Photo courtesy of Tamiko Lyle
At the Canadian Bowl Banquet of Champions, long time Sun coach/board member/President Les Weiss was named a Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) Life Member.
The award is handed to a volunteer, either at the team or league level. A CJFL life member has exhibited a long term commitment to the success of our league
The 2016 CJFL life member first became involved with our league as a running back in the 1971 and 1972 seasons with the Edmonton Huskies and then the Vancouver Meralomas.
But it was 31 years ago when Les Weiss moved his young family to Kelowna in 1985 that the Okanagan Sun gained a critical volunteer who would prove to be a cornerstone of the organization.
He served as running backs coach from 1985 through 1990 before joining the board of directors in 1991, a role he still is in today. He was the club’s general manager from 1991 through 2003 and has reluctantly filled the role as President as well.
If you ask any players of the last 31 years who Les Weiss is, they will know…because they have seen this man perform literally every task, big and small. More than one has probably seen him unclog (while griping about it) a toilet in the clubhouse. Sounds funny, and it is but it still tells you something about Les and his willingness to step in no matter the job.
As Sun GM Jay Christensen will tell you;
“Les is one of the main reasons the Okanagan Sun have been so successful for so long. He is the passion behind the football team. He has had his hand and his vision in virtually every aspect of the team, driving it from an organizational point of view. He makes sure that every single player who ever puts on an Okanagan Sun helmet is treated with as much class and respect as possible.”
As a successful business man in the city, Les has been involved in fundraising for the team at every level, from yearbook advertising to major corporate partnerships. He is directly responsible for bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars of to fund the Sun program.
Les has long held the belief that junior football players should have the opportunity to continue their education while playing the sport. 7 years ago, he founded the Okanagan Sun scholarship fund and built from the ground up the concept of an annual fundraising event, which took the form of a breakfast that year. He has continued in this role ever since and through his business acumen has evolved the annual event to a dinner or wine fest fundraiser to ensure its success. Along with the assistance of the scholarship fund partner, JDS Energy & Mining, Okanagan Sun players have received over $160,000 in scholarships the past 7 seasons.
Congratulations to our very deserving Canadian Junior Football League life member, Mr. Les Weiss.