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Rob Zittlau films a University of Alberta hockey game at Clare Drake Arena in this undated file photo taken over the last decade. On Sunday, he and his wife, Grace, died in a highway collision near Legal, Alta. PHOTO BY SUPPLIED /U of A Athletics

Sports groups across Edmonton remember talented 'procaster' Rob Zittlau

10/15/2020, 10:15am MDT
By Gerry Moddejonge - Edmonton Sun

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.

“Forever thankful.”

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.”

E-mail: gmoddejonge@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge

GROUNDED – Dominic Escamilla, left, and Brennan Loblick of the Bellerose Bulldogs take down the Harry Ainlay Titans' ball carrier in Wednesday's division one pool B semifinal in the metro Edmonton junior league. Bellerose won 24-13 at Larry Olexiuk Field.

Junior final

10/26/2019, 11:00am MDT
By Jeff Hansen - St. Albert Gazette

Bellerose Bulldogs roar into junior final

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.

Bulldogs chase winning playoffs

10/26/2019, 11:00am MDT
By Jeff Hansen - St. Albert Gazette

Bellerose football team tackles division one Carr conference playoffs

The Bellerose Bulldogs kicked off the playoffs Friday determined not to let the high school football season end with a loss.

“We’re very excited. I know for all the seniors this could be our last game that we play in our high school careers so let’s not make it our last,” said Adam Rafat, a prime-time Grade 12 slotback prior to Thursday’s practise at Bellerose.

The score against the Spruce Grove Panthers in the opening round of the division one Carr conference playoffs in the metro Edmonton league was unavailable at press time.

The previous week in Spruce Grove, the teams squared-off in the last game before the playoffs with Bellerose outscoring the Panthers 49-42.

The fourth versus fifth playoff bracket was already determined before the match as Bellerose (221 PF/202 PA) finished 4-3 as the No. 10-ranked Tier I (1,250-plus students) team in the province and the Panthers (236 PF/259 PA) wound up 3-4.

“It was a very important win because it gave all the boys on the team confidence. It got us rolling so going into this game we have a lot of confidence and we’re going to come out of it with the win,” Rafat, 17, said.

The teams combined for 894 yards offensively – 447 rushing and 50 passing for the Panthers compared to 131 rushing and 266 passing for Bellerose – and 13 touchdowns with six per side offensively and Max Taylor’s fumble recovery for points in the second quarter.

It was 7-7 at the end of the first quarter, 27-21 Bellerose at halftime and 35-34 Panthers after three quarters.

“That was definitely a team effort. Everyone played really good. We just have to work on our run (defence) and our offence has to play better,” Rafat said. “The weather factor is going to be a huge thing (Friday) especially since they have an advantage there because they’re primarily a run team. They’re running the ball a lot rather than passing.”

The Panthers averaged 8.7 yards per carry on 52 attempts for six touchdowns of one, two, 47, four, one and seven yards.

Gage Froese led Bellerose in rushing with 108 yards on 16 carries and TDs of one yard in the first quarter and eight yards to make it 34-28 in the third quarter.

Froese’s totals in league play are 534 yards on 92 carries.

Quarterback Tristan Olenick completed 13 of 22 passes of 266 yards and TDs of 21 yards to Jordan Howe and 26 yards to Caleb Akerley in the second quarter and Rafat’s 55 yard go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.

Rafat’s seventh TD reception of the season was converted by Mohammad Zeidan as Bellerose regained the lead at 42-35.

“I had a lot of adrenaline going through that play, but if wasn’t for Tristan I wouldn't have got that touchdown pass,” said Rafat, who estimated he latched onto the ball around the 25 en route to the endzone.

Rafat led all receivers in the win with 150 yards on five receptions for season totals of 27 catches and 560 yards.

“I’ve got to work on my blocking aspect of the game, but stats wise I’ve had a pretty good season so far,” Rafat said.

Olenick, last year’s MVP of the junior Bulldogs in his Grade 10 season, has racked up 1,588 yards and 17 TDs while going 92-for-154 and was picked off six times.

Olenick’s second rushing TD this year, a one-yard effort, ended the scoring for Bellerose and the sixth extra point by Zeidan widened the gap to 49-35.

Jacob Patrick led the defence in solo tackles with eight while Jakob Kikkert, Taylor Schwam and Owen Fradette recorded six apiece.

Kikkert and Kyle Anderson were each credited with one sack.

The winner of the rematch will be the heavy underdog against the Harry Ainlay Titans (6-0-1, 312 PF/28 PA) in Friday’s semifinal at 7:30 p.m. at Clarke Stadium. The Carr championships the last two years and the 2018 Alberta Bowl Tier I finalists collared the Bulldogs 49-9 in the season opener.

“We’re trying not to look too far ahead, but the main focus is on Spruce obviously,” Rafat said. “But if we come out with a win in this game then Ainlay is definitely going to be a hard opponent to beat in the next round of the playoffs.”

