With speeches and a Gray Cup look, Calgary bids last farewell to sports activities legend Douglas Mitchell

By all of it, Lois and his kids — Shelley, Steve, Scott and Sue Ann — have been at all times his first precedence

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Douglas Mitchell might be remembered for his devotion to folks and Calgary.

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The titan of sport and group died on the age of 83 on July 20, and on Thursday, Calgary had the chance to pay correct tribute to one in all its icons.

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“The passing of any life is a second of disappointment, particularly for the family members it’s exhausting, however right now I feel that disappointment is tempered by power and is overwhelmed by the legacy of a protracted life, effectively lived and filled with accomplishment,” former prime minister Stephen Harper stated in a ceremony on the Jack Singer Live performance Corridor, full with an look by the Gray Cup.

The Calgary native attended Colorado Faculty on a hockey scholarship and graduated with a enterprise diploma. He went on to check legislation on the College of British Columbia, performed soccer for the UBC Thunderbirds, and met his spouse, Lois, who served as Alberta’s lieutenant-governor from 2015 to 2020.

He performed briefly with the Canadian Soccer League’s B.C. Lions and Hamilton Tiger-Cats earlier than shifting dwelling to lift his 4 kids with Lois and pursue a authorized profession that spanned six a long time.

By all of it, Lois and his kids — Shelley, Steve, Scott and Sue Ann — have been at all times his first precedence.

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“I can let you know the position that he was proudest of was the position of a household man, of a husband, of a father and of a grandfather,” stated Shelley. “A extra devoted, dedicated, caring husband and father you could possibly by no means discover. He deeply and unconditionally loves his kids and his spouse, and everyone knows it.”

Whereas his enjoying profession had wrapped up, he was simply starting to affect the sports activities group.

He served as CFL commissioner from 1984 to 1988, was awarded the Order of Canada in 2004 and has been inducted into each the Alberta and Canada Sports activities Corridor of Fames, in addition to the Canadian Soccer Corridor of Fame final month. U Sports activities, the nationwide governing physique for college sports activities in Canada, additionally renamed its athlete of the yr awards in honour of Doug and Lois, whereas one in all its soccer semifinals is called the Mitchell Bowl in his honour.

He’s additionally credited with serving to mentor many within the enterprise and sports activities communities, serving to to breathe new life into the Calgary Stampeders within the 2000s and later assist revitalize his hometown’s spirit within the midst of a recession and a failed push to mount a 2018 Olympic bid.

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The tribute was hosted by Dave Kelly and Gary Mar, and remarks got here in from the who’s-who of Alberta and Canadian sport, together with Harper, Premier Jason Kenney, Hayley Wickenheiser, former Manitoba premier Gary Filmon, John Murphy — the nationwide managing accomplice and CEO at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP — CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie, Keeper of the Gray Cup Jeff McWhinney, and Scott Thon — president of operations at Berkshire Hathaway Power Canada.

Harper met Mitchell within the Eighties when Doug was already a pillar of the group in Calgary.

He pointed to Mitchell’s motto of “learn to be a workforce participant, be unselfish and put others’ wants forward of your personal.”

“Doug succeeded in so many issues as a result of those that have been with him additionally succeeded,” Harper stated.

Stephen Harper speaks during the tribute to Douglas Mitchell on Thursday.
Stephen Harper speaks in the course of the tribute to Douglas Mitchell on Thursday. Darren

Kenney pointed to the partnership Mitchell had together with his spouse, to the purpose the place Lois requested an image of Doug be included into her official portrait on the legislature.

“Let or not it’s stated that in our 117-year historical past as a province . . . no viceregal representatives have labored tougher or took on the position with extra gusto as people, and Doug was there each step of the best way — or ought to I say three steps behind,” stated Kenney.

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Wickenheiser considers him a mentor for her profession, which incorporates successful 5 Olympic gold medals, lately being named assistant normal supervisor of the Toronto Maple Leafs and a residency in palliative care.

“After I take into consideration Doug, I take into consideration a person that has lived his life with unimaginable kindness, with braveness to do the correct factor and say the correct factor when it was usually not fashionable,” she stated. “We honour the best way that he carried himself as a father and as a grandfather, as a group chief and as a mentor.”

Hockey great Hayley Wickenheiser says Mitchell was a valuable mentor.
Hockey nice Hayley Wickenheiser says Mitchell was a worthwhile mentor. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

Filmon and his spouse, Manitoba Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon, have been longtime associates of the Mitchells.

“I’d have given my eye enamel to have Doug Mitchell on my workforce in Manitoba,” he stated.

Ambrosie credited Mitchell’s efforts in saving the CFL within the ’90s and serving to to construct the Stampeders into one of many league’s greatest franchises.

He first met him in 1985 as a rookie enjoying sort out for Calgary on the Shriner’s and Stampeders Golf Basic. He’ll miss sitting at video games with Mitchell with their frequent bond of being commissioner.

“The factor I liked probably the most about it’s after we have been speaking in regards to the league, I knew that Doug knew what it’s like, and that’s that feeling of empathy, that connectedness that Doug and I had, as a result of we shared this job on this league that we each liked a lot,” he stated. “It was a really particular a part of doing this job and I’ll miss these days very a lot.”

The Grey Cup is carried in at the start of the tribute at the Jack Singer Concert Hall.
The Gray Cup is carried in in the beginning of the tribute on the Jack Singer Live performance Corridor. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

Murphy stated Mitchell’s management impressed generations of legal professionals in Calgary and throughout Canada and famous he was instrumental in forming the BLG legislation agency and was its founding nationwide chair.

“He was a visionary chief within the authorized business,” stated Murphy.

Thon stated there have been instances when Mitchell would get annoyed, nevertheless it was at all times for good purpose.

“The instances that I used to be with grumpy Doug was when he was upset that somebody couldn’t see the potential that they had,” he stated. “They couldn’t see what was attainable for our group. That’s what I like.”


Twitter: @JoshAldrich03

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