At the annual awards and UDC appreciation lunch that took place in Portage La Prairie recently, Brandon’s Brad Degraeve was named the Home Run Sports Wayne Deschouwer Umpire of the Year for 2022. He has been a softball umpire since 2012 and estimated that he umpired approximately 60-65 games this season including league play, tournaments and Championships.
“I coached in the Manitoba Ladies Super League with the Winnipeg Lightning from 2000 to 2008, but found that when I relocated to Brandon for work in 2007 that it was too much to commute back and forth to Winnipeg for games and practices. I have always loved the game and wanted a way to get involved again, so in 2012 a few of my buddies, local legends in the Brandon Umpire group, Earl Cheasley & Bruce Luebke asked if I wanted to umpire” said Degraeve when asked how he first got started as an umpire. “Never in my wildest thoughts would I ever imagined being able to get to the point I am in my umpiring career when I first started” added Degraeve.
Some his 2022 achievements on the diamond include:
– Selected as the Provincial Umpire of the Year
For the 2023 season, Degraeve already has a busy season ahead. He plans to continue to be leader in the Westman Zone and Provincially with respect to mentoring fellow umpires and also help grow the softball game. He will be helping with the upcoming Canadian Championship in Brandon as the umpire liaison. He will continue to be a member of the Provincial UDC, as the Softball Canada Blue Convention is being hosted by their group in Winnipeg coming up in April 2023. At this point, he is undecided if he will apply to travel to a National in 2023, or if he will take a year off travelling to prepare for 2024.