Following a hugely disappointing 2007 season, things turned even more somber following the tragic death of DB David Antonius just before Christmas. Some serious changes were in store for the Wolfpack. A number of veteran players left the team including DB Brock Balog, DB Damony Simmonds, DE’s Aaron Giovanetto and Gene Loria and WR Jeff Maltais. What may have been a rebuilding year for other teams was simply a reloading year for the Wolfpack. Some new faces appeared on the scene that would have a huge impact on the season to come such as RB Jeff Williams, LB Pablo Martinez, SB Evan Kaluta, WR/QB Daniel Craig, LB Jon Scratch & DB's Dwayne Ross & Justyn Wilson.
2008 opened up on the road against the expansion Parkland Panthers who proved to be no pushovers!! The Wolfpack barely hung on for a 25-23 victory. We returned the following week to Edmonton and had a much better game against the Seahawks, blowing them out 61-3!! Next up was our home opener against the Grande Prairie Drillers who traveled with a full squad & ready to play!! The game featured the leagues best 2 QB’s Darryl Leason and Nathan Aldred dueling all afternoon. When the dust settled the Drillers had another victory over the Wolfpack 44-42. The next week saw another tough game as the Red Deer Buccaneers gave the Pack all we could handle until late in the game with Wolfpack coming out on top 20-9 and running our record to 3-1 at the halfway point of the season.
The Pack returned to Red Deer the following week for a matchup against the always strong Edmonton Stallions. Despite 5 Wolfpack turnovers the Stallions just couldn’t keep up on offense and the Wolfpack claimed a 38-21 victory. The Pack returned home the following week to tangle with the much improved Lloydminster Vandals who had picked up a number of quality players from the now-defunct Wainwright Longhorns. It proved to be a tough affair with Pack holding on for a 28-12 victory. The regular season finale had been anticipated all year with the Wolfpack looking for a little payback against the Calgary Gators who had ended our season in 2007!! The game did not disappoint resulting in a tough, hard-hitting tilt that saw the Wolfpack triumph 23-15 and sending the Gators on the road for the playoffs. The Pack finished 6-1 and thanks to the Drillers stumbling down the stretch, secured 1st place.
Our Semi-final opponent turned out to be the tough Edmonton Stallions. The game turned into a classic defensive battle and when the dust had cleared the Wolfpack advanced with a 15-10 win! The AFL Championship game pitted the Wolfpack against the surprising Lloydminster Vandals in Calgary. The game was a slugfest in the first half with both teams seemingly scoring at will. The second half saw the Wolfpack defence step up and frustrate the Vandals while the Pack offence kept on rolling amassing 600+ yards and winning 43-21. The win was our 13th AFL Championship and gave us the chance to play for the National Championship at home in McMahon Stadium!!
After a long season…the Calgary Wolfpack clawed our way back to the top of the senior football mountain on Saturday night! The 10-0 NFC Champion Tri-City Outlaws came to town full of confidence and swagger. However confidence doesn’t win football games….execution does. The Calgary Wolfpack controlled the football the entire night, doubling up the Outlaws in time of possession. When the whistle blew to end the game, the Wolfpack had a convincing 35-7 victory and hoisted the Sid Forster Memorial Trophy for the 4th time as CMFL National Champions!!
The Wolfpack Offence racked up 523 total yards including 222 on the ground!! Leading the Wolfpack ground attack was RB Jeff Williams with 17 carries for 147 yards and 2 TDs. Williams also hauled in 2 passes for another 57 yards and was named the games MVP Offence! RB Rod Bailey chipped in with 37 yards on 8 carries, RB Joel Gueverra had 18 yards on 3 carries, FB Matt Squires had 3 carries for 8 yards….all first down conversions!! While the ground attack caught the Outlaws off guard, the passing game as efficient as usual. QB Darryl Leason was 23 of 37 for 296 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. His favorite target on the night was SB Evan Kaluta who hauled in 8 receptions for 100 yards and 1 TD. SB Terry Eldridge caught 3 passes for 45 yards while SB Mike Leason caught 4 passes for 39 yards.
