the Aboriginal Sport Circle coach-of-the-year award might have come
as a surprise to David Canadian, but to anyone else who learned
of his recent honour, the news wasn't exactly earth-shattering.
the past 15 years, Canadian has served as head coach of the Kahnawake
Survival School wrestling team. In that time, the former Michigan
High School wrestler has guided his troops to 15 consecutive Greater
Montreal Athletic Association team titles and countless individual
honours. He's also led his charges to many individual and team provincial
championships during those years, and has coached a number of his
wrestlers to high-place finishes at the national level.
is the winningest coach in the history of GMAA athletics and if
that isn't enough to merit winning a coach-of-the-year award, what
is? Canadian's Sports and Recreation Unit colleague Lou Ann Stacey,
for one, couldn't agree more.
great that someone from our community won an award as prestigious
as this one," said Stacey. "He's a tremendous role model,
not just for the athletes under his guidance but for other coaches
in this community as well. He works hard, he always gives a full
commitment in any endeavour he takes on and he gets the best out
of whomever he's coaching. He's done a fantastic job over the years
with the youth in Kahnawake and he truly deserves this kind of recognition."
the award was one thing. Getting to the CBC building in Toronto
to receive it, was another matter altogether.
wife (Margie) and I drove down (to Toronto) for the Canadian Sports
Awards banquet and when we got to Cornwall we ran into a huge snowstorm,"
said Canadian. "Then we got lost in Toronto so we ended up
being a little late. However, we did get there before it was my
turn to receive the award."
his reaction to having won such a prestigious award?
was honoured," he said. "And I was honoured to be in the
same room with such worthy athletes as (Olympians) Waneek (Horn-Miller),
(gold medal wrestler) Daniel Igalie, (Alpine skiing gold medallist)
Becky Scott and (bronze medallist rower) Silken Laumann. Everyone
there was so down to earth it made the whole experience very pleasant.
The next morning in the elevator a couple of elder ladies I never
met before, recognized me and congratulated me. That, in itself
was a major honour."
said he had an inkling he might win the award, but it was hairy
for a while because he was up against another coach and it took
the awards committee four days to decide who would get it.
have to thank Harley (Delaronde) for nominating me and all the people
who sent letters of support on my behalf."
Canadian was cornered by The Eastern Door and coerced into letting
on what it takes to be a coach-of-the-year.
I believe it's important to talk," he confessed. "Good
communication between the coach and the athlete is always a requisite.
young athletes have nobody else (in their life) and it's important
to be honest and listen to them. First and foremost, you have to
care (about the athlete). If you don't care, you shouldn't be a
that's how it's done: Putting your heart in the right place.
the world over, take heed. This man knows what he's doing. He's
involved in sports for all the right reasons.