ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD -
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER -
OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER –
MOST CONTRIBUTION/LEAST RECOGNITION –
OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE LINEMAN –
OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE LINEMAN -
OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE PLAYER –
OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER -
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD -
LEE GRANT MEMORIAL TROPHY -
TRUE ROOKIE AWARD -
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER -
OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER -
MOST CONTRIBUTION/LEAST RECOGNITION -
MOST OUTSTANDING LINEMAN AWARD –
OUTSTANDING SPORTSMANSHIP & DEDICATION–
OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE PLAYER -
OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER -
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD -
It might not have been the biggest fixture in Edmonton sports, but as far as local athletic endeavours go, the city sure lost a visible one.
Videographer and producer Rob Zittlau and his wife, Grace, were killed in a highway collision over Thanksgiving weekend.
Zittlau made it his life’s ambition to ensure all levels of Edmonton’s sports scene could be seen, spending the past three decades building his company, ICU Video Productions, into a top-notch focus on amateur broadcasts – or ‘procasts,’ as he called them – and practice film.
The fatal crash happened east of Legal at the intersection of Hwy. 651 and Hwy. 803, where Morinville RCMP responded around 5 p.m. Sunday.
Police say two adults in a southbound car died on scene, while a six-year-old girl and four-year-old boy also in the vehicle were taken to hospital. The driver and passenger in an eastbound SUV suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
“The sad part about it is, as much as we’ve heard of the accident is that he was trying to take his niece and nephew to the corn maze,” said Football Alberta executive director Tim Enger. “It is really sad. He and Grace did not have any kids of their own, but I know that they had a lot of nieces and nephews and they just doted on them.”
It wasn’t always easy finding time to spend with family outside of football, baseball, hockey and, more recently, E-sports competitions that ran the gamut from amateur to high-school, semi-pro and professional levels across the Edmonton area.
“And he probably wouldn’t have been doing that on a weekend in the fall if we’d have had football,” Enger said of the cancelled high-school schedule. “So, it’s probably an example of him going above and beyond for family again.
“With something horrible happening while he was doing that.”
His love of family was about the only thing that rivaled his passion for covering amateur sports.
“It was like a security blanket,” Enger said. “When you went to any sporting event there was a good chance that Rob was going to be there. He was with the Edmonton Prospects, The Brick Novice Tournament, he did Golden Bears hockey.
“Every once in a while, I would take my family to a Prospects game or Golden Bears game and there’d be Rob, and you’d look at it and go, ‘Yup, now the world make’s sense because he’s here.’ So, he really carved out a nice effect on the Edmonton sports community for decades. It’s really going to be tough to replace Rob.”
Dave Foley worked closely with Zittlau at ICU for the past nine years, or, measure it in games and practices filmed, and they were well over 2,100 together. And that’s before all the editing and processing work that went into it.
“I’m devastated,” Foley told Postmedia in a phone interview Wednesday, following a video call from the crash site with CTV Edmonton, where Zittlau once worked as an editor. “I’m glad I went. I went out there and had a good ugly cry.
“I knew Rob knew lots of people, but getting the responses and hearing all of this is, like, oh man, it’s even a shock for me: Who doesn’t he know?”
Zittlau and his crew approached even the most minor of leagues like it was Stanley Cup-worthy and, in more than a few cases, the work played no small part in helping athletes grow beyond the grassroots of local fields.
“Very sad news to hear, condolences to the Zittlau family and his friends,” tweeted Edmonton Football Club punter and University of Alberta Golden Bears product Hugh O’Neill. “Rob was a staple of the football community and I used his film to help get recruited to university football.
The Ross Sheppard grad wasn’t alone, either.
“You look at guys out there right now, like Chuba Hubbard (Oklahoma State), Ajou Ajou at Clemson, and Lwal Uguak is at Connecticut, one of the complaints when I first started here years ago was why aren’t the big-time scholarships being offered to Canadian kids?” Enger said. “Part of the problem is Clemson and Oklahoma State weren’t going to send somebody up here to watch this, so they were relying on game film. So, if you don’t have quality game film, it’s like you’re playing in obscurity.
