Yves Paquette had been instrumental in creating Quebec’s intercollegiate athletic league, founded as FASCQ (Fédération des associations sportives collégiales du Québec). Throughout the 1960s he had increased membership, improved athletic participation, and developed the province’s tiered system, making him a natural choice for discussions regarding a national organization.
“We were looking for opportunities to have our students compete against other students [outside Quebec], and that’s when various representatives from across the country got together to see if a national organization could be created,” recalls Paquette. “We’d already put together interprovincial championships with our Ontario colleagues, so it was a natural extension.”
Paquette served as a provincial representative at the first 1972 meeting, developed the CCAA’s membership certificate in 1976, incorporated the CCAA in 1978, and hosted all the 1978 and 1979 CCAA national championships in Quebec’s former Olympic venues, the first time they were all hosted by the same conference.
Despite administrative and political challenges, Paquette ensured the province was an active member of the fledgling national organization. “I think it convinced our colleagues in the rest of the country that we wanted to be there, and wanted to provide those experiences to our students and others across Canada. We tried to create a feeling that no matter our differences, we could play a part in a national experience.” And Paquette says he got as much as he gave. “It was a really fun experience, and there was a lot of foresight and energy from everyone involved; they wanted to create something, and provide student with more than just an academic experience.”
Paquette’s sports legacy also includes founding the Bol d’Or in 1976, Quebec’s provincial football championship which still continues today, the AAA Intercollege hockey league, and editing Sports-Co magazine, a Quebec publication that ran for over 10 years. He worked with FASCQ until 1988, served as president and CEO of CSGA (Canadian Sporting Goods Association), was elected to the board of directors of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry, and served on the committee that banned child labour in the sporting goods industry. He also served as president of the RSEQ for eight years.
Today he still lives in the belle province and has fond memories of executive meetings in Quebec City and nail-biting CCAA national championships. “I remember sitting in a packed hockey arena in Sainte Hyacinthe with the executive committee, amazed by the quality of competition and saying ‘who would’ve imagined we’d be attending the CCAA national championship with a standing-room-only crowd?’ It meant the CCAA had come a long way and represented something, not just to the students but as a national sports organization.”