Established in 1976 in memory of the late Charles Daigle to recognize individuals at the executive level. This award is presented annually to an individual to be recognized at the executive level.
Anyone involved in hockey in the North-West is familiar with the name Jack Lebel. For many years, Jack has been scheduling, supervising, and coaching referees in the region. Jack was playing more of a behind the scenes role and he was a strong supporter and helper for the various referees in chief. When the position became vacant in the spring of 2018, he accepted to fill the vacancy to complete the term. He must have liked it because when the position was up for election for a 2-year term, he accepted to re-offer and was elected.
Jack starts the season before everyone by recruiting and promotion for referees. He then coordinates the certification and re-certification for the referees at various levels. This season, he had 84 referees to cover over an estimated 1,200 games, including minor, senior, elite and high school. He recruited 22 new referees, had 31 regular officials and 31 senior officials. He has helped young officials get level 5 certification in past few seasons.
He is even more active once the season starts- coordinating with the various associations, rinks and team officials, tracking and ensuring appropriate referees are available while also coordinating with Quebec and District 2 referee in chief for senior league games. He not only ensures availability of officials for games, but also for the many tournaments in the region. When games get cancelled, he is quick to get a hold of his referees, to avoid unnecessary trips. He manages in a way to be the most cost effective for minor hockey association, opting for local referees as much as possible, and when travel is required, he mandates car pooling to save cost.
When he is short on officials, Jack suits-up his referee uniform and hits the ice to make sure hockey gets played. If anyone is looking for Jack, they only need to head to a rink to find him. His calm nature, logical thinking for alternatives have garnered the respect of many referees. His dedication has helped with referee retention because they know they have the support and leadership they need to do their job.
For the work he has done over the years, especially the last few seasons, we are very proud to present the J. Charles Daigle award to Jack Lebel!