Little League BC nomination for Sport BC President's Award - Ron Suffron (New Westminster)
Ron Suffron and New Westminster Baseball
There is no doubt that the New Westminster Baseball Association would not be the strong community organisation that it is today without Ron Suffron. Ron’s involvement with baseball in New Westminster began roughly two decades ago when he volunteered as a coach. As time passed, he continued to coach, became increasingly dedicated to the advancement of the Association’s baseball programs, joined the executive board of the league and took over as president after the 2006 AGM.
Since becoming President, Ron has been directly involved with every aspect of the development of New Westminster’s young baseball players. Ron has been instrumental in initiating, organising and leading the league’s off-season batting and fielding clinics which began in 2007. That same year, he worked to develop a coaches’ manual that included sample practise plans for younger divisions. In 2008, he began a series of outdoor skills clinics at Queen’s Park Stadium open to all players from Minor’s Division on up. These clinics continue to take place every Monday evening during ball season. His dedication to our kids’ skill enhancement led him to appoint the first technical director for New West Baseball in 2012.
Ron Suffron has also brought notable baseball events to New Westminster, increasing the awareness of the Grand Ol’ Game in a city known mainly for Lacrosse. Under his watch, New West has hosted both the Little League Junior Provincials (2009) and the Little League Major Provincial Championships (2010). In addition, New Westminster Baseball’s signature event, The Hyack Tournament, has become so popular in recent years that local coaches fight over spots for their teams; in fact, most spots are filled over a month before the tournament.
Ron has not only promoted baseball in our community by helping organise tournaments. In 2011, he led the charge against city hall to allow minor sports organisations to advertise registration in the parks and fields where kids play. The hard work that Ron has put into promoting baseball in New Westminster can be seen in the growth in the number of players—in 2006 there were 175 players, last season there were 370.
Ron has also worked to ensure that New Westminster Baseball is an organisation that adapts to meet the ever-changing needs of its community and the league’s members. As New West started seeing many more young families, the league, under Ron, initiated the Rally Cap program for T-Ball. What is more, Ron has recently suggested that New Westminster Baseball look into starting up a Challenger Program for disabled kids in our community, a move that could benefit many.
Over the years, Ron has cemented a relationship between New Westminster Baseball and major leaguer Justin Morneau. In fact, Ron headed the push to rename the Little League Majors diamond at Moody Park to Justin Morneau Field. The relationship between Ron and Justin has also enabled the creation of a scholarship fund to help players/ former players pay for post-secondary studies.
The relationships he has forged with various parks and rec people, city councillors and the mayor have allowed Ron to spearhead many refurbishment and renovation projects of baseball fields around the city. Among the improvements that have taken place under Ron’s eye are a batting cage, new dugouts and a field drainage system at Justin Morneau Field and new scoreboards at Queen’s and Moody Parks.
Ron’s dedication to this league is endless. He continues to coach in spite of no longer having children that play. New Westminster Baseball is lucky to have him. As our former Umpire in Chief, Ken Armstrong, put it: “He has an incredible sense of baseball but also of the importance of sportsmanship within the game and the balance between competitiveness and respect for officials and opponents”.