Calgary Stampeders equipment manager George Hopkins is the 2023 winner of the Canadian Football League’s Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award. The announcement was made on Thursday evening at Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ont., as part of the CFL Awards ceremonies.
Instituted in 2006, the Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award honours an individual who has demonstrated great leadership and made significant contributions to the CFL.
Known by friends and colleagues as “Geo,” Hopkins has been a beloved member of the Stampeders for more than a half-century. He is greatly respected both within the Calgary organization and across the league.
“In the ultimate team sport, George is the ultimate teammate,” said CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie. “A consummate professional who leads by example, works incredibly hard, displays undying loyalty, and is motivated, not by the spotlight for himself, but by service to others.
“In a word, George is a legend.”
“I’m especially honoured because this is the Hugh Campbell award,” said Hopkins. “From knowing people over the years in the Edmonton organization who worked for Hughie, he epitomized what leadership is about.”
On Aug. 5, 2022, Hopkins celebrated a major milestone with his 1,000th game – including pre-season, regular season and playoffs – working the Stampeders sideline. He has worked 885 regular-season games, 48 playoff contests and 12 Grey Cups – including six championships – with the Red and White through the 2023 campaign.
Hopkins was added to the Stampeders Wall of Fame in the builders’ category in 2014.
In addition to his work with the Stamps, Hopkins helps coordinate an equipment inspection program for amateur football in the province of Alberta. Run under the auspices of Football Alberta, Hopkins visually inspects equipment and gives recommendations on storing, cleaning, reconditioning and disposal to minor and high school teams. Hopkins also sits on the board of directors for the Calgary Spring Football Association.
Previous winners of the Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award with strong connections to the Stampeders have included Stan Schwartz (2009), Normie Kwong (2016), Wally Buono (2018) and John Hufnagel (2019).