The Wolfpack Defence had another huge group effort against a powerful Outlaws defense, holding them 7 points and forcing 4 turnovers!! LB Lazar Velev led the charge with 4.5 tackles (3 solo, 3 assists, 1 for loss) and 1 sack. DT Sheldon Southgate had 4.0 tackles (2 solo, 4 assists, 2 for loss) and DE Brian Shewchuk also had 4.0 tackles (1 solo, 6 assists, 1.5 for loss) and 1.5 sacks. DB Ken Watt had a big game as well with 3.5 tackles (3 solo, 1 assist) and 1 INT. DB’s Rob Sakires and Robb Sherman each had an INT as well!! K/P Tom Dixon showed his veteran savy going 3 for 3 on extra points, hitting 2 of 3 FG attempts and having a solid 41.3-yard average on 4 punts, pinning the Outlaws deep in their own end. Tom was named the games MVP Special Teams for his efforts!
The Calgary Wolfpack would like to thank all of our families and friends for their support during another long season. We would also like to acknowledge the great support from our sponsors, without which we couldn’t do what we do!! The Calgary Wolfpack will now take the next couple of months to rest, heal, and celebrate. Rest assured though that come December…we will be back practicing indoors and preparing for 2009. We have climbed back to the top of the mountain and we like the view from up here….we intend to stay!!
2007 began as others had before….the bitter taste of another lost National Championship in front of family and friends….and the renewed hope that a new season brings. Some players left the Wolfpack for greener pastures such as DB Rob Sakires, OL Brendon Hilts, DT Brad Bednarek and veteran LB and team captain Stephen Bender….who all went to the Gators. Others such as DB Kris Arnold, DE Jim Lapointe retired. A new crop of rookies showed up however to help fill the gaps. LB Brian Shewchuk, DB Damony Simmonds as well as DB’s Matt Donnelly, Allen Fieldberg and Jack Braybrook bolstered our defence while OL Tom Elder and RB Miguel Ceja joined our offence.
The Wolfpack opened the season in dominating fashion, defeating the Calgary Thunder, Lloydminster Vandals & Red Deer Buccaneers by a combined score of 171-7. During that stretch QB, Darryl Leason threw 19 TD’s while the defense recorded 7 sacks and 7 interceptions!! The year was off to a great start!
The wheels fell off the bus over the next 2 weeks. First the Wolfpack lost a heartbreaker to the Drillers 26-20 in Grande Prairie. Despite putting up another 500+ yards in offence…the scrappy Drillers would not let the Wolfpack score in the “Red” zone!! The following week saw the Wolfpack tangle with the new look….and undefeated Calgary Gators. The game was a classic with both teams trading blows!! A very tough Gators defence intercepted Darryl Leason 5 times….but despite this the Wolfpack scored a potential game-tying TD with 24 seconds left in the game!! In a controversial decision….the Wolfpack elected to try a 2-point conversion to win the game in regulation time…only to come up short and lose 31-30!! After such a promising start the Wolfpack dropped to 3-2!
A 71-0 nothing blowout over the Edmonton Seahawks and two solid wins over the Longhorns and Stallions ran the Wolfpack record to 6-2 and set up a Semi-final matchup against the Calgary Gators!! The rematch was another classic….dominated by both defenses!! Trailing late in the game….but driving for a game-winning field goal…the Wolfpack’s season came to an abrupt halt with a heartbreaking INT inside the Gators 30 yard line….resulting in 12-11 Gators victory. For the first time since 2001…the Wolfpack would not play for an AFL Championship!! A long off season lay ahead trying to figure out what went wrong!!
Coming off a turbulent & glorious 2005 campaign, the National Champion Calgary Wolfpack came into 2006 with a lot of built up attitude. We were still angry at the rest of the AFL for trying to derail our season and the attitude at spring camp was that it was time for a little payback!! It was time to send a message!! Before the season we said goodbye to LB’s Wade Layton & Graham Kersch, DE’s Scott Mitchell & Jordan Murray & DB Bill Eldridge. An impressive crop of new faces arrived to help lift our team to new heights!! Longtime LB Jason Grech returned to the fold and lightning fast WR Gordon Davidson joined the receiving corps. DB Brock Balog, SB Tim Brown & OT Mitch Hoschka, all University of Calgary grad’s made their impact known immediately. Helping out the defence were St. FX grad Kris Arnold & University of Manitoba star DE Jim Lapointe!! The addition of former CFL scoring leader K Tom Dixon solidified our kicking game! We were reloaded and ready to fire!!
