Nine players nominated for Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award
TORONTO — The Canadian Football League (CFL) has announced the nine players nominated for the 2019 Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award, which recognizes a Canadian CFL player who demonstrates the attributes of Canada’s veterans: strength, perseverance, courage, comradeship and contribution to Canadian communities.
The award has been presented annually since 2010 and is named in recognition of Jake Gaudaur — a distinguished Second World War veteran and the longest-serving Commissioner in CFL history, who embodied these attributes.
Each team nominates one of its players and the recipient is chosen by a committee comprised of CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie, league personnel and a representative from Veterans Affairs Canada. The award will be presented as part of the Shaw CFL Awards at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Thursday, November 21.
The Shaw CFL Awards is one of the highlights of the 2019 Grey Cup Festival presented by Shaw. In addition to the awards, several ticketed events are on sale now, including the Canadian Tire CFL Alumni Association Legends Luncheon, the Alberta Blue Cross Grey Cup Gala Dinner, the Cheer Extravaganza, the first-ever Grey Cup Rodeo, the SiriusXM Saturday Night Concert presented by Coors Light, and more. Additional event details, dates and purchasing information can be found at GreyCupFestival.ca.
Tickets, as low as $150, are on sale now for the 107th Grey Cup presented by Shaw at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium on Sunday, November 24, featuring Keith Urban in the Freedom Mobile Grey Cup Halftime Show. For more information, click here.
PREVIOUS WINNERS OF THE JAKE GAUDAUR VETERANS’ AWARD
- 2018: Rolly Lumbala (BC)
- 2017: Luc Brodeur-Jourdain (MTL)
- 2016: Matt Black (TOR)
- 2015: Jeff Perrett (MTL)
- 2014: James Yurichuk (TOR)
- 2013: Shea Emry (MTL)
- 2012: Graeme Bell (SSK)
- 2011: Andre Durie (TOR)
- 2010: Mike McCullogh (SSK)
2019 JAKE GAUDAUR VETERANS’ AWARD NOMINEES
BC Lions – Adam Konar
Adam Konar has overcome a series of serious injuries throughout his career. This year, after being released by the Edmonton Eskimos prior to the start of the season, Konar quickly found a new home with BC. He soon found his place and emerged as a leader among his younger teammates and as a captain for the special teams unit. Through his alma mater, the University of Calgary, Konar has volunteered his time as a coach at football camps for youth.
Edmonton Eskimos – Ryan King
Ryan King is a long-time CFLPA player representative and offers guidance to his fellow players, while also serving as a bridge between staff and his peers. King has travelled to Kuwait and Ukraine alongside fellow CFL players to visit members of the Canadian Armed Forces. He is an active member of the community, taking part in initiatives such as KingCarty Football Camp and has partnered with KidSport to create Kings Kids – a program that welcomes underprivileged youth to experience Eskimos’ home games. King spent Edmonton’s two bye weeks this season speaking with students and running football camps in Fort McMurray, Alta., and in Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T.
Calgary Stampeders – Derek Wiggan
Derek Wiggan played a full 18-game season on a defensive line that endured several injuries. His determination and strong work ethic served as an inspiration to his teammates and coaches. Wiggan’s leadership and example helped fill the void following the departure of a number of veteran players. Wiggan takes part in various fan-focused events in support of minor football and charitable fundraising out of a desire to meet people and help others, rather than a sense of obligation.
Saskatchewan Roughriders – Dan Clark
In May, Dan Clark was injured in a serious single-vehicle accident while returning from a community appearance. Despite his injuries, Clark was back with the team for Training Camp and did not miss any games this season. Clark used the accident as a reminder to himself and his teammates to appreciate life and one another, while also pairing with Worksafe Saskatchewan to serve as the face of a public service announcement about rollover awareness. Clark is one of the Roughriders’ ambassadors for the Red Cross’s Imagine No Bullying Campaign which sees him travel throughout Saskatchewan to speak about anti-bullying and building healthy relationships. This past year through the program, Clark visited 28 schools in 16 communities, reaching more than 8,500 children while travelling over 9,000 km.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers – Mike Miller
Mike Miller has played in all 54 regular-season games since joining Winnipeg. He was voted the Pro’s Pro on two occasions by his coaches and teammates, demonstrating professionalism, leadership and mentorship in the locker room. He has routinely upheld his values and stood up for his teammates. He regularly visits the children’s hospital and is active with youth initiatives in the community.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats – Mike Filer
As the Tiger-Cats’ current longest-serving player, Mike Filer has become a household name in Hamilton both on the field and in the community. He was recognized by Hamilton Health Sciences in 2019 with a permanent plaque at Juravinski Hospital for his ‘Mike’s Manscaping Challenge For Cancer’ program that raised over $23,000, in addition to his family’s personal donation of $20,000, for a new stem cell wing at the Juravinski Cancer Centre. In addition to spending the offseason as a volunteer firefighter in Haldimand County, Filer was heavily involved in numerous community initiatives that promoted healthy and active lifestyles for Hamilton youth, including the Tiger-Cats’ High School Mentorship program, Be Fit, FirstOn the Field Flag Football and Play Action Minor Football Camp. On the field, he persevered through numerous obstacles to turn in his best season as a professional. Filer lost his starting role after the 2018 season, and after his new offseason training program had him in the best shape of his career, he suffered a torn bicep during the first week of training camp. Listed as low as third on the Ticats’ 2019 depth chart at centre prior to the start of the season, Filer battled through the injury and played in the preseason before making the active roster for opening day. While injured in camp and when serving as a backup Week 1, Filer took it upon himself to work with the offensive line and help mentor his replacement, Demetrius Rhaney, who was new to the Canadian game. Filer would reclaim his starting role in Week 2 and has yet to relinquish it.
Toronto Argonauts – Jamal Campbell
As a faith leader in Toronto’s locker room, Jamal Campbell lends his strength and conviction to his colleagues and teammates. He dressed in 32 games over a three-year span with the team and was always a consummate professional and a dedicated teammate. Campbell earned the opportunity to start in Week 10 and held the role throughout the second half of the season. Campbell is a source of encouragement and inspiration for his peers and serves as a voice for the offensive line. He actively works with at-risk youth groups, including the Rexdale Youth Club, and travels to schools within the Greater Toronto Area as part of the Huddle Up anti-bullying program. In addition to starting a turkey giveaway initiative, he joined several Argos at the Salvation Army on Thanksgiving weekend to serve meals and assist families in need.
Ottawa REDBLACKS – Antoine Pruneau
Despite missing time due to two significant injuries, Antoine Pruneau has been a strong leader in the locker room, as well as, being a source of inspiration and strength in mentoring his young francophone teammates. The long-time REDBLACK is an active participant in community events, including the team’s French-themed week in Gatineau and at a patient-visit at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
Montreal Alouettes – Martin Bédard
Martin Bédard has persevered to forge a successful career despite the tragedy of having both of his parents succumb to cancer and seeing his brother limited to a wheelchair because of the disease. He is a stalwart pillar of strength and support for his brother and his peers draw inspiration from his example. Bédard is a vocal presence on the sideline, encouraging his teammates with positivity and energy. Off the field, he can be seen sharing that same sense of togetherness and camaraderie with staff and the front office. In 2013, Bédard travelled to Kuwait and Afghanistan to visit Canadian troops. He is an ambassador for the Together at School with the Alouettes program, championing the benefits of staying in school, and regularly visits the Manoir Marc Perron to spend time with its elderly residents and those with disabilities.