“Once Rob got going, if a kid wanted to piece together a tape, they were getting NFL-caliber stuff, so (schools) could make their judgments better. I think that is why you’re starting to see players from the Edmonton area start to trickle into the Div. 1 schools in the United States.”
Although Zittlau just started working with the Edmonton Prospects, procasting around 30 games in 2019, the team’s managing partner, Patrick Cassidy said it set a new standard for what he would like to see streaming throughout the Western Canadian Baseball League in the future.
“He was just a hard-working, dedicated, straight-forward kind of guy,” Cassidy said. “He wasn’t done. He was still building and had ideas and wanted to do more. He was one of those drivers, an entrepreneur prepared to take the risks and make it happen.
“It was a pretty damn-good production and he did it at a fraction of what anybody else would do. That’s why you just appreciated the guy, because he had the kind of background and talent he probably could have gone and did something else and made more money.”
On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge
The rematch between the Bellerose Bulldogs and Salisbury Sabres in metro Edmonton junior football is Tuesday’s division one final.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Clarke Stadium.
The only loss for the Bulldogs (4-1, 145 PF/61 PA in league play and 5-1 overall with four shutouts) was 48-16 against Salisbury (5-0, 327 PF/30 PA) Oct. 1 in the pool A versus pool B regular season.
Wednesday’s semifinal results were 24-13 Bulldogs against the Harry Ainlay Titans (3-2, 103 PF/104 PA) in pool B and 63-14 Salisbury against the Jasper Place Rebels (2-3, 82 PF/179 PA) in pool A.
The last junior championship for the Bulldogs was the team’s fourth in a row in 2015 when Sturgeon Composite was a feeder school for the Bellerose football program.
This is also the third consecutive year Bellerose has fielded the only junior team in St. Albert.
Team stats for the Bulldogs after five games are as follows:
Passing: Evan Cox 25-for-54 for 311 yards, two touchdowns, one interception; John Cahoon two-for-seven for 89 yards, two TDs.
Rushing: Ryan Cassidy, 295 yards on 49 carries, six TDs; Cahoon, 248 yards on 45 carries, four TDs; Cox, 224 yards on 25 carries, one TD; Alexander Bennett, 221 yards on 35 carries, one TD.
Receiving: Ethan Maki, 10 catches for 100 yards; Patch Boyd seven catches for 132 yards, two TDs; Brennan Loblick, two catches for 89 yards, two TDs.
Solo tackles: Dominic Escamilla, 22; Ty Harrison, 21; Zak Zayshley, 18, Loblick, 15.
Sacks: Escamilla and Zayshley with four apiece.
Fumble recoveries: Christopher Kachmar and Noah Wasylyshyn with three apiece.
Interceptions: Lucas Cadger, three.
We are very pleased to introduce to you our new Bulldogs Football Head Coach, Mr. Jason Lafferty. Jason comes to us with a very broad and high level of coaching as well as a Master’s Education degree. Bellerose Composite High School, St. Albert Public Schools and Bulldogs Football are very fortunate to have Jason onboard as our new Head Coach. Jason will be joining us for Spring Camp in two weeks and he is looking forward to meeting all of you and to start our 2018 season.
Watch this inspiring video from the Bikeathon 15 students at Bellerose Composite High School. These kids have raised an incredible amount of money to fight cancer over the past 15 years and this year is no exception. Bulldogs Football players inspirational leader was Coach O whom we lost to Cancer just recently. He would be proud of all of you, I can hear his voice "WOW, isn't that something?"
It is with great sadness that we announce that our beloved Coach O, Larry Olexiuk has passed away just before the new year. I know a lot of you may have already been told through social media but I was waiting for details of a 'celebration of life' to become more clear before we posted this on our website.
Larry was a huge part of this football organization from it's inception through to our very last event of 2017 which was our awards banquet that he attended and spoke at.
Larry's courage and depth of character will always be a part of Bulldogs Football and we will be proud to play at Larry Olexiuk Field for years to come.