National Umpire Awards




Home Run Sports Lifetime Achievement Award

This award recognizes an umpire who has officiated for many years and has been an ambassador of the Baseball Canada Umpires Program. The candidate must have officiated or supervised in at least 15 National and/or International Events, and made a significant contribution to the structure of umpiring in Canada which may include but not limited to: mentoring, evaluating, instructing, course conducting, sitting on national committees and supervising.

2022 Winner - Mitch Ball

Mitch Ball was postuhumously awarded this honour in recognition of his lifetime of committment and dedication to umpiring and umpire development in Canada.  

Mitch was a highly respected and successful umpire, working 7 National championships serving as the Gold Medal plate umpire for 3 of them.  He also umpired at 3 International Championships, most recently at the 2015 PanAm Games in Toronto, and was the plate umpire for the 2002 Little League Baseball World Series United States Championship Game.

In addition, Mitch was a Master Course Conductor and national supervisor for Baseball Canada, supervising at three National Championships. When mentoring and instructing umpires, Mitch was known for his humour, insight, and his positive way of helping all umpires he worked with reach their fullest potential.

Some of the accolades he received in his career included being named the Baseball Canada Dick Willis Umpire of the Year, the plate umpire for the 2002 Little League Baseball World Series United States Championship GameBaseball Lethbridge Umpire of the Year, Little League Alberta and Baseball Alberta Umpire of the Year, and was honoured multiple times for various contributions off the field to baseball and the umpire community in Alberta and Canada.

Most important, Mitch was universally respected and beloved as a role model in the umpiring community.  He was a loving husband and dedicated father to his 6 children and 2 foster children.  Mitch will be greatly missed in the umpiring community, and Baseball Canada was honoured to present this award in his honour to his wife Jana and their children.


2019 Winner - Rocky Nickel

Throughout his career, Rocky participated in 23 National Championships and umpired in two international events. He also attended 9 Baseball Canada Instructor Caravans, 8 as an instructor. He served on Baseball Canada’s Umpire Committee as Assistant National Supervisor.

Rocky’s involvement and contributions have been invaluable to umpiring in his province. He has served close to 30 years on the provincial umpire executive committee, including 2 terms as umpire supervisor. The respect for Saskatchewan umpires has increased significantly during his terms as provincial supervisor.

On the field, Rocky has been an outstanding official, leading him to receive the highest recommendation possible at each National Championship he worked. He has worked every level of ball including independent professional baseball in the Prairie League of Professional Baseball and the Canadian Baseball League. He is a very capable umpire, whose greatest asset may be his ability to manage games. His ability to stay calm, and handle difficult situations has been a model for others to follow.

Off field, his contributions are countless. As a Senior Course Conductor, Rocky has taught and evaluated thousands of umpires. He’s taught countless clinics from level 1 through our Level 4/5 National Clinics. Not only has he instructed, but he has also developed curriculums with Umpire Development in mind. Rocky worked on the National Grassroots portfolio, revamping Baseball Canada’s Level 1,2,3 programs.

Congratulations, Rocky!


Past Winners

2018 - David Buckingham (NF)

2016 – Dennis Ryan (ON)

2015 – Yves Gagnon (QC)

2011 - Larry Nicholls (MB)

2010 - Don Gilbert (ON) & Len Bell (SK)

2009 - David McManus (NB)

2007 – Howard Chapman (BC)


Dick Willis Memorial Award - Umpire of the Year

This award recognizes Canada’s official of the year for their outstanding contribution and umpiring of the game of baseball. Eligibility for this award begins when Baseball Canada receives nominations from Provincial Umpires Associations. Criteria for nominations require the individual to be a certified Level IV umpire; to have involvement in the local and provincial umpire organizations and to be an active umpire during the year of nomination.


2022 Winner - Philip McGee

This year, Phil was involved in many facets of the umpiring program.  He remained an active on-field umpire with his local association in the Battlefords, SK and at provincial events.  He was selected by Baseball Saskatchewan to umpire at the Baseball Canada Senior Men's National Championship, earning a semi-final plate assignment and being recognized for his accomplished performance. 

In addition, he was selected by Baseball Canada to umpire at the Toronto Blue Jays Futures Showcase event, where he was selected for inclusion on Baseball Canada's International Recommendation List.

Off the field, Phil contributed to umpire development through his work on the Baseball Saskatchewan Umpires Committee where he serves as Operations and Communications Lead, and his membership on the Baseball Canada Umpires Committee Communications Portfolio.

Congratulations, Philip!



Past Winners


1993 - Glen Johnson

1994 - Robert Bellerose

1995 - Derek Lloyd

1996 - Dave Buckingham

1997 - Don Gilbert

1998 - René Provencher

1999 - Brian Hodgson

2000 - Ted Derpack

2001 - Ron Shewchuk

2002 - Ray Merkley

2003 - Yves Poulin

2004 - Lisa Turbitt

2005 - Corrie Davis

2006 - Blair Hains

2007 - Rocky Nickel

2008 - Derrick Dubell

2009 - Andrew Higgins

2010 - David Cass

2011 - Trevor Grieve

2012 - Jon Oko

2013 - Andrew Downs

2014 - Rhonda Pauls

2015 - Rob Allan

2016 - Jim McMillan

2017 - Scott Mills

2018 - Guillaume Smith-Desbiens

2019 - Trevor Drury