By Perry Lefko
Following his father, who helped coach him and his brother growing up in Port Credit, Duane Forde is doing the same with his own children.
The retired Canadian Football League player, who was a member of two Grey Cup-winning teams in his 12-year career and also won a Canadian university Vanier Cup championship, is coaching football and hockey in Port Credit. Last year, he helped resurrect the football program at his alma mater, Port Credit Secondary School, after it had gone dormant for a year. Duane’s son, Quincy, a multi-sport athlete, played fullback on the resurrected team.
In February, Duane received an award as Port Credit Hockey Association rep hockey coach of the year. This is his second year as the head coach of the team of the bantam A team, on which Quincy played defence. Duane played goalie up to Grade 9 in the Port Credit Hockey Association.
While downplaying his award, he says there are multiple coaches of the year within the Port Credit Hockey Association. It is, nonetheless, representative of how passionate Duane is about sports in the community.
His daughter, Payton, also plays hockey and basketball, and she had a good week early in March winning championships in both sports. Duane has also helped coach his daughter’s elementary school basketball team.
“No one cares more about keeping youth in sport,” said wife, Sheri, who is a longtime sports broadcaster, currently working as an announcer at Rogers Sportsnet. She has also worked at TSN, where Duane has been employed since 2008 on its Canadian Football League broadcasts. Neither Duane nor Sheri forced their children into sports.
“In a lot of ways it does come naturally because we’re a house where sports are on TV and we talk about sports, so for them to have an interest in sports would certainly come naturally,” Duane said. “I think there’s sometimes you have skills to offer to help out a situation or make it better, and that becomes particularly important to you when your own kids and their friends are involved. You want to ensure the experience is as positive as it can be.”
“My schedule allows me to do it, but it’s something that I enjoy,” he adds. “For me, coaching both the teams has been a good experience. I had a very positive experience with sports growing up, having the chance to play high school football. It feels good to be able to give a group of kids the same opportunity that I had to enjoy that positive experience.”
His father, Arnie, was a high school principal and coached football, as well as coaching in other sports in the community in which Duane and his brother, Darryl, played.
“I guess I was raised in a family in which that was something you valued and you did,” Duane said. “Being involved in team sports has a great value. My father put in a lot of time coaching teams and my brother and I certainly benefited from that. If I’m able to help out and do stuff with my kids’ team I absolutely will. I try to help where I can.”
Photo courtesy of TSN