Western Canada Division

2016 Western Canada Divisional Board - Cumann Lúthchleas Gael an Iarthar Ceanada

Chairperson: James Doyle (Calgary Chieftains)
Secretary: Peter McGloin (Regina Gaels)
Treasurer: Kim Budd (Edmonton Wolfe Tones)
PRO: Sharon Whelton (Calgary Chieftains)
Development Officer: Ronan Deane (Vancouver Harps)

Western Board Reps:
Dennis O Sullivan (Edmonton Wolfe Tones)
Rory Lynch (Red Deer)
Paddy Mansfield (Calgary Fianna)
Grainne Warren (Vancouver Harps)

The founding meeting of the Western Canada Divisional Board of the CGAA was held in Edmonton, Alberta on the 31st of May 2003, attended by

  • Brian Farmer & Diarmuid O`Conner from Toronto (representing the CGAA).
  • Christy Whelehan, Danielle Finlayson and Marvin Dentzien of the Edmonton Wolfe Tones.
  • John O Flynn, Kate McNamee and Sean Quinn of the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club.
  • Frank Campbell, Ronan Deane and Leanne Niblock of the Calgary Chieftains. 

In 2004, the first formal GAA sanctioned Western Canada Championship was played. The Divisional Board, in order to facilitate tournaments that include unaffiliated teams (i.e. not in the Western Canada Division), and to allow each teams host critical games (understanding the travel distances between venues), agreed that the Championship would be played out in a League format. Each member team would play each other team twice, over two tournaments. The venue for Championship games would be rotated requiring that each team is required to cross the Rockies only once each year. Though there may be several more clubs attending each city's tournament, only member clubs compete in this Championship.

The Western Canada Divisional Board (WCDB) is dedicated to improving the standard of competition and to providing as many games as possible for its member clubs. In British Columbia, there is the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club (ISSC) and the Fraser Valley Gaels. In Alberta there are the Calgary Chieftains, Red Deer Eire Ogs, Edmonton Wolfe Tones and Calgary Fianna. The Regina Gaels  are in the province of Saskatchewan. 

Western Canadian Divisional Board

President: Jimmy Doyle

Secretary: Peter McGloin

http://westerncanadagaa.ca


Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club

President: Jerry McCarthy

Secretary: Johnny Brennan

info@isscvancouver.com

www.isscvancouver.com

Fraser Valley Gaels

President: Eoin McCloskey

Secretary: Denis Ryan

fraservalleygaels@gmail.com

Edmonton Wolfe Tones

President: Dennis O'Sullivan

Secretary:  Caolan Quinn

edmontongaasecretary@gmail.com 

www.edmontongaa.com

Calgary Chieftains

President: James Doyle

Secretary: Ciara Lane

calgarychieftains@gmail.com

http://www.calgarychieftains.com 

Red Deer Eire Ogs

President: Marc Crossey

Secretary: Gary Doherty

www.reddeergaa.ca

blainelavery@gmail.com

Regina Gaels

Chair - Peter McGloin

Secretary - Amanda Willcox   secretary.regina.gaa@gmail.com

Founded in 2013, Regina Gaels was the first GAA club to be established in the Province of Saskatchewan. The club was set up to encourage and promote our games, culture and heritage in the city of Regina and the wider Province of Saskatchewan. Growing exponentially, the club now boasts an adult gaelic football team, hurling, as well as a vibrant social and cultural scene.

For more information check the Regina Gaels Facebook page.


Honours:
Mens Western Canadian Junior Champions 2013, 2015 and 2016
Mens Western Canadian Junior Hurling Champions 2015
Saskatchewan Football Champions 2014


ALBERTA

Calgary Chieftains:
The men and lady Chieftains have attended tournaments in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Red Deer and Seattle. They have hosted the annual Calgary Gaelic Football Tournament and have a firm relationship with the Calgary Kangaroos Aussie Rules team.
Honours
Ladies Western Canada Football Champions 2016
Men's Western Canada Hurling Champions 2015
Men’s Western Canada Football Champions - 2004 and 2007; 
Men's Junior Football Champions 2012
Men's Northwest Champions 1989 and 1990; 
Men's Northwest Divisional North American County Board Champions 1983 


Edmonton Wolfe Tones:
In Edmonton, they pride themselves on the development and promotion of Gaelic football and the Irish culture in their city. Men and women’s select sides compete in the Western Canada Divisional Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (G.A.A.)

Honours:
Men's Junior Hurling Champions 2016
Men's Western Canadian Football Champions 2009, 2013 and 2014.
Ladies Western Canadian Football Champions 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2011
Men's Pacific Northwest Champions 1991; 

Red Deer Eire Og

Lying as it does smack bang in the middle of two hot-beds of Alberta Gaelic Football, Red Deer is a prime location for the development of the games. If you're in the region, and interested in Gaelic Football, contact Blaine Lavery blainelavery@gmail.com or Darren Lavery dlavery@caits.ca

Website: www.reddeergaa.ca 

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Vancouver ISSC:
The club competes in Ladies and Men’s Gaelic Football and Hurling. The club promotes the games to youth and interested Canadians. With the mild West Coast winter's Vancouverites can enjoy Gaelic Football all year round, with a Seven's Mixed League in the run-up to St. Patrick's Day each year. 

