaign in 2022.
With the challenges that the conference endured this season and Tyler taking ownership and responsibility of the BCFC to ensure that the league got back on track, the BCFC feels that Tyler would be a good choice as the CJFL 2021 Stewart MacDonald Executive of the Year.
The CJFL Life Member Award is saved for an individual(s) that has contributed a great deal to their team, their Conference and to the CJFL as a whole. Today's honourees are the CJFL's power couple and have contributed hours and hours of their time to make sure the "numbers" are correct.
Terry and Ed Plant have held many roles throughout their time in the CJFL and now have the distinction of a Life Membership.
Terry and Ed have been quite a dynamic dual for football in Canada over the past two decades. Aside from being two of the most genuine, reliable, delightful, and friendly people who have the innate ability to make everyone feel welcome and valued, the two have been synonymous in keeping and maintaining the records of junior football from the historical, statistical, and administrative perspectives.
Ed has been overseeing and taking the statistics for football teams going back as far as the 90’s with the then Edmonton Eskimos. Since 1999 Ed and Terry have been involved with junior football in one aspect or another. Ed became the Prairie Conference’s head statistician in the early 2000s and quick after that he became the CJFL's head statistician. This entails ensuring all teams across Canada have met a standard of excellence and consistency that would allow for the accurate record keeping which is important to selecting award winners and maintaining conference records. Ed also has been a valued member of both Conference and CJFL’s board of directors.
During this time Ed and Terry, continued to complete the stats for both Edmonton Huskies and Wildcats, the statistics for the national semifinals and the Canadian bowl, all this while keeping the stats for the Eskimos. Most folks don’t understand the commitment in keeping all these stats together and separately while also maintaining a fulltime job and have a family life. Some of the “stats” that most people don’t see is how early a statistician must arrive before the game to set up and then stay late afterwards to finish the stats and circulate to the necessary parties. Ed and Terry did this year after year, without much fanfare and without complaint.
Terry also has dedicated a tremendous portion of her life to junior football. Aside from being part of the statistician teams, Terry has been a long-term record keeper in the role as board of directors’ secretary for the Prairie Conference as well as the CJFL. Along with usual duties that accompany this role, Terry has been the valuable and irreplaceable corporate memory of both conference and national junior football and keeping both boards focused and moving forward.
It goes without any argument or debate that without Ed and Terry’s involvement in junior football over the last two decades the quality of our game would not be at the level and standard that it is at today. Each of their contributions as individuals would warrant their induction as lifetime members, but as a couple it would be hard pressed to find anybody who has contributed more to junior football in Canada.
Given the incredible amount of time, desire, dedication, discipline and positive attitude Ed and Terry have contributed to junior football over the decades they are most deserving of the CJFL Life Member award.
Contributed by: Randy O’Shaughnessy
The CJFL Life Member Award is saved for an individual that has contributed a great deal to their team, their Conference and to the CJFL as a whole. Today’s Life Member honouree has done all that and more.
Darren Cocchetto is the President of the Ontario Conference.
He started his association with the OFC and Windsor AKO Fratmen, by playing four years from 1993 – 1997. Darren became a member of The AKO Fraternity in 2002 just as he was finishing his Law degree. He became President of the Fraternity in 2006 and held the position until 2013. He was elected Vice-President of the OFC in 2012 and with the resignation of the President at the time Darren was appointed President of the OFC in June of 2012 and still holds this position today. He also served as Deputy Commissioner in 2014 -2015 and the last few years, has also done double duty by being the OFC Statistician.
Darren has shown that he is very dedicated to the values and the mission of Canadian Junior Football League.
Darren is married to his wife Karen and they have two wonderful boys Hudson & Emmett and live in Kingston Ontario. He has his own Law Firm when football isn’t interfering.
Submitted by: Paul Bartle