Mal Stelck arrived at Selkirk College in Castlegar, B.C. in 1971 with a mandate to build its physical education and athletic programs, and coach the men’s hockey team. He would hold the post for a little over a year before he attended a 1972 meeting that would form the CCAA.
Attending as a provincial representative for B.C.’s Totem Athletic Conference (now PACWEST), he would later serve as president of the provincial organization (1975-78), as well as president of the 4-West (1978-79), a precursor to the CCAA which included B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. As a result he had a clear grasp of the capabilities and aspirations of the western provinces, and became a significant contributor to the CCAA. He served one term as a provincial representative (1977-78), two as first vice-president (1979-82), three as president (1982-86), as well as past president (1986-89).
“It was a great privilege getting to know all the parts of this great country and working with others to reach mutually established goals,” says Stelck. “I got to work with some of the nicest people that one could hope to meet.”
It was an era of formative development for the CCAA. Stelck spent time as committee chair of both Constitution and Bylaws as well as Championship Format - Structure, shaping the outcome of both panels. The organization faced serious challenges during his presidency, including the drastic reduction of Sport Canada funding in 1985 and a subsequent attempt at professional fundraising.
But his memories of the CCAA remain fond ones, such as socializing after a good day’s work and enjoying the incredible hospitality provided by the hosts of meetings and championships. “Watching the CCAA national championships and attending the special events that surrounded them was very rewarding.”
Through it all Stelck remained at Selkirk College. He was instrumental in getting its sports and athletic facilities built, became director of student services and college relations, principal of the Castlegar campus, and then vice-president of education. He capped off his working career as vice-president, education and COO at BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology). Meanwhile the Mal Stelck Leadership Award is handed out to Selkirk students every year in honour of his remarkable achievements, and the Mal Stelck Award In Honour of Fair Play is awarded at each CCAA Men’s Volleyball National Championship.
“Making a contribution, however small, to the evolution of the CCAA has been an honour and a privilege,” says Stelck. “We old timers cherish the memories and offer our very best wishes to those now working to further the organization’s goals.”