The Wolfpack opened with 2 tough games. QB Darryl Leason threw 5 TD’s to lead the way in a 37-7 win over the Calgary Gators. LB Jeff Moodie had a big game in helping to shut down a powerful Stallions offense. Leason had 3 more TDs in a 44-21 victory. The air assault continued during a 52-7 rout of the Calgary Thunder. Leason threw 4 more TD’s & LB Lazar Velev had 3 QB sacks! The offense was the order of the day in a 52-34 shootout win over the Grande Prairie Drillers!! Leason threw an incredible 7 TD passes leading the Pack to a 4-0 start!! Next up was a showdown with the 4-0 Wainwright Longhorns!!
The Wolfpack piled up another 600 yards in offence. RB Rod Bailey finished with 200+ yards from scrimmage & 2 TD’s and LB Lazar Velev had 8 tackles in another shootout win, 51-40. A trip to Medicine Hat was rewarded with a 39-7 win and a 6-0 record. The offence continued to roll in a 55-20 win over the Red Deer Buccaneers with FB Sean Ingram hauling in 2 TD passes. The Wolfpack next travelled to Lloydminster to take on the # 1 ranked Vandals defence!! Again, Darryl Leason was up to the challenge throwing 4 TD passes and LB’s Lazar Velev & Jeff Moodie swarmed all over the Vandals offence leading the Wolfpack to 29-10 win. Going into the final regular season game against the Edmonton Seahawks, the Wolfpack rested 12 starters….but didn’t slow down a bit. SB Tim Brown hauled in 6 passes for 127yds & 2 TD’s while RB Rod Bailey took a break from carrying the rock & played a little defence instead…finishing with 3 INT’s!! The Wolfpack had finished the season 9-0 and were ready for the playoffs!!
The Wolfpack was pumped when the Grande Prairie Drillers came to Calgary for the AFL Semi Final. The Drillers never stood a chance!! SB Mike Leason caught 3 TD passes and the defense had 2 INT return TD’s as the Wolfpack crushed the Drillers 61-6 on home turf!!
The Wolfpack took on the Calgary Gators in the AFL Championship game. SB Mike Leason caught another 2 TD’s and WR Hugues Audet added another. LB Jeff Moodie & DE Gene Loria led a smothering defense that shut down the Gators. Final score….31-7 Wolfpack and our 12th AFL Championship!! The stage was set for the National Championship. We were 11-0 and would be facing the NFC Champion Oshawa Hawkeyes in Red Deer!!
It was a fantastic setting when the Hawkeyes & Wolfpack met at Great Chief Park. A sellout crown watched 2 heavyweights trading blows in the center of the ring!! The Wolfpack clung to a 1 point lead at halftime….but in the end couldn’t overcome our mistakes!! Despite putting up over 500+ yards on offence, we couldn’t finish some of our long drives with scores and 4 turnovers really hurt our effort. Our defence gave it all they had but got worn down in the 2nd half by an impressive Hawkeyes running game!! The final score was 43-29 for the Oshawa Hawkeyes. It was a bitter disappointment at the end of a long season. Despite the loss…we have to look at an 11-0 AFL season as an outstanding accomplishment. We will take the sting of the National Championship and use it as a springboard into the 2007 season!!
As the 2005 season approached, the bitter sting of our loss to the Milton Marauders in the National Championship game was still fresh in our minds. While most of our veteran core was returning, some key off-season losses were quite evident. All-Star Center Al Mackay, Kicker Stephen Mclean, LB's Kiyo Pearson & Jason Grech and LB/FB Jason Novakowski all announced their retirements. All-Star guard Shane Cogbill decided to play for Red Deer where he was now living & AFL Defensive MVP Gomeya Cooper moved over to the Calgary Thunder. The Calgary Wolfpack however does not rebuild... we reload!! Some new young faces arrived on the scene to fill the void! LB Jeff Moodie, the return of LB Graham Kersch from the Calgary Colts as well as DE's Jordan Murray & Gene Loria helped bolster the defence. 2nd year player Mike Mosca stepped into the vital role at Center and was joined by Doug Robertshaw & Mark Ingram as new faces on the O-Line. Headed into the season, a quiet confidence & determination was emerging. Little did we know what the season had in store!
