Monday, 3 June 2019

Filteau was a beauty even when he jokingly was “The Worst”

Justin Filteau 1992- 2019

Justin Filteau sporting one of his favourite shirts.
    I had never seen a person that was so proud to wear a T-shirt that said he or she was “The Worst.”
    That was Justin Filteau for you. He was ready to bring the house down with laughter, even if it meant he was the target of the jokes.
    During the Saskatoon Valkyries wrap up banquet in 2017, the players from the Western Women’s Canadian Football League powerhouse team gave Filteau, who was their linebackers coach, a T-shirt that said “Filteau’s The Worst.”
    Filteau almost fell to the floor in laughter. He was absurdly proud of that shirt and wore it with a goofy smile for the rest of the celebrations that night.
    In August, Filteau turned that T-shirt into a crop top shirt and wore it to fitness testing on the first day of training camp for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team. He was entering his final campaign playing linebacker for the Huskies.
    He said he planned to wear that shirt under his equipment for game, and he wanted show it off after making a sack.
Justin Filteau in action with the Hilltops in 2014.
    All the Huskies coaches could do was laugh, because his explanation of his plan came with a crazy and different type of enthusiasm that only he could display. Unfortunately, Filteau couldn’t unleash his sack celebration as he sat out that campaign due to injury bringing an end to his playing career.
    Wherever Filteau went, he was this upbeat and humourous presence that could break up the most serious room. He brought a much needed levity to the lives of anyone he was around.
    That made the news from Saturday night that much tougher to take.
    Filteau was in Medicine Hat, Alta., and boarded a small American Aviation AA-5B plane with Moose Jaw, Sask., residents Jim Wilk and Kerry DePape. All three visited Medicine Hat for a bachelor party for Wilk’s son, who was marrying DePape’s daughter.
    Filteau was born and raised in Moose Jaw.
Justin Filteau (#45) enjoys the Hilltops PFC title win in 2014.
    Shortly after takeoff, the plane crashed east of Medicine Hat, and all three men perished in the crash.
    It was shocking development for the family and friends of all three men.
    Filteau had deep ties to the football community in Saskatchewan, especially in Saskatoon where he played for the CJFL’s Hilltops (2010-14) and the Huskies (2015-17) in the U Sports ranks.
    He was supposed to fly into Moose Jaw and drive out to Regina on Sunday to coach with the Valkyries in their final regular season game against the host and defending WWCFL champion Riot at Mosaic Stadium. He was a defensive line coach with the Valkyries this season.
Justin Filteau in action with the Huskies in 2016.
    The Valkyries won that contest 22-7 and have dedicated the rest of the season in Filteau’s memory.
    Even at this moment, it is still hard to comprehend Filteau has passed on at age 26. He had a lot more to give to the world.
    Still, he made a lasting positive impact on seemly everyone he met, which went way beyond what a person his age could make. 
    Since the news of his passing broke on Sunday, tributes have poured in and continue to pour in over various social media platforms.
    A lot of the tributes contained video or still photos of Filteau being humourous.
    You can’t even find the words to do justice to the impact he made.
    On the football field, Filteau was the underdog who made it. 
    Standing 5-foot-9 and weighing 214 pounds, he didn’t look like a linebacker.
    As for body type, he had bit of a stout look to him. 
    When he hit the field, you realized quickly looks were deceiving.
Justin Filteau, left, talks into the headset on the Valkyries bench in 2017.
    It seemed like he was always in the middle of the play or flying up field to make tackles for losses.
    He helped the Hilltops win four CJFL titles in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.
    Filteau was a CJFL all-Canadian all-star in that final championship campaign.
    He continued to make plays with the Huskies despite battling injuries.
    Few might have had as much fun playing the game as Filteau did.
    His funeral arrangements are still pending.
    When it came to life, Filteau was one of the best. That fact makes his sudden passing so hard to take.
    We all hope we can have a quarter of the positive impact Filteau had on people, because that alone would make the world a much better place.

Hunt, Habscheid remain with the Raiders

Curtis Hunt holds up the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
    The great times just keep rolling these days in Prince Albert.
    On Monday, the WHL champion Prince Albert Raiders announced general manager Curtis Hunt and head coach Marc Habscheid were signed to multi-year contract extensions. Further terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
    The contracts of both men were due to run out, and you can bet the people in “Hockey Town North” are pumped that both will be remaining with the Raiders for the foreseeable future.
    Last season, the Raiders posted a 54-10-2-2 record to finish first overall in the WHL’s regular season standings for the second time in team history. In the playoffs, the Raiders proceeded to win their second WHL title in team history in thrilling fashion.
    Game 7 of the WHL final on May 13 at the Art Hauser Centre, Dante Hannoun scored the overtime winner to give the Raiders a 3-2 victory over the visiting Vancouver Giants in the title clinching game.
    Hunt was named the WHL’s executive of the year and Habscheid took honours as the WHL’s coach of the year.
    The veteran hockey became a superstar combo guiding the Raiders over the last four seasons together.
Marc Habscheid raises the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
    Habscheid became the Raiders head coach partway through the 2014-15 season, and he has posted a 168-135-25-11 regular season record in that position. This past season, Habscheid became the eighth person in the history of the WHL to record his 500th career regular season win, and he coached in his 1,000th game.
    Hunt joined the Raiders before the start of the 2015-16 campaign. The Raiders have made the playoffs in three of the four seasons Hunt has been with the team.
    He was a defenceman with the Raiders when they won the WHL and Memorial Cup titles in 1985. As general manager, Hunt has had a huge hand building the team’s roster with high quality players who are high quality persons.
    Both men are extremely popular in Prince Albert. Their presence will make fans in “Hockey Town North” continually optimist that the Raiders will continue to be a well-run and strong team.

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