- Half-Century Commitment: Hopkins’ 52 seasons with Calgary Stampeders.
- 1,000 Games Milestone: A remarkable journey in the CFL.
- Beyond the Field: Hopkins’ significant impact on amateur football.
George Hopkins, the Calgary Stampeders’ equipment manager, has been honored with the Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award, recognizing his extraordinary 52 seasons and over 1,000 games in the Canadian Football League (CFL). The award was presented during the CFL Awards, part of the Grey Cup Festival celebrated in Hamilton from November 13-19, which includes over 40 events for football fans, athletes, and families.
Hopkins, whose CFL journey began as a 12-year-old ball boy, has been a cornerstone of the Stampeders’ operations. CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie praised him as the “ultimate teammate” – a testament to his hard work, loyalty, and commitment to service rather than self-promotion. His career reached a significant milestone on August 5, 2022, when he marked his 1,000th CFL game, including 885 regular season games, 48 playoff games, and 12 Grey Cup games, along with six championship rings.
More than just an equipment manager, Hopkins has played a crucial role in the health and safety of Stampeders’ players, fitting them with customized equipment ranging from chewing gum to cleats. His responsibilities extend to meticulously transporting all equipment for the team’s games, a testament to his unwavering dedication.
Hopkins’s contribution goes beyond professional football. In the off-season, he coordinates an equipment inspection program for amateur football in Alberta, ensuring the safety of young players, and serves on the board of directors for the Calgary and Area Midget Football Association.
The Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award, named after the ten-time Grey Cup champion and CFL icon, has been presented since 2006 to individuals demonstrating significant leadership contributions to the league. This recognition of Hopkins not only celebrates his decades-long dedication to the Stampeders and the CFL but also his broader impact on the football community.
The 110th Grey Cup is scheduled at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton on November 19, featuring a halftime show by Green Day. The event will be broadcast live on TSN and RDS, online through CFL+, and on SiriusXM’s Canada Talks.
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