Our first game was business as usual for the Pack, a 53-21 thrashing of the Bucs in Red Deer. The young players stepped up & new leaders emerged. Jeff Moodie showed why he had won 2 Vanier Cups! A little reality hit home the following week in Lloydminster. QB Darryl Leason had perhaps his worst game ever throwing 6 INT's, allowing the Vandals to hang around right to the end. RB Rod Bailey made a statement this game, however, grinding out over 200 yards on the ground as we hung on to win 32-22. Game three was a match up against perennial rival the Calgary Thunder & our old friend Gomeya Cooper. Despite a driving rainstorm, it was no contest. Leason had no problem finding targets all night, throwing for over 500 yards!! 53-13 Wolfpack!
Week number four was the turning point in the season for the Wolfpack. It proved to be both a high point & low point. On the high side, the Wolfpack offence soared again at will in another rainstorm. SB Mike Leason had his best game ever on route to a 43-11 drubbing of the Gators. The low point came near the end of the game when Gators DE Teigan Milne hit QB Darryl Leason, having just pitched the ball to Rod Bailey, in the back. Having been the subject of a number of late hits through the game by Milne, and again not seeing any flags, Leason made the ill fated decision to take justice into his own hands. He ran after Milne & hit him in the back with his shoulder, and as a result was ejected from the game! The following week was turbulent as the Gators filed a protest & the AFL Council reached the ridiculous decision to suspend Leason for the remainder of the season!! As the Wolfpack howled with rage a remarkable thing happened! Rather than derail our season, as the AFL intended, this event only brought our team closer together!! It crystallized our focus and we now knew it was the Wolfpack against the World!! In the act of taking our best player the rest of the league made us a much more dangerous team!
Week five was a rematch with the Edmonton Stallions. QB Robb Sherman played well in his first start in over 6 years but the Wolfpack couldn't overcome the loss of some key players who were at a wedding and we lost 28-14. Also following some vigorous lobbying by the Wolfpack & some questions regarding procedures, the AFL Council reduced Darryl Leasons suspension from the season to 4 games. The next week was a match-up with the woeful Calgary Razorbacks. QB Robb Sherman & RB Rod Bailey had huge games and the Pack cruised to a 52-0 victory. Immediately following the game, the Razorbacks ceased operation for the year. One player came over to the Wolfpack, LB Lazar Velev and his impact were immediate!!
Week seven saw the Wolfpack make the long trip to Grande Prairie. Despite moving the ball well, we just couldn't finish drives & lost a defensive battle 15-8, dropping our record to 5-2. Week eight saw a nice rebound against a game Medicine Hat team who hung tough during the first half. QB Sherman & RB Bailey were able to crank things up in the 2nd half and led us to a comfortable 48-8 victory. Our final regular season game in Wainwright saw the return of our leader, QB Darryl Leason. Showing no signs of rust, Leason led the Pack to a 63-13 victory over the expansion Longhorns. We finished the season 7-2, good enough for 3rd place and a berth in the AFL Quarterfinals!
First up in the playoffs, the Calgary Gators. Once again, the first half was close with the score 22-20 early in the 3rd quarter. The second half belonged to the Pack however as we pulled away to a 58-20 victory. Time to head back up to Grande Prairie to play the 2nd place Drillers! Despite the long trip, the Wolfpack dominated from the start! Several key Driller turnovers led to easy Wolfpack points & kept the large home crowd quiets all game. When the dust settled the scoreboard read 54-6 Wolfpack!! Time to deal with Edmonton Stallions!!
In a rematch of the previous years AFL Championship, the Wolfpack this time had to face the 9-0 Stallions at Foote Field in Edmonton. This being our 9th road trip of the year however, the home crowd didn't bother us at all! It was everything you expect in a championship game, intensity, big plays & big hits! The game went back & forth through the first 3 quarters with neither team able to dominate the other. As had been the case through most of the season however, the Wolfpack took over in the 4th quarter and put the game away. 42-28 Wolfpack, our 4th consecutive AFL Championship and another shot at the National title!
