IFAF Elections: Meet the Candidates – Jim Mullin (Canada)

As the second most successful football nation on earth, the idea that someone could be the face of football in Canada seems ludicrous. With an illustrious history of professional football spanning more than a century, a robust university system, and a complex web of amateur organizations at both the high school and community level spanning across ten provinces and three territories, it would take a unique type of leader to form any semblance of a united front.

It appears that Jim Mullin is that type of man.

Since taking the reigns as President of Football Canada in June of 2019, Mullin has guided the sport through its darkest period since the World Wars while still taking steps towards achieving his bold new vision for the sport. With ventures into the realm of e-sports, increased outreach into Indigenous communities and women’s football, a national summit bringing stakeholders from all levels together and the first ever Football Week in Canada, Mullin has broken new ground in his first term nationally. Now he’s looking to take those efforts international by adding General Secretary of IFAF to his resume.

It seems the natural next step for a man who has spent the bulk of his life around sports, both foreign and domestic. A broadcaster by trade, Mullin has worked on five continents and from 1994-1997 served as the English play-by-play voice for the International Basketball Federation while living in London, England. He has since called more than 550 different sporting events, in disciplines ranging from WHL junior hockey and curling to badminton and equestrian.

However, it is football, in particular Canadian university football, where Mullin has become a driving force for positive change. When he was serving as the play-by-play voice for Canada West football on Shaw TV in 2011, Mullin was made the Vancouver Director for the 47th Vanier Cup at BC Place, considered by some to be greatest game of football ever played in the country. As part of his promotion for that event, Mullin produced and hosted a weekly roundup show highlighting Canadian university football. Now known as Krown Gridiron Nation, it has grown in a decade from a regional clip show to being broadcast nationally on TSN, Canada’s top sports network, with a companion radio show to boot. Mullin and his colleagues remain the only consistent media coverage of amateur football anywhere in Canada.

In the years since, Mullin’s work has extended beyond broadcasting. He is a former vice-president of the Football Reporters of Canada and was a driving force behind the Northern 8 initiative, an unsuccessful attempt to realign university football to create more nationally televised inter-divisional play. In 2017, he became a patron and creator of the Jon Cornish Trophy, now awarded annually to the best Canadian player in the NCAA. He is British Columbia’s representative for the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and serves as the chair of its Amateur Sub-Committee.

Since ascending to the role of Football Canada president, Mullin’s stature has only grown and in moments of crisis, he has been looked to from all corners of the country as a steady voice of reason. At times, his dogged protection of Canada’s unique brand of football has even gained folk support in the fan base for the role of CFL commissioner. There is little doubt he has more general popularity than anyone who has ever filled that job.

For Canadians, Mullin is a leader who can be relied on to champion ‘our game,’ but there is little doubts that attitude would extend internationally as well. Mullin has been a fierce advocate for international play and IFAF events in his time on the Football Canada board of directors and has a proven track record of getting things done. International voters should have no worries about the race for General Secretary being unopposed.

J.C. Abbott is a student at the University of British Columbia and amateur football coach in Vancouver, Canada. A CFL writer for 3DownNation, his love of travel has been the root of his fascination with the global game.