Over 50 national and provincial alumni, 2 personnel among USports Conference All-Stars and Major Award Winners
USports Award winners and All-Canadians to be unveiled in Laval on Thursday night
With only days before the Vanier Cup is contested in Laval, 53 athletes and 2 coaches that have represented the nation and their province have been recognized for stellar campaigns within the four conferences that are governed by USports.
They represent eight provinces and belong to the Junior National Program and/or Provincial Programs. The Junior National Team competes in IFAF sanctioned events such as the World Junior Championships, International Bowl and North American Championship and the program itself is run by Football Canada. Meanwhile, the Provincial Programs provides opportunities for athletes to develop locally and are governed by Football Canada. The Provincial Sport Organizations run these programs and it prepares athletes to compete in the Football Canada’s national under-18 championship, the Football Canada Cup.
Here is a breakdown within each conference:
Five alumni were selected as all-stars in the AUS. Highlighting this group is Acadia Axemen defensive lineman Anderson Recker, who helped Canada win gold this past July at the IFAF World Junior Championships. Canada defeated host Mexico 13-7 in front of 25,000 spectators. Recker also represented Nova Scotia at two Football Canada Cup tournaments – the 2015 event in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec and 2016 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Axemen lineman Nathan Heide was part of the Junior National Team that won Canada’s first ever gold medal at the IFAF World Junior Championships in 2012. Canada upset rivals and host United States 23-17 in Austin, Texas.
Mount Allison Mounties halfback Nate Rostek has represented Canada at two previous International Bowls (2015, 2016) and his province as a member of Team Nova Scotia at two previous Football Canada Cups (2012, 2013).
AUS Outstanding Lineman of the Year and conference all-star, Tommy Grant represented Nova Scotia at the 2014 Football Canada Cup in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Community Student-Athlete Award winner Cameron Davidson also represented Nova Scotia at the event in 2013.
Rounding out the all-stars is Axemen linebacker Bailey Feltmate, who represented New Brunswick at the 2015 Football Canada Cup in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.
A dozen athletes who received all-star selections and/or major awards have Football Canada ties. Seven of these players have helped Canada win medals at the IFAF World Junior Championships.
Athlete of the Year Hugo Richard (Laval Rouge et Or), Special Teams Player of the Year Louis-Philippe Simoneau (Montreal Carabins) and all-star Regis Cibasu (Montreal Carabins), were part of Canada’s gold medal winning team in Austin, Texas at the 2012 IFAF World Junior Championships. Richard also was a member of the IFAF 2013 World Team.
RSEQ Player of the Year Mathieu Betts (Laval Rouge et Or) alongside fellow all-stars Samuel Thomassin (Laval Rouge et Or) and Andrew Seinet-Spaulding helped Canada claim silver at the 2014 IFAF World Junior Championships. Canada lost the gold medal game against the United States 40-17 in Kuwait.
All-star offensive lineman Samuel Lefebvre (Laval Rouge et Or) was a member of the Junior National Team in 2016 that won gold at the IFAF World Junior Championships. Once again, Canada topped their rivals from the United States 24-6 in Harbin, China.
Two of the conference’s major award winners from the Laval Rouge et Or helped host Quebec Blue win gold at the 2015 Football Canada Cup – Rookie of the Year Vincent Forbes-Mombleau and Defensive Rookie of the Year Maxym Lavallee.
Laval Rouge et Or’s Glen Constantin, who was named RSEQ Coach of the Year, was at the helm of the 2009 junior national team that claimed silver at the IFAF World Cup after losing the gold medal game to rivals, United States 40-3 in Canton, Ohio.
19 alumni garnered first and second team all-star nods from the OUA. Highlighting this group are a pair of York Lions – defensive end Rossini Sandjong-Djabome (first team) and quarterback Colton Hunchak (second team) who helped Canada claim silver at the 2014 IFAF World Junior Championships under head coach Warren Craney.
Waterloo Warriors and first team all-star Jesse Gibbon was a member of the Junior National Team that were golden in Harbin, China at the 2016 IFAF World Junior Championships.
The conference’s Outstanding Standup Defensive Player of the Year is Fraser Sopik (Western Mustangs), who helped Team Ontario win gold at the 2014 Football Canada Cup in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
OUA Coach of the Year, Greg Marshall is no stranger to the national program. The Western Mustangs head coach helped Canada to a silver medal finish at the 2011 IFAF Senior Men’s Championship in Austria as the team’s offensive coordinator. Additionally, Marshall represented Canada as head coach of the IFAF World Team at the 2012 International Bowl.
In Canada West, 16 alumni were selected as major award winners and/or all-stars. Rookie of the Year and all-star Tyson Philpot played a pivotal role in Canada’s gold medal win at the 2018 IFAF World Junior Championships in Mexico City. During the tournament, he was selected as Player of the Game in Canada’s game against Japan.
Russ Jackson Award winner Jayden McKoy (Manitoba BIsons) as well as all-star Trivel Pinto (UBC Thunderbirds) were part of the Junior National Team that ended up with silver at the 2014 IFAF World Junior Championships in Kuwait while all-stars Connor Griffiths (UBC Thunderbirds) and Zack Williams (Manitoba Bisons) brought back gold medals as part of Canada’s junior national team that competed at the 2016 IFAF World Junior Championships in Harbin, China.
CWUAA Lineman of the Year and all-star Joel Van-Pelt represented Alberta at the 2013 Football Canada Cup in Moncton, New Brunswick. The team claimed silver at the event.
- Out of the 53 alumni, 5 are from Nova Scotia, 1 from New Brunswick , 8 from Alberta, 14 from Ontario, 15 from Quebec, 3 from British Columbia, 4 from Manitoba and 3 from Saskatchewan
- Out of this group, 2 athletes successfully defended the gold medal for Canada at the 2018 IFAF World Junior Championships in Mexico City, Mexico
- 5 athletes won gold at the 2016 IFAF World Junior Championships in Harbin, China after defeating rival United States
- 7 athletes claimed silver at the 2014 IFAF World Junior Championships in Kuwait
- 3 athletes helped Canada win their first ever gold medal at the 2012 World Junior Championships after upsetting the United States on their home turf in Austin, Texas.
- 3 athletes participated in the 2017 North American Championships in Florida
- A total of 17 athletes have participated in a four different International Bowls (2014 – 2018)
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