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MONTREAL — Calling the former Alouette player and broadcaster an inspiration to the entire league, Canadian Football League Commissioner Mark Cohon has chosen Tony Proudfoot to be the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award.
“This award is given to someone who has strengthened our league and our game, and their place in Canada’s sports culture,” Cohon said today.
“Tony Proudfoot has done that, and more. He has been a great player, a broadcaster, an author, and a teacher and mentor to many in our league. And through a combination of cruel fate and sublime strength of character, Tony has become something even greater: he’s an inspiration.”
Proudfoot was a two-time all-star defensive back, in 1977 and 1979, and a two-time Grey Cup champion, in 1974 and 1977, with the Montreal Alouettes. He also played for the B.C. Lions.
He is the author of First and Goal, a book about excellence in Canadian football. He has worked as the colour commentator on Alouettes’ radio broadcasts on CJAD, and served as a guest coach for the Alouettes. He has also served his community as a teacher and a volunteer, and his family as a devoted husband and father.
In 2007, it was revealed that Proudfoot suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), a progressive, neurodegenerative disease. Proudfoot has battled the disease with both courage and candour, chronicling his challenges and triumphs in a blog for the Montreal Gazette, and crusading on behalf of research for a cure for the disease.
“I am deeply moved and humbled to be the recipient of this award. I would like to thank the Canadian Football League, I have loved every minute of my association with you since 1971, you’re a class act. I would also like to thank my beloved Montreal Alouettes who allowed me to indulge in my love of the game on so many different levels,” Proudfoot said.
Cohon is scheduled to present Proudfoot with the award on Sunday afternoon at Olympic Stadium, prior to the 1 p.m. (ET) kickoff of the CFL’s Eastern Final between the Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts.
The award is usually presented each year on Grey Cup Sunday in the city hosting the Grey Cup, during the Commissioner’s pre-game brunch for dignitaries. Unfortunately, Proudfoot’s health will not allow him to travel to Edmonton next week.
Previous winners of the award include Campbell, a legendary CFL player, coach and executive, Bob Ackles, the water boy who grew up to become the successful President and Chief Executive Officer of the B.C. Lions, and Stan Schwartz, Executive Vice-President of the Calgary Stampeders and a driving force in sport in the province of Alberta.