Hugh Mitchener to Retire after nearly 25 years as Softball Canada CEO
Ottawa, Ont. – Softball Canada’s Chief Executive Officer Hugh Mitchener (Ottawa, Ont.) has announced that he will retire in late May, 2022 after nearly 25 years on the job. He is one of Canada’s longest-serving CEOs in the sport sector and very well-respected among the Canadian sport and international softball communities. Over the next six months, he will help in Softball Canada’s transition to a new CEO, with the application and interview process expected to be launched shortly.
Mitchener started in the position in September 1997 and has seen Softball Canada develop numerous successful world-class programs at the domestic level in coaching, officiating and player development which are widely considered world leaders. Internationally Softball Canada has garnered respect both on the diamond with strong performances and off the diamond through contributions from Canadians in key administrative positions.
“Looking back over the past 24 years, I am so proud of all that our people have been able to accomplish on so many levels” stated Hugh Mitchener. “It’s a testament to the passion, skill and teamwork that everyone brings every day to softball, whether it be on the diamond, at clinics, in meeting rooms or in the office. I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to work with such a talented group of people.”
Prior to joining Softball Canada, Mitchener had work experience with Water Ski Canada, the Canadian Soccer Association, Ringette Canada and Sportcom International.
Domestically, the Canadian Championships have grown significantly in every male and female age category and have gained significant interest and much higher participation rates. Women’s Softball has been part of the Canada Games programme since the very beginning, while Men’s Softball successfully returned to the programme in 2017 and will continue for 2022 and 2025, a testament to Softball Canada’s strength in domestic program areas across the country. Softball Canada has established itself as a leader in the Canadian sport community in the areas of Long-Term Athlete Development, Safe Sport, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, coaching and umpiring, while also establishing very successful national programs such as Timbits Softball and Canpitch.
At the international level, all of Softball Canada’s National Teams have established themselves as perennial medal contenders. The Women’s National Team recently captured Canada’s historic first Olympic softball bronze medal after winning bronze at the last two WBSC World Cups and winning gold at the 2015 Pan American Games. The Men’s National Team has also enjoyed tremendous success as the only country to have medalled at the last three WBSC World Cups (gold in 2015, bronze in 2017 and 2019) and won three gold medals at the 1999, 2003 and 2015 Pan American Games (Men’s Softball was not on the programme in 2007 and 2011). The Junior National Teams also continue to push to achieve podium results, with the U19 Women’s team winning its first World Cup medal in 2019 and the U19 Men’s team capturing bronze in 1997, 2001 and 2005 and silver in 2008. Canada has also been very fortunate to host more WBSC World Cups than any other country in the World in the period – a total of 11 World Cups plus two Pan American Games softball competitions, the 2019 WBSC Americas Olympic Qualifier and the annual Canada Cup International Fastpitch Championship.
One of Mitchener’s proudest years as CEO was during Softball Canada’s 50th anniversary season in 2015, when the Men’s National Team won its first WBSC World Cup gold medal since 1992 and both the Men’s and Women’s National Teams won gold at the Pan American Games. That same year, Softball Canada earned numerous international awards, including honours as WBSC Softball Association of the Year, Men’s National Team Head Coach John Stuart named Coach of the Year and pitcher Sean Cleary named the Athlete of the Year.
Also under Mitchener’s tenure, Softball Canada and USA Softball have partnered to deliver the annual Slo-Pitch Border Battle since 2009, adding a Women’s division in 2016 with Canada winning both the Men’s and Women’s titles in 2017.
“Hugh has certainly had a remarkable run as CEO” stated Softball Canada President Scott Neiles. “In my four years on the Board of Directors, Hugh has proven to be an honest and straightforward gentleman of great character. His calm and caring demeanor has contributed greatly to Softball Canada’s successes over the past 24 years.”
Hugh will be leaving Softball Canada in a very solid organizational and financial position.
We wish him a very healthy and happy retirement with his wife Sue. We look forward to continuing to work with him over the next six months as he ensures a proper transition for his eventual successor. He will always continue to be welcome at our office and ballparks across the country.
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