Times has changed for the better..
Times have changed and for the better. I can remember a season when we didn’t have a single player recognized as a PFC All-Star. That certainly wasn’t the case this year.
First, let me mention how the all-stars are selected. They are voted on by the coaching staffs of each team and you can’t vote for your own player. That ensures these are fair selections. The club Presidents vote for Coach of the Year.
Offensively we placed four players on the all-star team. Fourth year Jack Hanna was selected to the offensive line. Connor Bergerson, with 33 receptions for 513 yards, was named an all-star receiver. To nobody’s surprise QB Brad Launhardt, last year’s Canadian all-star quarterback, repeated as the PFC selection and Cole Sabourin was picked as the all-star in both, punting and place-kicking.
We did just as well on the defensive side. Defensive end Donovan Bergmaier, all 6’6” and 260 lbs. of him, was one of only five unanimous selections to the team. DB Justin Hodinsky had his three interceptions and two fumble recoveries place him as a todefensive back all-star, joining LB Jassen Brown.
The Huskies dominated the Rookie All-stars. That is saying something as there are only 9 selections (8 this year as there was a single choice for punter/kicker) total. Led by Lloydminster’s QB Tommy Yanchuk (the Huskies second unanimous choice) the others included OL TJ Ubell-Shopa, DL Justin Pearson and LB Cole Lindberg, That is 4 of the 8 rookie awards and should assure us of a competitive team in the future. No team had more than one selected in this category other than the Huskies indicating a couple of things. It speaks highly of our club’s recruiting efforts in the off season, the coaching staff’s work on bringing them along and the opportunity afforded them to get on the field and be noticed.
At the Canadian Bowl the national all-star team will be identified. This started in 1990 and we placed LB Jerry Hollick on that team. Since that time the Huskies have had 30 players named to that team, Last year Brad Launhardt was so honoured. In addition to the all-star team some outstanding players will also be recognized. These people will be up against those selected to represent the other two leagues in Canada. Once again we have a predominantly Edmonton Huskies show. Brad Launhardt was not only named the PFC quarterback he also earned MVP honours and is the PFC’s nomination as the Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year in Canada. He will be joined by LB Jasson Brown, the PFC’s nomination as the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. Put that together with Cole Sabourin as Special Teams Player of the Year and it is easy to see why Coach Iain MacLean is the PFC’s nomination as Coach of the Year.
The most recent addition to the recognition program is a community service award. In the PFC that award is named after the late Al Park, formerly General Manager of the Edmonton Wildcats who passed away from ALS in 2012. The award is also a CJFL national award. The Huskies have become quite active in giving back to the community involving themselves in the Gender Based Violence Prevention Program and Habitat for Humanity. One individual player, offensive lineman Gunnar Thurott, has far surpassed anything that can be expected of one individual. Not only is he deeply involved in the programs mentioned he also volunteers with the Mustard Seed Church (serving meals to the less fortunate), the sexual assault centre, the YWCA, the Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity and collecting shoes and clothing for WIN House. He also co-facilitated alcohol abuse and consent culture presentations at the University of Alberta. He joins his family in the semi-annual community roadside clean-up, annually delivers presents for Santa’s Anonymous and participates in the Terry Fox Run. An amazing contributor to the community we are all proud Gunnar is a Huskie. He is the PFC’s nominee as the Canadian junior football player contributing most to his community.
This certainly demonstrates the outstanding leadership the club has enjoyed this past year both on and off the field. I look forward to attending the CJFL Awards Banquet at the home of the Ontario Champions this year