CFL referee Brian Chrupalo inducted into North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame

Photo courtesy: North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame

Canadian Football League referee Brian Chrupalo has been inducted into the North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2023.

Launched in 2022, the NAIAHF honours individuals across North America for outstanding leadership and achievement in individual or team athletics. Those eligible for induction include athletes, coaches, builders, officials, trainers, media members, and teams.

Chrupalo is the third official inducted, joining long-time NHL referee Danny McCourt and Minnesota high school basketball referee Michael Thomas. He is the first CFL alumnus to be enshrined in any category.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Chrupalo holds treaty status through the Pine Creek First Nation. He is the first Metis official in CFL history, having officiated 278 games and five Grey Cups over the course of his 19-year career. He also took part in the league’s official exchange program with the NFL, officiating a Jacksonville Jaguars preseason game in 2017.

On September 30, 2022, Chrupalo became the first CFL official to announce a penalty in an Indigenous language, making calls between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Ojibwa.

When he is not officiating CFL games, Chrupalo works as a staff sergeant with the Winnipeg Police. He is also the director of Bear Clan Patrol, a community-based organization that provides support for members of Winnipeg’s Indigenous population.