Category: Team News

“Steelers anchor” McBain Dies

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Created by: Peter Ruicci
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As far as Barry Rushon is concerned, Don McBain meant everything to the Sault Steelers football team.

“If it wasn’t for Don, there would be no Sault Steelers,” Rushon said on Saturday. “He was integral in keeping things going.”

McBain, a former Steelers linebacker beginning in the late 1970s, but best known as the team’s president or co-president for nearly 20 years, died Friday night after a short battle with cancer.

Rushon, who began coaching what was then known as the Sault Storm in 1996, also called McBain “the Steelers anchor.”

During the 1999 and 2000 seasons – especially – Rushon said McBain kept the franchise alive.

Player numbers were down, losses were up and Rushon was coaching alone.

He ran the offence, defence and special teams.

“I was totally by myself and he did everything for the team behind the scenes,” said Rushon, who stepped down as Steelers coach in 2010.

That involved fund-raising, marketing, handling the finances and all interaction with the Northern Football Conference.

Rushon said the two leaned on each other.

The former coach spoke of how McBain offered support for “anything I might need.”
If it wasn’t for McBain, “we wouldn’t have made it,” Rushon added. “He was very stoic, logical and genuine. He always took the high road and always did the right thing. We were the best of friends and I’m devastated. My family also knows Donnie and we’re all heartbroken.”

Sandra McBain spoke of her husband’s love of football and his background in business as making for a perfect combination.

“Football was part of his life. He loved it,” said Sandra, who also listed NASCAR among her husband’s sporting passions. “And with the Steelers, it was never about him. It was always about everyone else.”

Inducted into the Northern Football Conference Hall of Fame as a builder in 2008, McBain began feeling ill in this spring. He was diagnosed with cancer in June and died at Algoma Residential Community Hospice.

McBain was very private about his illness, leading to shock among many in the Sault’s football community.

“He didn’t want to burden anyone,” explained Sandra, who spoke of the love her husband had for her and their children, son Rory and daughter Sarah.

McBain was a player on the Steelers 1980 NFC championship team. But what made him most proud, Sandra said, was the fact the team captured three NFC and three Canadian Major Football League championships over a four-year span.

That run of dominance began in 2007. The Sault also secured NFC and CMFL crowns in 2009 and 2010.

Rushon said the highlight for he and McBain was the 2009 CMFL championship game, played locally at Rocky DiPietro Field.

Rushon said McBain and Jean Rushon, Barry’s wife, served as co-chairs for the event.

The Sault defeated the Edmonton Stallions 65-6 and Barry Rushon noted how “we had in excess of 5,000 people at the game. Donny worked hard to make that successful.”

After the team’s 2007 NFC and Canadian championships, McBain enjoyed seeing the Steelers win the H.P. Broughton Trophy, as the city’s sportsperson of the year, while being honoured as a city Medal of Merit recipient.

“When you stay with a football organization this long, there’s a reason for it,” McBain told The Sault Star after receiving his NFC Hall of Fame induction plaque.

“He was one of the most-genuine people and one of the people most passionate about football I’ve ever met,” Rushon said.

Sandra McBain said visitation at Northwood Funeral Home is slated for Wednesday.

However, as of Sunday night, times had yet to be finalized.

Outlaws quarterback Daigle named NFC MVP

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Created by: Josh Brown. Twitter: @BrownRecord and email
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CAMBRIDGE — They lost in the championship but the Tri-City Outlaws still ended the season on a high by taking a trio of top honours in the Northern Football Conference.

Quarterback Dan Daigle was named the outfit’s most valuable player in the league’s year-end awards which were announced earlier this month.

Teammate Tom Bailey won offensive lineman of the year while Tony Azavedo was the top special-teams player.

Daigle, a former Wilfrid Laurier University pivot, led the league in passing with 2,172 yards and 26 passing touchdowns.

The Stoney Creek native also made the NFC’s first all-star team along with fellow Outlaws running back Josh Reason, receiver Shawn Ashe and Bailey.

Ashe came out of retirement and rejoined the pigskin loop this past season and led the league with 618 receiving yards and six receiving majors.

Second team all-star nods went to Tri-City running back Nick Houser, receivers Anthony Powless and Ryan Watt-Dennis (who tied Ashe with six receiving touchdowns), offensive lineman Josh Howes and defensive back Shawn Diebold.

The Outlaws went 6-2 and tied for second overall in the men’s league. The club, based in Cambridge, marched all the way to the final but lost 50-14 to the GTA All-Stars. The Toronto-area bunch went on to win the national title 18-17 over the Calgary Gators.

NFC offensive player of the year went to Ottawa’s Jeremy Mussche, while Sarnia’s John Bain won defensive player of the year.

Ottawa’s Nyjill Wilson was the league’s top rookie and leading scorer, GTA’s Michael Livingston was named defensive lineman of the year, and Oakville’s Barry Emo took top coaching honours.

Patriots Season Opener

The Steel City team has been evolving and pushing to make a playoff run. With the sudden departure of the Sault Steelers, the Patriots want to ensure their fans they aren’t going anywhere but the playoffs.

The Patriots have made a number of dramatic off-season moves to keep them a dangerous threat in the NFC’s Eastern Division. From acquiring their new offensive coordinator Kyle Cole. To bringing a renewed ground game in their running back Tony Furlone. To finding a shutdown Defensive Back Donovan Saunders. The Patriots hail this season as The 2017 NFC Championship Tour.

Philip D. Costantini “Cosz” Owner, V.P. Football Operations for the Patriots wanted the fans to get the following information for their rematch with the Outlaws.