Honours
Western Canadian Hurling Champions 2016
Ladies' Intermediate Camogie Champions North American County Board 2015
Ladies' Intermediate Football Champions North American County Board 2015 
Men's Intermediate North American County Board Football Champions: 2011and 2014; 
Men's Junior 'A' North American County Board Hurling Champions: 2010 and 2014;
Men’s Western Canadian Football Champions 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015;
Ladies' Western Canadian Football Champions 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015; 
Men’s Western Canadian Junior Champions 2014 
Men's Pacific Northwest Champions 1987 and 1988;
Men's Northwest Divisional NACB Champions 1984 and 1985.


Fraser Valley Gaels
Founded in 2014, the Gaels claimed their first Football Championship that year in Vancouver. They went one better by reaching the Senior semi-final in 2015 and in 2016 claimed their first Senior Western Canadian Championship.
Honours:
Western Canadian Senior Football Championship 2016
Western Canadian Junior Football Championship 2014
 
For more information, contact details, and club updates, check the Fraser Valley Gaels Gaelic Football on Facebook.

The Tom's

In November, 2007, the Western Canada Division was approached by some of the Irish community in Greater Vancouver and a formal request was made that two perpetual trophies be dedicated to two local members of the GAA community in Vancouver (coincidently, 2 great friends), in order:

  • to honour their contributions to the Gaelic Games here, and
  • to provide the teams of the Division some silverware to play for in the Championships

The other clubs in the Division were contacted and it was unanimously agreed that the Cups be accepted. So, in 2008, for the very first time, the Men of the Western Canada Division battled for the Tom Butler Cup and the Ladies' vied for the Tom Gibbons Cup.

Tom Butler

In 1951 Tom Butler and his wife Teresa (nee Ryan), who had been childhood neighbours in their hometown of Kilmaine, Co. Mayo, arrived in Vancouver to begin a new life in Canada along with their children, Mary Ann and Kevin. In the years that followed their arrival, almost every new Irish emigrant to Vancouver became aware of Tom and Teresa’s address and phone number. There was always a warm welcome and many a party hosted at their home.

So in 1957, Tom was not surprised to receive a call from another new immigrant called Tom Gibbons asking him to come downtown to meet up with him. Butler asked where he would like to meet and Gibbons replied, “Under the shagging sun!” Butler was bewildered, “Under the shagging sun?” It turns out that Gibbons was referring to the old Sun Building on West Broadway in Vancouver. They met up and the two became good friends.

Tom Butler was a supporter of the GAA’s first club, called the Vancouver Sons of Erin who formed in 1961 and went on to the win a Northwest Championship on July 27, 1962 over Seattle and Portland. The club went to San Francisco, that summer, to battle for the Western NACB Championship.

The Sons of Erin wound down and Tom turned his GAA support to the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club that formed in 1974. He would see the 1984 and 1985 Northwest Champions go on to Boston and Chicago to battle for the North American Junior crown. Vancouver would later travel to Calgary in June 1990 with their trainer, Tom Butler, and in 1991 Tom would serve on the ISSC executive. Tom made it to all of the tournament cities, at one time or another, in the Pacific Northwest.

A few years later, Tom lost his dear wife, Teresa and many at her funeral remember the late Danny Burns singing his signature ballad song, ‘GRACE’, as a tribute to a person who was deeply mourned.

As the name suggests, the Irish Sporting and Social Club encompasses both a sporting and a social element. Seeing individuals meet and becoming couples through the club is testimony to its success as a social entity. Well, by God, how good it was when Catholine Egan and Tom Butler met, hooked up, became two mad lovers, and married in 1994. The Celtic Connection newspaper was marrying into the GAA! There is no doubt that our games in Western Canada have thrived because of this “love connection” of the Celtic Connection and the GAA.

On the day of his death, June 25 2015, Gaels from around the Pacific Northwest traveled to salute Tom at St. Patrick's Church in Vancouver. People gave thanks for his efforts with the Irish community and offered their condolences to Catholine and his family. Each time Tom's trophy is lifted by a men's championship team in the years to come - we will remember him.

Tom Gibbons

Tom Gibbons (Thomastown, Kilkenny) came to Vancouver in 1957 where he met Agnes Morrison (Belfast). They would marry that year at St. Augustine's Church on October 23 and were later blessed with four children, Teresa, Thomas, Liam and Kieron.

With Tom's love for the Gaelic games, he supported the Vancouver Sons of Erin Gaelic Football club in the early 60's. In the 70's up until the late 90's, he contributed to the Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club. He cheered from the side lines, volunteered to officiate, lined the fields of play and often took beaten up old hurls and gave them the attention needed for an "extended" playing life, as only a true hurling man from Kilkenny could do.

At half time, in any Gaelic football match, it would be Tom leading the charge of hurling enthusiasts to give a mighty exhibition of skill at John Hendry Park.

Tom was delighted that his sons took an interest with the Gaelic games. A proud moment for him being when his son, Liam, was awarded the Nick Forrestal Memorial Trophy in 1990 as the "Most Promising Young Canadian". That same year, at a Seattle tournament, a senior merit medal was awarded to Tom along with two crystal glasses as a token of appreciation for his work as a referee.

The All Ireland Football finals were brought in "live" for the first time in Vancouver in 1990 at St. Augustine's School. Tom was the custodian at the school and was well known for the standard of his "Shaggin" work.

In July 1998, Tom was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to the Gaelic games at the Bailey's Cup and JJ Hyland Memorial Tournament. It also gave him great satisfaction to see both the men and lady footballers of Vancouver win all the trophies that year.

On the day of his death, Dec. 10 1998, Gaels from around the Pacific Northwest traveled to salute Tom, give thanks for his efforts with the Irish community and offered their condolences to Agnes and his family. Each time Tom's trophy is lifted by a ladies championship team in the years to come - we will remember him.