In everything that he has built, Allan Ferchuk has always been doing it for somebody else.
For athletes, volunteers or the community, Ferchuk created a long-lasting legacy that was built on the foundation of helping others in sport.
That dedicated effort to push forward collegiate sports, in particular, earned the Red Deer native a spot in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Hall of Fame as a builder on Tuesday.
“I expected to try and right some things that I saw could be done differently,” said Ferchuk, 71, who over four decades served in multiple capacities related to college athletics.
“I had no idea how much I would learn and how much I would enjoy it. I didn’t teach the others as much as I learned and I enjoyed the interaction tremendously.”
Perhaps best known for his work as the RDC Kings hockey head coach, Ferchuk won both the ACAC and CCAA Men’s Hockey Coach of the Year and was inducted into the ACAC Hall of Fame in 2014.
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In 14 seasons behind the bench, he guided the Kings to five appearances at the CCAA National Championships, capturing titles in 1977, 1978, 1980 and earned silver in 1978 and 1983.
Ferchuk then served Red Deer College Athletic Director for 18 years (at various points between 1988 and 2003) and as the Alberta Colleges Athletic Association representative to the CCAA for three years.
Along with that, he joined the CCAA executive for 10 years from 1995-2005. He was also the CCAA President from 1996-2002 and past president from 2002-04.
“Part of me felt, as a coach, it was debt that I owed to serve. A two-year commitment ended up being three terms and then a past president term. It was an amazing experience. For me, I learned a lot more than I think I passed on to others. I find that when you volunteer, you always learn more than you figure,” Ferchuck said.
“It was good for me, as an Athletic Director in Central Alberta, to be exposed to amazing athletic directors… my memories are one of really enjoying it and learned a ton. Really appreciated Red Deer College as an institution, because we were always supported to do these types of things– to volunteer.”
During that time, he helped restore Sport Canada funding in 2000 for the CCAA and also played a part in bringing the first CCAA Cross Country Running National Championships to Red Deer in 2002.
“That (funding) allowed the Canadian colleges to put together a plan to keep going and it’s prospered with that plan,” said Ferchuck.
“Bob Mills was the key in organizing a meeting with the Liberal Party and the Minister of Sport. Because he could talk to both of them. He arranged for a couple of meetings… that was the first step to restoring some financial stability to the Canadian colleges.”
In 2005, he was the first ACAC A.D. to be named CCAA Athletic Director of the Year.
Ferchuk underscored his work first as an athlete but more so as a coach helped develop a deep belief that succeeding in sport on the biggest stage could benefit athletes in many different ways.
While he helped his players broaden their horizons with trips across Canada to various championships, he felt that work also served beyond the field of play–giving them the confidence they could be successful in any pursuit they chose.
“I think athletes that have the chance to compete on the national level, it improves the quality of your training,” Ferchuk explained.
“Because it improves the quality of your training you have a focus. If you’re fortunate enough to compete nationally, that stays with you the rest of your life. That was part of why I wanted to get involved, I didn’t want to see that get lost for Central Alberta athletes or athletes across Canada.”
Ferchuk was one of 10 new members elected into the CCAA Hall of Fame and will be inducted at a banquet hosted by the ACAC on June 11 in Calgary.