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October 29, 2018

Argos and BMO honour six with Community Coach Award

On Saturday the Toronto Argonauts and BMO welcomed six coaches to BMO Field to be awarded the 2018 BMO Community Coach award.

The coaches were selected for their impact on growing and developing the game of football in their respective schools and communities.

The six were accompanied on the day by 50 of their guests and were treated to a VIP experience at the Shipyard.

We are proud to present our six 2018 BMO Community Coach Award Winners.

Gord Gallimore – Erindale Secondary School 

As told by nominator Julie S.

Erindale Secondary School is 51 years old and much of its existence enjoyed a football-centred community spirit. With declining high school aged population the football team was teetering…and then Coach Gallimore came to Erindale. What was a motley crew of young men who could and wanted to play football suddenly became a large team of students recruited by a very special teacher whose passion is football. And I am just going to say MAGIC happened.

MAGIC: When something extraordinary happens and EVERYTHING changes.

Behind the MAGIC: a most remarkable man, Gord Gallimore gathered kids from his math class and the hallways who had never played football on a team. He had them dress “with respect for themselves and the school and the game”; he had them do their homework to gain entry to the field; he had them watch videos and run plays and learn strategy and understand at a deep level the game of football and in doing so he built a team of students who walked the halls with pride, who never missed a class, let alone be late for one – he had young men being role models for behaviour on – and – off the field.

The Raiders lost their first Friday Night Lights game 63-0. But if you heard them cheer and double down at the next practice, you would see for yourself the MAGIC that was happening. They were more than the sum of their parts. Coach Gallimore’s team was determined and dedicated like something you have never seen!

The next game 300 fans came out students, teachers, parents and community members! And when after two hours it was clear the refs were not showing up because of a scheduling glitch out of our hands, those boys (who practiced their hearts out during the wait), took a knee, applauded their coaches, and applauded their fans for coming out.

The very air in the school is different. And Gord Gallimore, Coach Gallimore is the reason why. A great coach changes more than a team. He changes individuals, a community and a belief in MAGIC.

Mr. Marwick – St Bernard Catholic School

As told by nominator Ed H. 

Mr. Marwick is a special Ed teacher amongst other duties he performs in the school he has managed to coach the school flag football team. It’s special on a personal note because he has included my son who is special needs. He doesn’t treat him any different which is cool and now my son actually feels like he is a part of his first school team. Thank you Mr Marwick. You can’t put a price on that.

Shawn Hood – North Toronto Collegiate Institute

As told by nominator Brad F.

Shawn Hood is a dedicated, enthusiastic, and inspiring head coach whose players love the game of football and want to win, yes, but to do so by playing the right way. That means by expending maximum effort; by respecting their opponents, as well as their coaches and the referees, and by seeing the game itself as a means to make them better student-athletes, as well as citizens. Coach Hood is a fixture at NTCI, having led the Varsity team in winning the city championship two years ago, and to the finals last year. The team is open to all who have a desire to play and are keen to make the necessary commitment. He continues to keep the banner of football flying high at North Toronto and would be an ideal recipient of the BMO Community Coach Award!

Wayne Hunwicks – Collingwood Collegiate Institute

As told by nominator Trevor M. 

Coach Hunwicks has been involved in football for almost 60 years. He began his career in 1961 as a player at Royal York Collegiate. Upon his arrival to Collingwood in 1968, he quickly became involved in the school’s football program. As a teacher at Collingwood Collegiate Institute (CCI) from 1968 – 1999, Wayne Hunwicks spent his time divided between the classroom and the football field throughout his 31-year career.

Through the years, over two dozen local students have carried on their careers at the collegiate level in the OUA and other Canadian University Conferences. Across the country, the “Fighting Owls” continue to fill the rosters of many Canadian universities such as Queen’s, University of Western Ontario, Wilfred Laurier, Guelph, York and Acadia. Hunwicks coached three players who achieved All-Canadian status at the university level in Todd MacKay, Reinhardt Kellar and most recently, Nick Comly, Nick and Mitch Stadnyk. Both MacKay and Kellar have won the Vanier Cup. Ryan Potter and Scott Lecky cut their football teeth playing for Coach Hunwicks at CCI and enjoyed successful professional football careers in the Canadian Football League (CFL). Both players experienced the ultimate goal as participants in Canada’s ultimate football prize, the Grey Cup.

Over the years, it is estimated 1,000+ former students played under his leadership. Many of these players have grown to become influential citizens as police officers, firefighters, business owners, skilled tradespeople, lawyers, accountants, school superintendents, and teachers, several of whom coach high school football!

Unquestionably, it is the reverence of former players for Coach Hunwicks that has contributed to the success of the Fighting Owls Football Alumni program (of which Coach Hunwicks is a founding member) through their continued support. As per usual, he would deflect all praise for the success of the Fighting Owls Football Alumni however it is his hand that is the driving force behind it’s of social fundraising initiatives.

Following his retirement in 1999, Wayne became a volunteer Coach for special teams and the offensive line. The 2018 season will mark Wayne’s 50th year involved in the CCI football program.

Tracy Galbraith – C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute

As told by nominator Ivonne P. 

I have known Tracey professionally for the past 18 years and have seen her commitment to football as Department Head of Physical Education and Athletics here at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute. Every Fall, she organizes and participates in Intramural Flag Football. In 2008, Tracey played a pivotal role in starting a TDSSAA (Toronto District Secondary Schools Athletic Association) interschool football team at Jefferys.

For this nomination, I wanted to provide a student perspective on the leadership, commitment, and mentorship Tracey provides to our students and teams. Here is what they said:

Ms.Galbraith is a hard-working, strong, committed, female coach and teacher. She dedicates a great deal of her time on building strong, young athletes for CWJ and never fails to motivate her students to the best of their abilities. She is not only an excellent example of a coach, but she is also an excellent example of a strong female.

“Ms. G has always been a vibrant colourful person who has always put a smile on my face and motivates her students to do better and makes sure we push ourselves to our max. ”

“She is not only a great teacher, but also a great coach. She always puts her students in front of herself and finds the best options for benefiting every person on the field. She shows commitment to being a coach by staying on top of her game when it comes to practices, always keeping it consistent and putting the team as her priority.”

Edyta Bassier – Central Peel

Edyta Bassier has managed through this school year and from previous school years to instill a positive school environment from the many responsibilities she undertakes.

For instance, Edyta has been the Girls Flag Football Teacher and Coach for our school for over a decade (which is a voluntary position that entails responsibilities such as communicating with coaches, collaborating with administration/custodial staff, and initiating budgetary requests for special events); She has been a Head Coach also for Senior Girls Soccer, Wrestling, and Girls Volleyball teams;  Edyta has been a mentor to many students and provides advice and moral support to many of the graduated students that come to help the Flag Football team. Edyta does not seek the spotlight (she does not boast what she has accomplished) but this year’s BMO Award prides itself in honouring the best teachers/coaches and Edyta Bassier is definitely one of those coaches for this award.