This year’s Grey Cup will feature three former Winnipeg high school football players and their old coach will get to see them all play.
Stu Nixon coached at Oak Park and witnessed Winnipeg’s Nic Demski and Brady Oliveria and Toronto’s Andrew Harris all make their way through his team.
Now retired, Nixon is heading to the big game in Regina and says he is excited to be able to watch them face each other.
“It’s kind of cool that they’re all back there again,” said Nixon. “It’s really cool that we were fortunate enough to buy tickets to the Grey Cup this year.”
Nixon said he has a great deal of pride knowing three of his former players will all get to play in the big game. But he noted the attention needs to be taken off him and put on the players.
“For them to be there, they had to live a very restricted life. They had to make the right decisions, they had to work on their school work, they had to be in training when they didn’t want to be in training, they had to play hurt. They had to love the game, like genuinely love the game.
“Because of who they are and the way I know them. It didn’t really matter where they played high school. I would be betting on them where they are anyway.”
He added he and the rest of the coaches who have coached these players, feel lucky and fortunate to have been a part of their lives.
Looking toward game day he said this is also a good opportunity for current high school athletes in the city to see that they too can make it to the big leagues.
“This is going to be good for football in our province. This is going to be good for our league. It’s just going to be great for our sport and it’s a sport that so many people here love. It’s going to create a lot of motivation. A lot of kids aspire to be there, but there’s not a lot of evidence that it’s possible. Now all of a sudden we have a truck load of evidence that if you do the right things you can get there.”
When asked who he is cheering for, Nixon said the best case scenario for him is to see Harris rush for 150 yards, get another 80 yards in the passing game and score a touchdown, but Demski and Oliveria win the Grey Cup.
Nixon is wishing all players good luck ahead of the matchup and he hopes they are able to play their best games of the season.
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