(Originally Published in the 2002 Can-Am Program)

In this the first edition of the "Veterans Page" it is fitting and appropriate that we begin with the father of The Tournament, Jack Cairns.

Before the first trip to the US in 1976, Jack and a few friends from the youth teams in and around Scarborough would get together and have a scrimmage.  Occasionally Jack would organize games with other teams from out of town.  This made Jack think that if there was enough interest he could start a league for soccer players who were over 30 and retired from playing at a competitive level.  The league had some very basic principals: fellowship with your teammates, friendship with your opponents, respect for game officials, no points for a loss, no points for a tie and, above all, no points for a win.  Jack was always steadfast with these principals and never played anyone who was under 30 (just ask Dave McKay about that one).  At the end of any given year I am sure Jack could tell you not only how many games his team had lost, tied and won, but also how many minutes each player had played!

It was Jack who received the original invitation from Dr. Tom Fleck to bring a team to Pennsylvania for what became this tournament's inaugural game in 1976.  In arranging the return trip to Canada, Jack extended the principals of friendship he had learned and developed through the game of soccer (better known as "Fitba" from the environs in which he grew up).  In 1978 Jack organized the tournament in Canada, inviting teams from Bethlehem Pennsylvania, Detroit Michigan, Kingston, Guildwood and Scarborough to join West Rouge.

As a tribute to JAck, the West Rouge Old Timers Soccer Club are donating a plaque to be presented to the finalist in the tournament's championship game.  The finalist's plaque will be passed from one finalist to another and be presented if possible by the veteran or veterans recognized on this page.  We trust those who receive it will do so in the spirit of fellowship and respect that Jack himself championed for so many years in Scarborough.  The Tournament and the league that Jack began have grown since they were first started and Jack's legacy lives on.  We still play in a league that does not keep standings and "The Rouge" still maintains fellowship, friendship and respect for both our local and long distance opponents and friends.

Let everyone say THANK YOU to Jack, with the greatest of fellowship, friendship and respect on this the 26th Annual Canadian-American Friendship Tournament!