A Red Deer area man dedicated to enriching people’s lives through sport is this year’s recipient of the City of Red Deer’s Lifetime Sport Achievement Award.
Allan Ferchuk, 61, was recognized during the Red Deer Community Sports Awards 2009 banquet on Thursday at the Royal Canadian Legion. Ferchuk said he felt tremendously honoured to receive an award that has been handed out since 1959.
“It was wonderful to be recognized by your friends and colleagues . . . and especially have some of my former athletes here from when I first moved to Red Deer.”
Ferchuk arrived in 1973 to teach at Red Deer College and over the next three decades, he dedicated himself to college athletics. He served as faculty member, program chair, coach and mentor. Most recently, he was athletic director for 20 years.
And he developed a solid name for himself across the country, volunteering as president of the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association, serving on the Alberta Colleges Athletic Association executive and chairing the research committee for Hockey Canada.
Besides writing hockey manuals and studying hockey in Russia, he coached minor hockey and today is mentoring female hockey coaches at Red Deer College. He coached minor baseball and volunteered with local ball.
Ferchuk also founded Red Deer College’s Be Fit for Life Centre (Kevin Sirois Centre).
“It was a little beyond my job at Red Deer College. We went to the community with the Be Fit for Life program and we still see it now, with young women and body image and getting active.”
His legacy also includes being the original executive director of the Alberta Sport Development Centre, which supports young athletes.
Ferchuk is glad now to see young people who are pursuing their sport passions.
“We need to build the facilities and have the coaching to continue that,” he said.
Ferchuk credits the “spirit of this community around sport” for inspiring him too. They include college athletic staff Laurel Goodacre, Cor Ouwerkerk, Gord Inglis, Keith Hansen and now-deceased Wayne Lalor.
And Ferchuk’s family backed his lifelong dedication as well.
Ferchuk first met his wife Barbara at a baseball park. Married now for 40 years, they raised four children and her younger brother.
“When you do all these things, you need someone who understands. When you take a hockey team to the Soviet Union and you are leaving Boxing Day, someone has to make the home work.”
The semi-retired man remains active, teaching sport management and hockey leadership.