In a way, it was fitting that the National Championship game was being held in Hamilton Ontario. Our 10th road trip of the year was by far the longest and by far the most important. We would be facing the unknown in Hamilton,an unknown team, the Tri-City Outlaws, surprise champions of the NFC! We would also be facing a rule change, playing four down football in the NFC's backyard! On September 24, we collided in the biggest game in Canadian Senior Football!! The Outlaws dominated in the running game. They moved up & down the field with a determined, grinding rushing attack. The Wolfpack defence was able to stop the Outlaws in critical situations thankfully, limiting the damage inflicted! The Wolfpack offence, while not able to hit the big play, was able to get the short passing game going & make some long drives of our own. The game went back & forth and was still in doubt right up to the last play but when the gun went off, the Wolfpack had hung on for a tough 20-14 win!! We had climbed the mountain for our 3rd National Championship!! The Wolfpack had faced adversity at every turn through the season. With every excuse to find a way to lose, instead we used that adversity as a rallying cry. We came together a team & tackled all our challenges TOGETHER!! We are stronger TEAM for it!! With virtually our entire team returning in 2006 & with recruiting at an all time high, the Wolfpack are eager to show our strength again in 2006! Look out AFL... here we come!! WP4Life!!
The Wolfpack came into the 2004 season as undefeated National Champions! Expectations were high as the 2004 National Championship game would be held in Edmonton. We knew that all eyes were on us & we had a target on our backs! 2004 would also see the start of a "changing of the guard", with some veterans retiring & the addition of some new faces.
The year started with the Edmonton Stallions, pre season pick to be our prime competition!! Surprisingly, the first game was not much of a contest as the Stallions were blown away 62-19! Following back to back routs of the Razorbacks & the expansion Medicine Hat Marauders, the Wolfpack headed to Grande Prairie. The expansion Drillers gave the Pack all it could handle but we hung on for a 56-41 win. Easy wins over the Buccs & Lloydminster Vandals ran our record to 6-0. The next game saw a classic battle with our perennial rival Calgary Thunder. The game went back & forth and both teams battled hard right to the end. The Wolfpack hung on for a 38-31 victory. We ended the season with a win against the Gators & a forfeit win over the defunct Edmonton Icemen. Another perfect regular season, 9-0!
Confidence was high heading into the AFL playoffs. Our first match-up was a Semifinal tilt with the Gators. The game was never in doubt, with the Wolfpack coming away with a 63-34 win! Our opponent for the 2004 AFL Championship would be the Edmonton Stallions, who's only loss of the year came in the season opener to us. The game opened much the same as our regular season game, with the Wolfpack jumping out to a 27-0 lead!! It looked like we were headed to another rout but the Stallions had other ideas. The Stallions made a furious comeback & the 4th quarter turned into a classic nail biter!! The Wolfpack scored the winning touchdown with less than 2 minutes left to play & managed to hang on for a 51-46 win!! Another perfect season at 11-0 and our 3rd consecutive AFL Championship, 10th for the franchise.
The 2004 CMFL National Championship was held 2 weeks later at Foote Field in Edmonton. Our opponents would be the Milton Marauders, Champions of the NFC! The Marauders had knocked off our familiar foes, the Oakville Longhorns so we knew they would be a tough challenge. The game was intense!! Big plays by both sides led to close first half with the Wolfpack clinging to a 7 point lead at the half!! The 2nd half unfolded much the same way, but the Marauders were able to capitilize on some long drives & ferocious defence. With less then 3 minutes to play, the Marauders were ahead by 6 points but had been stopped by a tenacious Wolfpack defence & were forced to punt. The Wolfpack went for the block, but instead of the ball, came away with a Roughing The Kicker penalty!! A heartbreaker!! That took the fight right out of the defence & moments later the Marauders capitilized with a long touchdown run. The dream of consecutive National Championships was over, 41-27 to the Marauders.
With the sting of that loss on our minds, the Wolfpack will reload for the 2005 season. "Finish" will be our war cry for 05!!
