Cricket Canada has appointed a former Ontario government bureaucrat and Toronto club cricketer to carry out its strategic plans and policies as established by the board of directors.
Chandra Gocool is the new chief executive officer, replacing Atul Ahuja who was fired last January.
Gocool has worked with the provincial government as a senior manager of the sport and recreation program and as a sport consultant with a number of provincial sports organizations in many sports development initiatives, including organizational and athlete development.
He took early retirement in 1998 and launched his own company that advised organizations in Ontario on the procedures involved in applying for provincial funding. He later returned to work for the Ontario government part-time as a consultant for four years up until 2007.
The former Overseas Cricket Club representative, who also played soccer and table tennis and refereed in the Ontario Soccer League, said he’s looking forward to the challenge of helping to develop cricket across Canada.
“I chose to apply for this job because I have been involved in sport both as a player and administrator for many years and I saw a window of opportunity where I could use my experience, knowledge and skills to develop the sport,” he said. “Our junior and senior teams have qualified for the next World Cup tournaments, so I would say the future looks bright. There is however the challenge of trying to get more kids involved in the sport and also players who are past their prime to give back something to the game as coaches, umpires or volunteers in other capacities.
“I gained a lot from cricket and I want to now use my resources to give back something by creating visibility and credibility for the sport and allowing people to know that there are benefits that can be accrued from their association with Cricket Canada…Together, we can develop a synergy that can move the sport forward for the betterment of the game and for the enjoyment and satisfaction of all those who participate.”
The Trinidad & Tobago-born Gocool attended Irie High School and served as an administrator with the Texaco Forest Reserve club and the Wes Hall Youth League before coming to Canada in 1970.
“Shortly after my arrival, I was travelling in a bus when I noticed some guys on a field dressed in white clothing,” he said. “At the time, I was not even aware that they played the sport here but I decided to jump off the bus at the next stop and check out who were these people running around the field.”
It turned out to be Overseas practicing and Gocool immediately joined the Toronto & District Cricket Association club, starting a fruitful association as a player for 19 years, sports director and vice-president. He also acquired Level Two Umpire Certification.
Gocool worked at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources as a forest chemical technologist for 14 years up until 1984 before pursuing Public and Sports Administration Studies at York University.
He was responsible for the implementation of the provincial government’s policy titled, “Full and Fair Access for Women and Girls in Sport and Physical Activity”, aimed at increasing the participation opportunities for females in a harassment-free environment. In addition, Gocool represented federal and provincial interests in the implementation of the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure program directed at the construction and renovation of sports, culture and tourism facilities.
He also worked with the provincial Olympic secretariat in conjunction with the federal government to manage the financial investment in the early stages of Toronto’s bid for the 1996 Olympics that went to Atlanta.
Cricket Canada’s interim president, Ranjit Saini, is excited about Gocool’s appointment.
“It is time to build on all our successes and ensure that Canadian cricket is strong and Cricket Canada is a vibrant and viable organization,” he said. “Chandra’s task will not be a small one, but we have full confidence in him to lead the organization to new heights.”
Gocool has signed a two-year contract with Cricket Canada.