Mr. Softball: Arcand receives national award

When it comes to softball, George Arcand has the bases covered. Arcand has a long history with the sport in the territory, and he's got a passel of accolades to show for it. This week, he'll get another.

When it comes to softball, George Arcand has the bases covered.

Arcand has a long history with the sport in the territory, and he’s got a passel of accolades to show for it.

This week, he’ll get another.

On Thursday Arcand will receive the Community Service Prestige Award from the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance for his years of dedication in the sports community.

“It feels great,” said Arcand. “It’s nice to be recognized and have your peers think you did OK.”

Not only has Arcand been the president of Sport Yukon for the past eight years, he has been on its board since its inception in 1973, when it was called the Yukon Sports Federation. Along the way he was inducted into the Canadian Softball Hall of Fame in 2007 and in the Sport Yukon Hall of Fame in 1996.

He is also the current executive director of Softball Yukon.

“George epitomizes true sportsmanship with his kind words and dedication to hard work,” Trevor Twardochleb, executive director of Sport Yukon, said in a news release. “He is an amazing man and a worthy candidate of the Community Service Award.”

Although delighted with the award, Arcand is more thrilled with another nomination.

At the awards ceremony being held in Gatineau, Quebec, the winner of the Event of the Year in the $250 K+ category will be named. One of the three events nominated is the 2008 Junior Men’s Fastpitch Championships held last summer in Whitehorse.

“I’m actually more thrilled with the other one,” said Arcand, who was the chairman of the fastpitch championships.

“It was my responsibility to oversee the organization and the actually running of the tournament. I was front and centre, but there was a committee as well, so it certainly wasn’t all done by me.

“There was a huge amount of volunteers. I think there were 215 or 216 volunteers.

“Our city and territory was able to put an event out there that’s one of three being voted on for the best in Canada for the year—I think that’s pretty good on Whitehorse and the Yukon.”

The other two events nominated are the World Junior Hockey Championship held in Ottawa in December and January and the Rogers Cup tennis championships held in Toronto last summer.

The $250 K and up category is the highest, so the fastpitch championships, with a budget of $700,000, is up against events with much more money to spend, such as the World Junior Hockey Championship with a budget of $2 million.

However, Arcand feels the fastpitch tourney has an advantage because it had more community involvement.

“We’re in some pretty elite company,” said Arcand. “They’re huge events and, obviously, we can’t compare the television coverage and all that kind of stuff. If you look at it from the size of the community I’d venture to say our event meant more to the community than the Rogers Cup did in Toronto, because so many people got involved.”

Arcand’s many roles in the sport are not limited to administration.

As “team leader” Arcand helped Canada’s senior men’s fastball team produce a bronze at the 1986 World Championships.

In 1987 Arcand and his team took gold at the Pan American Games.

He has also had a fair bit of success as a women’s slopitch coach.

“I haven’t done it for a few years, but I did it for quite a while,” said Arcand. “We went to the national championships and the western championships.

“We won a medal here and there. We never won a gold, but they competed pretty well.”

Softball may be a summer sport, but Arcand’s work with Softball Yukon is year-round, overseeing many fund-raising initiatives.

“Sport Yukon is my volunteer role, but I’m an employee of Softball Yukon,” said Arcand. “We’re pretty aggressive fundraisers. Those bingos and all those things happening every week are ours. So we aggressively fundraise all year long to fund the sport in the summer.

“There isn’t anything like the Worlds (this summer), but there’s the Dustball and many other tournaments. It takes a lot of work to run (the Pepsi Centre) and keep it open and keep it at a level where it’s capable hosting more championships. It takes a lot of work to keep it up.

“Right now we’re trying to blow snow off the field to bring the season a little quicker.”

It won’t be all awards ceremonies and acceptance speeches for Arcand while out East, he’ll use the trip as an opportunity to visit family.

“I get a chance to visit with my son who’s in the Air Force in Petawawa,” said Arcand. “So I get a chance to see him and his family.”

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