Jim Courchesne is that prototype volunteer in Calgary, having been involved in local community development ever since he himself was a participant in the Hillhurst Sunnyside and West Hillhurst sports programs. A native Calgarian, Jim attended Connaught and then Briar Hill Elementary School matriculating from Queen Elizabeth Junior and Senior High School. He then graduated from Mount Royal College in Business Administration. During this period of his life, Jim played hockey for the community teams in West Hillhurst and Hillhurst Sunnyside ending his playing days at the Junior "B" level. He also played high school football and with the Junior Wranglers coached by Eric Bishop. Jim still plays hockey on the Varsity Velocity old-timers hockey team and tries to stay in shape during the off season roller-blading and biking on the city pathways.
While still an active participant in sports, his coaching career began with the minor hockey teams in Hillhurst Sunnyside and eventually in the Calgarv Buffalo league. This involvement deepened after his marriage and the family's move to the Varsity community. He was a member of the original Board of Directors that raised the dollars for their community building and set down the guidelines for the Varsity Community Association. His association continues to this day through all the different committee and community boards. He is currently the Varsity representative and President of the Board of Directors for the Crowchild Twin Arena. Being an original board member, he was involved in fund raising and the construction of the Crowchild Twin Arena. In 1962 Jim learned he would enjoy coaching when he found he could demonstrate skills to young Bantam football players and they were receptive to his approach. His confidence improved with each "Cee, thanks coach." and since that year Jim went on to coach Bantam Football for 12 years, community hockey for 18 years and lacrosse for 18 years. Jim is now the Vice-President of the Calgary Bantam Football Association and helps the league Commissioner with selected duties.
He became a Level IV National Coach Certification Program Coach and Instructor in hockey, specializing in goaltending. He developed the skills competition for the all stars at The Mac's Tournament. He established a hockey school in the northwest with help from instructors in the AA NW Buffalos. The school is now known as the Crowchild Hockey School. In 1983 Jim and Al Coates developed a Pee-Wee team to represent Calgary at the world famous Quebec "America Cup".
The Varsity Lacrosse program has evolved from Pee-Wee level through to Midget level morphing into The Crowchild Lacrosse Association to finally become the Northwest Lacrosse Association which now provides competition at all age levels. With the assistance of many others, Jim helped develop a coaching manual for the Calgary District Lacrosse Association. He was chairman of the 1990 Canada Day lacrosse Tournament that hosted 87 teams from across the country. He has been a clinic instructor for certification of coaches in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton in addition to attendance at national meetings with representatives and the Technical Directors for lacrosse and football.
Of all the awards for hockey, lacrosse, football and community involvement, it is the Jimmy Condon Award he received in 1981 that gives him the most pleasure. The Jimmy Condon Award is presented each year to the Minor Hockey team that displays the best combination of sportsmanship and education using a formula of school grades and fewest penalties. Jim's resume of coaching, program development, directorships, tournament coordinator or chairman is extensive and is totally devoted to the realm of minor amateur sport.
His wife Wendy has supported and been as involved as Jim in their community of Varsity. He feels that any recognition that comes his way is shared with her, their three sons, two daughters and all the members of the immediate extended family especially their seven grandchildren. The Calgary Booster Club is very pleased to honour James "Jim" Courchesne as the 2002 Sportsman of the Year.