RCA announces Judy Sutcliffe as Chair – RCA Umpires Committee

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Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) is pleased to announce Judy Sutcliffe as Chair of the RCA Umpires Committee. Judy has been a member of the RCA Umpires Committee for nine years and will move into the Chair position for a four-year term.

Judy has been involved in rowing for over 40 years, learning to row in university and competing at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, Canadian Championships (predecessor to the NRCs) and the 1984 World Lightweight Championships.

Judy expanded her involvement in the sport by becoming an RCA licensed Umpire in 1999. Ten years later, Judy became a level 3 Chief Umpire and eventually certified as a Level 4 Umpire Clinician in 2011. Judy has extensive umpiring experience at the regional, provincial and national level including the Canadian University Rowing Championships, Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, National Rowing Championships, and the Canadian Masters Rowing Championships. 

Judy has chaired the ROWONTARIO Umpires Committee since 2008 and provided mentorship to developing umpires through the ROWONTARIO mentoring program, among many other innovations.

"Judy is an experienced leader who will help steer the RCA Umpires Committee to positively promote and educate members regarding the Rules of Racing and developing the best umpires in the world,” said Director, Partnerships and Sport Development, Jennifer Fitzpatrick. “Judy will also work collaboratively with members of the committee to actively recruit umpires and standardize quality programming for umpires across the country.”

Professionally, Judy has worked as a Director in the Government of Ontario, most recently as the Director of Sport and Recreation, Policy and Programs for the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation. For the past 16 years, she has led her own consulting firm specializing in social research in sport, recreation and physical activity, and helping organizations improve the delivery of sport through enhanced governance. Judy has also volunteered her time with other sport organizations, such as SPORT4ONTARIO and Sport Matters Group.

“I am very pleased to be appointed to this prestigious position and to continue the excellent work undertaken by the Committee, under the leadership of Tom Blacquiere”, said Judy Sutcliffe. “My vision is to enhance the visibility of umpiring in Canada and consequently increase the rowing community’s understanding of the importance of umpiring and its contribution to the sport. My approach is very much evidence-based.”

The mandate of the Umpires Committee is to ensure that there is a robust cadre of Canadian Umpires with the appropriate education and development to ensure safety and fairness at all rowing competitions in Canada, and to represent Canada at international rowing competitions governed by FISA.

The Terms of Reference for the committee are currently under review and can be found here. RCA would like to thank past-chair Tom Blacquiere for over six years of dedicated service on the Umpires Committee.