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Watching 3 former players in Grey Cup game will be ‘surreal,’ Winnipeg high school coach says


One was a sponge for teaching recommendation. One introduced pleasure into each room he entered. And one other was so good he typically needed to be taken off the soccer discipline to provide the opposite groups an opportunity.

On Sunday, Stu Nixon will watch all three of his former gamers at Winnipeg’s Oak Park Excessive Faculty — Andrew Harris, Nic Demski and Brady Oliveira — signify the Winnipeg Blue Bombers within the greatest sport in Canadian soccer.

“The Gray Cup goes to be thrilling when your workforce is in it for positive, proper? However when your alumni are all within the sport, it is nearly surreal,” Nixon stated.

Earlier this week, college students at Oak Park packed into the fitness center for a pep rally forward of the 108th Gray Cup, being performed in Hamilton in opposition to the hometown Tiger-Cats.

Virtually everybody wore blue and gold, and a few held indicators cheering on the Bombers — together with just a few outsized cutouts of Harris, Demski and Oliveira’s heads.

“The varsity was buzzing,” Nixon stated.

“There’s three of them from one faculty. It is exhausting to imagine. And [the students are] enthusiastic about that. They’re part of that custom, proper?”

WATCH | Oak Park Excessive Faculty college students cheer on soccer alumni: 

Oak Park college students cheer for 3 former Raiders on Bombers roster

College students at Oak Park Excessive Faculty held a pre-Gray Cup pep rally for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and their three homegrown gamers, Andrew Harris, Nic Demski and Brady Oliveira, all of whom suited up for the Oak Park Raiders once they have been youthful. 1:04

The previous soccer coach, who stepped down from the function just a few years in the past, acquired to look at Harris and Demski win the Canadian Soccer League championship in 2019.

Oliveira was injured for that sport — which suggests this yr’s closing marks the primary time Nixon will get to look at all three compete within the huge sport.

A runner, a ‘actual pleasure’ and a record-breaker

The previous soccer coach stated he remembers Harris, now a working again for the Bombers, as a dynamic participant at the same time as a thin Grade 10 scholar.

“He was the very best soccer participant within the province his age. Each time you kick the ball to him, he’ll rating a landing,” Nixon stated.

“No one might catch him. And for a thin child, he was actually heavy to hit.”

Working again Andrew Harris speaks to media in Hamilton on Saturday. His former highschool soccer coach remembers him as a dynamic participant, at the same time as a thin Grade 10 scholar. (Nick Iwanyshyn/The Canadian Press)

However it wasn’t simply Harris’s talent that set him aside in highschool.

“He was very coachable. He would hearken to and do something you requested him,” Nixon stated.

“That is the distinction between [him and] proficient youngsters in highschool that you just by no means hear from once more: The proficient youngsters that you just hear from once more is what is going on on inside their head. They do not enable egos to turn out to be part of it.”

As for what it was like to educate Demski, now a large receiver for Winnipeg, Nixon stated one factor involves thoughts.

“It was an actual pleasure,” he stated.

“He simply introduced pleasure to each class he was in — simply such a contented, fun-loving child within the fitness center. His enthusiasm was infectious.”

Nic Demski catches the ball throughout a apply previous to the 107th Gray Cup in Calgary in 2019. His former highschool soccer coach remembers him as a ‘actual pleasure’ to have round. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

And remembering teaching working again Oliveira, Nixon stated he remembers a participant who — whereas typically late to the apply discipline — labored tougher than anybody else off it, from the burden room to the observe.

All that coaching created a participant who typically needed to be taken off the sector if the workforce was crushing its opponent, one thing Nixon stated occurred pretty typically within the curiosity of sportsmanship.

The Weekend Morning Present (Manitoba)8:16Oak Park Excessive Faculty cheering on three alumni within the Gray Cup!

One was a sponge, one was at all times late for apply however a pleasure to educate, and one was so good he needed to be taken out of video games so they would not get too lopsided! Stephanie Cram caught up with Oak Park Phys-Ed trainer Stu Nixon who has three of his former gamers – Andrew Harris, Nic Demski, and Brady Olivera – hitting the sector for in the present day’s Gray Cup. 8:16

“It drove him nuts,” he stated. “He hated coming off. He was a competitor to the bitter finish. He simply wished to go and go and go.”

However getting pulled out early from each different sport did not boring Oliveira’s possibilities of shattering data whereas he was on the sector, Nixon stated.

Brady Oliveira, sporting No. 5 within the first row, and his teammates rejoice their 2015 highschool championship win for the Oak Park Raiders. Stu Nixon, his former coach on the workforce, says he shattered nearly each highschool soccer document. (Submitted by Oak Park Excessive Faculty)

“He broke nearly each working document that there was,” he stated.

“Actually, at the least half of the video games he would have performed solely two quarters and he nonetheless did what he did.”

Getting ready for retirement

Nixon is now in his closing yr as a bodily training trainer at Oak Park earlier than retirement.

He stated seeing his former gamers deliver dwelling the Gray Cup once more — which he is anticipating — could be the proper strategy to finish his profession.

And if there’s one factor he is aware of about his three former gamers, it is that they will give it their all.

“They have been so significantly better than anyone else … on the sector, however they have been by no means happy with their very own efficiency,” he stated.

“They at all times have been searching for methods of getting higher. They have been, like, impatient to turn out to be profitable.”

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