Win or lose, Bellerose has shown marked improvement from last year's 3-4 team that ended the season with the 49-14 first-round playoff loss to the Austin O’Brien Crusaders.

“We've had an average season. It could’ve been better and it could’ve been worse, but obviously I’m happy where we are. We’re in the playoffs so it’s a completely different season now. Anything can happen,” said Rafat.

SURROUNDED – John Cahoon of the pool B Bellerose Bulldogs runs into traffic against the pool A Salisbury Sabres in metro Edmonton junior football. Salisbury (4-0) won 48-16 Oct. 1. Today's division one pool B semifinal between Bellerose (3-1) and Harry Ai

Bellerose football

10/23/2019, 2:00pm MDT
By Jeff Hansen - St. Albert Gazette

The playoffs kick off this week for the junior and senior Bellerose Bulldogs in metro Edmonton football.

Today's division one pool B semifinal against the Harry Ainlay Titans in the junior league starts at 5 p.m. at Larry Olexiuk Field.

Bellerose (3-1, 121 PF/48 PA) and Ainlay (3-1, 90 PF/80 PA) tied for first in league play against pool A teams. All three Bellerose wins were by shutouts.

The pool A semifinal features the Salisbury Sabres (4-0, 264 PF/16 PA) and Jasper Place Rebels (2-2, 68 PF/116 PA).

The division one final is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Clarke Stadium.

Friday’s division one Carr conference opening round match against the Spruce Grove Panthers in the senior league goes at 7:30 p.m. at Foote Field.

The winner plays Ainlay (6-0-1, 312 PF/28 PA), the reigning Carr champion and 2018 Alberta Bowl Tier I finalist, in the Nov. 1 semifinal at 7:30 p.m. at Clarke Stadium.

In week eight of the Football Alberta Tier I (1,250-plus students) rankings, Ainlay is fifth and Bellerose is 10th.

Bellerose (4-3, 221 PF/202 PA) and the Panthers (3-4, 236 PF/259 PA) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, after the 49-42 victory by the Bulldogs last weekend in Spruce Grove.

Bellerose led 27-21 at halftime and after three quarters trailed 35-34 before regaining the lead in the back and forth affair on Adam Rafat’s 55-yard catch and run touchdown.

Quarterback Tristan Olenick finished 13-for-22 passing for 266 yards and three TDs.

Rafat led all receivers with 150 yards on five receptions and Gage Froese rushed for 108 yards and two TDs on 16 carries.

BULLDOGS PLAYOFF BOUND – Quarterback Evan Cox looks to make pass while on the run for the junior Bellerose Bulldogs in the metro Edmonton league. The playoffs kick off next week for the Bellerose junior and senior teams. Wednesday the juniors host the Har
UNITED AS ONE – The Bellerose Bulldogs go through their pre-game ritual in the metro Edmonton junior football league. The pool B Bulldogs are 2-1 against pool A teams and 3-1 overall when the juniors host the pool A Austin O'Brien Crusaders (1-2) Tuesday
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BULLDOGS NEWS

Rob Zittlau films a University of Alberta hockey game at Clare Drake Arena in this undated file photo taken over the last decade. On Sunday, he and his wife, Grace, died in a highway collision near Legal, Alta. PHOTO BY SUPPLIED /U of A Athletics

Sports groups across Edmonton remember talented 'procaster' Rob Zittlau

10/15/2020, 10:15am MDT
By Gerry Moddejonge - Edmonton Sun

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.

“Forever thankful.”

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.”

E-mail: gmoddejonge@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge

GROUNDED – Dominic Escamilla, left, and Brennan Loblick of the Bellerose Bulldogs take down the Harry Ainlay Titans' ball carrier in Wednesday's division one pool B semifinal in the metro Edmonton junior league. Bellerose won 24-13 at Larry Olexiuk Field.
  • Junior final

  • 10/26/2019, 11:00am MDT , By Jeff Hansen - St. Albert Gazette
  • Bellerose Bulldogs roar into junior final
  • Read More
SURROUNDED – John Cahoon of the pool B Bellerose Bulldogs runs into traffic against the pool A Salisbury Sabres in metro Edmonton junior football. Salisbury (4-0) won 48-16 Oct. 1. Today's division one pool B semifinal between Bellerose (3-1) and Harry Ai
BULLDOGS PLAYOFF BOUND – Quarterback Evan Cox looks to make pass while on the run for the junior Bellerose Bulldogs in the metro Edmonton league. The playoffs kick off next week for the Bellerose junior and senior teams. Wednesday the juniors host the Har
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BULLDOGS FOOTBALL 'DAWGS' STORE IS NOW OPEN

We are please to announce that our new Bulldogs Football DAWGS Store is now open for business. Just click on the 'DAWGS Store' tab for access to over 300 items in several different colours. As an opening special there will be a 20% discount offered until May 31, 2020 for any orders placed.  Please use 'Bellerose1' as the discount code when prompted at checkout.  There may be a slight lag in shipping as the product does come from the US. 

PLEASE NOTE** Billing is in US Dollars, NOT Canadian.



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