Location: Mohawk Sports Complex Field No. 1:  (locker rooms/parking adjacent to the furthest goal posts).
Address: 770 Upper Kenilworth Avenue,(Lincoln Alexander Pkwy; Stonechurch Rd./Limeridge road)
Admission fees: Adults – $10.00, Seniors/Students(13-18) – $ 5.00, children 12/under – FREE
KICK-OFF: 6:00 p.m.(on field arrival and locker rooms 3 & 4, access at 4:00 p.m.)
Home Team Colour Declaration: White & Red
5th Quarter: Fool’n Flagon, 2255 Barton Street East, Hamilton. Kids are welcome.
Please let us know if you require any hotel information as well.

Sault Steelers Withdraws from NFC 2017 Season

Written by Brian Kelly of the Sault Star – Please share the original story to ensure coverage of NFC Football and help the reporters and local papers.

The NFC executive are fully committed to making the league and the season work. More news on the repercussions and solutions to follow.

Sault Steelers will spend the 2017 season on the sidelines because the Northern Football Conference team doesn’t have enough players to compete.

NFC president, and former team coach, Barry Rushon was contacted Thursday night and told “we’d be dropping out this year,” head coach Frank Reid told The Sault Star.

It’s better to default early than during the season, which just causes a whole bunch of confusion and problems for the league,” he said. “It’s better to do it now than it is to wait.”

The team’s season was scheduled to start with a home game against North Bay on May 27.

Only about 15 players committed to playing for the semi-professional team this summer. Reid wanted close to 30.

We just didn’t get (the numbers),” said Reid.

A light bench was also a common problem for road games during the 2016 campaign. Reid’s concerned too few players increases the likelihood of injuries, compounding the limited roster.

He and his coaching staff are “not really sure” why enough players couldn’t be recruited given possible talent available from several sources including high school and university teams and Sault Sabercats.

There just doesn’t seem to be any interest out there right now,” said the team’s former defensive co-ordinator who began his current role in 2016. “It’s been very difficult and frustrating. to be honest with you.”

Reid suggests some younger players may be intimidated playing in a league that features some former Canadian Football League talent.

Maybe a lot of people are under the misconception that they can’t play at that level,” he said. “I think they can.”

Reid noted the accomplishments of Sault products Alex Morrison and Jordan Hoover, recently drafted by Montreal Alouettes and Edmonton Eskimos.

He says young Sault players are “very high skilled (and) well coached” at city high schools.

These kids (Morrison, Hoover) are getting the recognition,” said Reid. “I’m not worried about the skills.”

The team has about six months to drum up enough player interest to return to the NFC in 2018. Team meetings begin in November.

If there’s interest then somebody has to start coming forward,” said Reid. “It’s almost an immediate thing. People have to decide whether they want to play football.”

The Steelers can opt to stay on hiatus for more than a year, if they pay the required fee to the league.

Taking this hiatus might be something that we can regroup and see what happens next year,” said Reid. “In saying that, next year starts very soon.”

He is keen to have the Steelers back on the field so there’s another option for football players from the city.

We really want to grow, and continue these opportunities, for kids in Sault Ste. Marie and players in Sault Ste. Marie,” he said. “There is some frustration there, but I mean there’s not a lot you can do. You can’t beg people to come out. We want to see it survive.”

The Steelers won a Canadian championship in 1972. League titles followed in 1975, 1976 and 1980. The team disappeared in 1987 before returning in 1996 as Soo Storm. The Steelers name returned in 2003.

Team members in the league’s hall of fame include Steve Edwards and Robin Wood.

Eight teams will compete in the NFC this summer – Ottawa Invaders, GTA All Stars, Sudbury Spartans, Toronto Raiders, Steel City Patriots, Oakville Longhorns, Tri-City Outlaws and North Bay Bulldogs.

On Twitter: @Saultreporter

Steelers Football Rivals in 2017 include Sudbury and North Bay

By Randy Russon
Original Article:

Summer football season in Sault Ste. Marie may seem like a few months off.

And it is.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a look ahead at it — and take one’s mind off the snow for just a bit.

Not that snow — or winter — can be classified in a negative category.

After all, if you live in Sault Ste. Marie — or Sudbury or North Bay for that matter — you should learn to live with snow and winter.

But ah yes, let’s talk a bit about summer football.

That is, preparations are ongoing for the 2017 Northern Football Conference season for the Sault Steelers.

Steeler management recently attended the NFC’s Annual General Meeting. And the AGM led to a still-tentative, regular-season schedule as well as some notable league news.

As of now, the regular season is slated to open on Saturday, May 27 when the Steelers would play host to the North Bay Bulldogs.

The rest of the Steelers home schedule includes games against the Sarnia Imperials on June 17, the Tri-City Outlaws on July 8 and the Sudbury Spartans on July 15.

North Bay is returning to the NFC after a six-year absence and is one of two teams returning to the league, the Toronto Phantom Raiders being the other.

The NFC plan for the 2017 season includes 10 teams and two divisions.

The West Division will include the Sault, North Bay, Sudbury, Sarnia and Tri City. The East Division is shaping up as the aforementioned Phantom Raiders, Ottawa Invaders, GTA All Stars, Oakville Longhorns and Hamilton Steel City Patriots.

In other news from the AGM, Barry Rushon, a long-time figure in Sault Ste. Marie football circles, will return as league president. And Paul Caldbick — like Rushon, a former Steelers championship coach — will serve as league treasurer while returning as general manager of the Sault squad.

And the Steelers are planning to mark the 10th anniversary of the team’s 2007 national championship this season with a party-style game.