In a previous blog post, we shared the story of Ian Tyzzer, a past president of Bowls Canada Boulingrin. Tyzzer’s successor, David Calam, has had quite the impact on bowls in Canada. Read on to learn more about past president, and friendly green giant, David Calam.

Calam, born in Altrincham, Cheshire, England, was first introduced to bowls at a young age. During his younger school years, Calam and a few friends would walk to the nearby Macclesfield crown green club (which is quite possibly the largest bowls green in the world) during their free periods. While the club was exclusively for crown green bowling (there were no ditches), Calam didn’t seriously pick up lawn bowls until after arriving to Canada.

In 1982, Calam and his wife Elizabeth made the move from England to Canada. Liz’s father was with the Canadian Airforce working with radar and her mother, who also worked with radar, became a war bride.  So, with several other family members living in Canada and the USA, the move was a good choice for the Calams. In England, David worked as a civil engineer and was able to find similar work in Canada too. Working with water, sewers, and drainage, the job was demanding. While looking for some form of mental relaxation, Calam stumbled upon the Regina Lawn Bowling Club in 1990.

The first few years, Calam bowled irregularly and purely for relaxation. It wasn’t until a gentleman by the name of Keith Roney asked Calam to play in a triples tournament that turned on the competitive switch for Calam. In those years, the Regina LBC reserved Monday nights for practice, and every other weeknight featured draws, leagues, or other tournaments. During those practices, the likes of Keith and Jean Roney, Harriette and Murray Pituley, Anita Nivala, Mark Sutylla, and numerous other future national champions were eager to mentor and encourage up-and-comers like Calam. While he didn’t know it at the time, practicing alongside such a high-calibre field of bowlers set the bar high for his expectations, and in 1996 he found his way to the national championships with Dave Ackerman in the men’s pairs.

David with Fran Scott at the 2018 Youth Championships. Photo courtesy of Nick Jones.

In addition to playing bowls, Calam has also had a large influence on the coaching and administrative side of the sport. In 1993, Calam started his coaching journey and hasn’t looked back since. He’s been Bowls SK’s coaching coordinator for numerous years, is a trained Learning Facilitator for both Club Coach and Competition Coach, a trained Competition Coach Evaluator, and is currently working towards becoming a trained Performance Coach as well.

As a leader, Calam was SK’s representative at BCB AGMs for a few years until the national association changed the governance model from representative members to elected members. Having undergone a similar governance change with the Canadian Water & Wastewater Association a few years prior, Calam had experience with this new way of running an organization and was tapped on the shoulder to replace Ian Tyzzer as the next president for Bowls Canada in 2016 – the 3rd Regina LBC member to serve as BCB president since the organization incorporated in 1983.  

Left to right: Grant Wilkie, Jordan Kos, Michael Pituley, and David Calam. Photo courtesy of Bo Kos.

While serving as president from 2016-2017, what Calam remembers most is the execution of plans and how much was accomplished during his tenure. “It was great to work with a Board that worked together and a staff that got things done,” says Calam. “There were a lot of plans and meetings, but it was great to see so much get accomplished during my time as president.”

Bowls aside, Calam is active within his community, being heavily involved with his local church. He also plays in a brass band (his instrument of choice is the E-flat horn), and donates to various organizations, including Bowls Canada. When asked why he donates to BCB, Calam responded “To me, with many things in my life, especially bowls, I consider myself very fortunate – I’ve had opportunities and been supported along the way. We give back in many ways, with volunteer hours, knowledge, and experience, but it also takes money to keep programs and organizations moving forward. Donating makes you realize how lucky and fortunate you’ve been. There are those who aren’t able to contribute, and so for me, it’s a part of life. I donate to the organizations that positively impact my life and the lives of others – whether it be our local theatre, the local Food Bank, the Regina Rescue Mission, or Bowls Canada.”

Throughout the month of June, Canada Helps is running the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, where every dollar donated enters eligible organizations into a draw for a $20,000 grand prize. Help enter Bowls Canada in the draw by making a small donation today – all donations are used towards creating programs and resources to help further the sport in Canada.  

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