Courtesy of CSTA
Vancouver – Tom Valcke was named the recipient of the President’s Award by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA) on Sunday at the 6th Annual CSTA PRESTIGE Awards Gala held at the River Rock Casino Hotel in Richmond, British Columbia.
“We are thrilled to honour Tom, who has truly made a significant impact on the Canadian sport tourism industry,” said CSTA president Grant MacDonald.
“Tom has dedicated his life to sport and particularly baseball. He gave focus to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s vision and established its nation-wide credibility in its media, friend-raising and fundraising reach. Throughout his tenure in St. Marys, he was relentless in ensuring that his desired messages reached Canadians coast-to-coast. He was instrumental in obtaining significant donations, grants and sponsorships from all three levels of government, foundations, philanthropists and corporate Canada. He oversaw the development of the Ball Hall’s 32-acre site into a first class baseball complex, created an outstanding summer camp program for youth, and he transformed the annual induction ceremony into a nationally-recognized four-day festival.”
Valcke geared his acceptance speech toward British Columbia, beginning by recognizing the numerous B.C. inductees in the Ball Hall’s museum, with special praise for the Vancouver Asahi baseball team.
“It is said that those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it,” Valcke told the gala’s 400 guests.
“To me, the Asahi and their amazing story of perseverance, using baseball as a vehicle to get through their oppression and reinstituted into Canadian society, is a legacy that needs to be presented to young Canadians, and defines why we need the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.”
After reviewing the B.C. Jack Graney Award winners such as Bill Kinsella, and past Tip O’Neill Award winners, such as nine-time recipient Larry Walker, Valcke named the impressive list of current B.C. players in the Major Leagues, including Toronto Blue Jays sensation Brett Lawrie, Justin Morneau, Jason Bay, Ryan Dempster, Jeff Francis, Adam Loewen, Rich Harden, Blake Hawksworth, Mike Nickeas and Mike Saunders.
He added that Victoria native Jeff Mallett has become an owner with the San Francisco Giants; Vancouver’s Dave McKay, who won a World Series ring last year as a coach with the St. Louis Cardinals, has exceeded 30 years in the Major Leagues and he now coaches with the Chicago Cubs; Victoria native Walt Burrows has supervised the Major League Baseball Central Scouting Bureau for almost 20 years now; and, that Vancouver’s Ray Carter is the president of Baseball Canada.
“The tremendous staff and countless volunteers in the B.C. Baseball community has never viewed its job as producing Hall of Famers and professional players, but rather, to serve the recreational and developmental needs of the boys and girls who register,” praised Valcke, who expects to announce the next chapter in his career soon.
“When you do it right, and commit the way these folks do, those who do wind up excelling are nothing but inevitable by-products of a great system, and B.C. Baseball has really set the bar for the rest of the country.”
Valcke also complimented B.C. pioneers such as Jim Swanson who heads a group in Prince George, B.C., for hosting the annual World Baseball Challenge, and Robyn Harden, who is currently leading a project in the Okanagan Valley to develop a state-of-the-art world class baseball complex.
More about CSTA:
The Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance is a tourism industry led organization that promotes sport tourism as an economic driver at the community level. The CSTA services over 300 member organizations across Canada, including 125 municipalities, 150 national and provincial sport, multi-sport and major games organizations and a variety of other national and provincial sport and tourism industry partners.
The President’s Award recognizes the outstanding achievements or contributions by individuals, organizations, single or multi-sport events that have helped profile and build sport tourism in Canada, provide exceptional sporting opportunities, generate significant revenue, or demonstrate the value of volunteerism.
The Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance PRESTIGE Awards were established to celebrate the people, places and events that make the Canadian sport tourism industry so dynamic and important to the economic fabric of our communities. The PRESTIGE Awards were presented at a gala luncheon event which took place in conjunction with CSTA’s annual conference, Sport Events Congress.
I agree with Tom Valcke that Jim Swanson has done great work in Prince George in regards to promoting sports tourism in PG.