And the Ken Murray Award goes to...., News (Cambridge Minor Lacrosse)

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And the Ken Murray Award goes to....
Submitted By Reno on Sunday, November 12, 2017
Congratulations to Novice 2 coach Brad Matthews for winning this years Ken Murray award, which is awarded annually to the minor lacrosse individual whose dedication and selfless efforts to the sport of lacrosse and their work within their association and community stand out above all others.  
Continue on to read the nomination submission.

I would like to nominate Brad Matthews for the Ken Murray Award, along with the support of
the Cambridge Minor Lacrosse Association.
Brad has been a huge part of the CMLA Association for the last I4yrs as a Coach and Official
and advocates for our program and the sport of Lacrosse He was back on a bench this year after
taking 3yrs off to enjoy his own boys as a parent with a repeat Provincial Title. The last time
Brad was on a bench he took our Peewee Team to a Provincial C Championship in 2013.
Brad’s priority this Season was to take a group of players on a 2 Team and work with a couple of
our Intermediate players as a Coach Mentor to bring their coaching skills up to a level where
they can take their own Team in future season’s. One of those boys was a player who Brad
coached almost 9yrs ago. He pushed those assistant Coaches to run practices on their own and
made sure that they were true leaders in the eyes of the players on the Team.
Brad embodies all the positive aspects you hope to see in a coach. He had positivity, leadership,
passion for the game, and the vision to see 16 kids as a team of winners on and off the floor. He
took a group of individuals and created a team. Both parents and coaching staff really enjoyed
the 5 months together with Brad leading the team; it was a great season with no issues or
concerns.
This Team is really the epitome of “peaking” at the right time and the reason we push for getting
the best out of our players for Provincials.
The Novice 2 Team did not Win their first game of the season until Game #15....up to Zone 8
playoffs which they Won in the D division the Team was 8-21-1 after Zone playoffs, heading
into provincials they were 4-0-1
Yes, the team did Win E Provincials, and that was the icing on the cake, but at the start of the
season no one thought the team would win any games at all. Usually you would see players start
to become defeated and stop trying, but not Brad’s Team as they continued to work hard and to
develop. He was very engaged in the games, providing feedback to all the kids in a positive
manner. He did get excited a few times if something did not work out, but you would never see
him raise his voice. He is a very calming presence on the bench with the undertone of authority
to all the players and officials. He would take those “teachable” moments and continue to work
on the same skills again and again until it finally clicked, and with every player this year, it did
click.
This is one of the first coaches I have seen in years that ensured every player had the opportunity
to play at key times - fair play was his priority to develop these young players. Yes, there were
times when certain players were put on the floor, but all the kids knew it was for a reason and all
the kids understood his rationale and they all knew their role on the Team from the onset and
throughout the season as skill level progressed.
And passion for the sport? For someone who never played the sport growing up, Brad really took
a lot of time off the floor, during his own time, to better himself and his coaching techniques. He
would sit for hours watching videos and planning practices to keep the players interested and try
different drills to work on all aspects of the game.
Then something special happened this year - two new players joined the sport of lacrosse, one a
girl goalie who only played hockey and another who had never played sports before; and I am
sure their love of the sport and their dedication played a big role, but I also think the support and
coaching Brad provided helped develop a passion for the game that was insurmountable. The
players became an integral part of the team. The new runner even scored the winning goal in the
provincial's championship game!
With a new goalie to the sport that Brad recruited from hockey, Brad led the coaching staff,
working on building her self-esteem each and every game. She also had some personal learning
issues that the coaching staff worked hard to understand and support her throughout the season.
Brad is a well-rounded individual and coach and a huge ambassador of the game of Lacrosse and
the CMLA Chiefs. It was a pleasure to work alongside him and his coaching staff this season
and watches their development and success. It was a great year; all the kids learned the rules and
plays to take them to a winning season. No one was left out, they all supported each other, and
they collaborated, passed the ball, and really played together on and off the floor.
And in the end, after the Gold medals were handed out, it meant shaving his head to celebrate
winning Provincials!

Danielle Fitzgerald
CMLA President
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