CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames are proud to announce that TJ Brodie and Bernie Bajnok are this year’s recipients of the J.R. McCaig Award. Brodie and Bajnok were presented their awards earlier today at the Sportsnet Brightest Star Luncheon by the President and CEO of the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, Ken King.
The Flames lost owner J.R. “Bud” McCaig 11 years ago following a lengthy battle with cancer. Mr. McCaig was a long-time member of the Flames family and a great contributor to the Calgary community. The J.R. McCaig Award honours two Calgary Flames personnel, a player and a staff member, who best exemplify Mr. McCaig’s enduring virtues of respect, courtesy and compassion for all individuals he encountered both in his professional and everyday life.
Bajnok has been with the Calgary Hitmen for over 10 years. During that time, he has performed numerous roles with the team including assistant to the general manager, billet coordinator and academic advisor. In 2013-14, the Calgary Hitmen were awarded the WHL Scholastic Team of the Year under Bajnok’s guidance. He is in constant communication with the parents of Hitmen players with respect to academic progress. Bajnok brings forward a passion for success for the Hitmen team both on and off the ice. He has a respect for the demands and challenges of a 72-game schedule and works daily with the general manager and coaches to balance the needs of players in the classroom and at the rink. Bajnok approaches the difficulty of player movement during trades and releases with compassion and professionalism, however, most importantly, he takes on each day with tremendous enthusiasm and provides a positive culture amongst all Calgary Sports & Entertainment employees.
Brodie was drafted by the Flames in the fourth round (114th overall) in the 2008 NHL Draft. Following his arrival in Calgary in the fall of 2010, Brodie has been a valuable asset to the team and the Calgary community. For two seasons, Brodie has supported Cystic Fibrosis (CF) through his program titled Skate in Strides presented by CARSTAR Collision and Glass Service. Known for his effortless skating, Brodie created custom made skate guards and Flames hats with all proceeds benefiting CF. This cause is near and dear to his heart as one of his closest cousins is affected by the disease. To date, Skate in Strides has raised over $35,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Canada. Brodie also assists in a variety of community initiatives for the Flames organization through the Calgary Flames Foundation including the Flames annual Poker Tournament, along with annual visits to the Alberta Children’s Hospital for wheelchair hockey and over the holiday season. Now in his fifth full season with the club, Brodie’s efforts in the community are also mirrored on the ice. Despite being injured for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season, Brodie is on pace to eclipse his career high for points in a season while currently ranking first amongst Flames in both time on ice (25:51) and plus/minus (+9).
The recipients of the J.R. McCaig Award receive a limited-edition bronze sculpture entitled RESPECT that depicts a cowboy showing his appreciation and respect to his horse by loosening the cinch, removing the bridle and allowing the horse to drink from his hat. The pieces were sculpted by Cochrane, AB artist Diane Anderson.