NANAIMO — The man who guided the VI Raiders to perhaps their most memorable provincial championship will receive an Orange Helmet Award from the BC Lions.
Doug Hocking has been named the Community Coach of the Year after guiding the third place Raiders to a surprise win in the 2017 Cullen Cup.
Hocking says he's honoured to accept the award.
"It's a special award to myself and to the program. It represents all the hard work myself, our board, our general manager Glenn Cook and all the assistant coaches did throughout last year. As well as our players who bought in to what to what we were doing - it's a sign we're heading the in the right direction," said Hocking.
The Orange Helmet Awards are going into their 15th year and BC Lions Community Relations Director Jamie Taras says the night is all about community football, from the teams to the coaches, pioneers and volunteers.
The Raiders championship was part of the reason Hocking won the award, but Taras says it's much more than that.
"It's what they do to develop young men, it's not just about the onfield performance and those are some of things that stuck out for Doug," Taras explains.
Football is about winning but Hocking says the Raiders program is turning a corner with the type of players and kids that they want to bring in.
"We want players and coaches that are proud to live in Nanaimo and are community driven and have goals in their life," Hocking explained. "If a kid comes into our program at seventeen and doesn't know what he wants to do with his life in five years - you can figure that out along the way, and we're here to help you with that."
Raiders general manager Glenn Cook feels that not only is the Orange Helmet Award well deserved, he thinks Hocking should have won the BCFC Coach of the Year and the CJFL Coach of the Year as well.
Cook says Doug and preaches community involvement as well, and that the Hocking family sets the example by attending many events around Nanaimo.
"He's not paid to attend any of these things, he's just a good guy. He makes sure our players are there, and our players would go through a wall for the guy - his character is unreal."
According to Cook there are more than one hundred coaches that Hocking was up against for the Community Coach of the Year Award from all around the province.
The Orange Helmet Awards ceremony takes place on April 6 at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver.
Recently announced hall of famer Terrell Owens will be the guest speaker that night.
Taras says there are still tickets available through the BC Lions if football fans want to enjoy the evening with coach Hocking and the other winners.
There will be a small group from the Raiders organization attending the ceremony including Cook and team president Kabel Atwal.
Hocking is looking forward to sharing the night with his wife Kristen and some close family friends as well.
"As much as it's a big night for myself it's a big night for community football in British Columbia," Hocking said. "I'm a football fan so I get to be around some really awesome people and some guys that I used to play with, so it's going to be a special night for everybody."
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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