2003 began with the sting of our loss to the Longhorns still fresh in our minds. “Unfinished Business” was the cry on all our lips. Right from the start of training camp our first priority was to shore up a defence that got scorched for 54 points! Some key additions came on board in May with the return of Safety Sean Stewart, & the addition of LB’s Gomeya Cooper & Kiyo Pearson. As the season began, our team was fired up right from the outset. We began the year with a 42-13 victory over a tough Coyotes squad and followed that up with a tight 24-10 victory against Stallions in a driving rain storm. Next up was a surprisingly easy 43-0 win over the Gators. Our next game was our only regular season match-up with our biggest rival, the Calgary Thunder. Always a measuring stick for us, we came out on top 37-15! Sitting 4-0 & having soundly beaten the Thunder, served as a launching pad for the 2nd half of the season. Next would come a 69-0 rout of the Edmonton Icemen & a 53-13 victory over the Buccaneers…6-0! Our next game was the toughest test of the season. A see saw match with the Calgary Coyotes. When the dust settled we had hung on for a 21-14 victory! Our final game of the regular season was against a desperate Calgary Gators, who needed a win to make the playoffs! Much like our first game however, we didn’t have many problems coming up with a 44-15 victory! We had finished the season 8-0! Our 3rd undefeated regular season in team history but the first with an 8 game schedule! It was time to head into the playoffs!
Our semi-final opponent was a familiar one, the Calgary Coyotes. They had played us tight during the regular season & field probably the best 2 defensive backs in the AFL! We were ready to turn up our intensity however & our defence smothered the Coyotes all night long. The Coyotes defence played as well as they could but there would be no containing the leagues best passing attack! Victory was ours 31-8! We would meet our old enemy Thunder for the AFL Championship! As usual, neither team messed around & we both came after each other hard! The Wolfpack played inspired ball in the first half & was rewarded with a 28-3 halftime lead! 30 minutes away from our goal, we did the unthinkable…we let our guard down! The Thunder took advantage & stormed back to tie the game 28-28 at the end of the 3rd quarter! To come this far in the season, only to be denied was simply unacceptable!! The 4th quarter would be ours. Digging down deep, we turned up our intensity level again & brought home our 9th AFL Championship, 56-35!! 10-0 & looking for the Longhorns!!
OSHAWA - September 20
The Calgary Wolfpack ended the Oakville Longhorns reign as Canadian Senior Football champions with a 39-28 victory in Oshawa, Ontario on Saturday night.
Riding the arm of Darryl Leason, who completed 35 of 57 passes, the Calgary unit also ended Oakville's 40 games winning streak as well.
Leason and the Calgary offense kept the ball for most of the first half as Darryl completed an amazing 25 of 40 passes that staked the Alberta squad to a 25-17 halftime lead.
Darryl's brother Mike scored 2 touchdowns and caught 11 of those 35 passes. Other Calgary majors were scored by Jason Novakowski, Terry Eldridge and Hugues Audet. Stephen MacLean booted field goals of 16 and 31 yards and added 3 converts.
For the Longhorns, who had downed the Wolfpack 41-0 in 2001 and 54-46 in 2002, N.F.C. Rookie of the Year Theon James led the way with 2 touchdowns while Joe Pereira recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a score. Dana Segin booted field goals of 23 and 43 yards and added 2 converts and Ray Skeete added a 2 point conversion.
The ' Pack ended up with 413 yards of net offense compared with 299 for the 'Horns. Leason was named the offensive player of the contest. Oakville's Wayne Sliwinski, with 9 tackles, 3 tackles for losses was cited as the defensive player of the game and Calgary's Stephen MacLean, who went 2 for 3 on field goals and added 3 converts earned special teams player honors.
Our business was now finished!! 11-0…the perfect season….and National Champions!!!
The only thing sweeter than capturing the National Title…is keeping the National Title!! It is ours & someone will have to take it from us!!
2002 started with another trip to take on the Great Falls Gladiators in Montana. Dubbed the "Great Western Shootout" it was a sign of things to come during the upcoming season. When the dust had settled, the Gladiators had won 44-40, but the Wolfpack had learned that our offence was going to be force to be reckoned with! The first 2 games of the 2002 AFL season were a struggle. The opener against the Coyotes was a hard fought battle with the Pack squeezing by with a 26-24 victory. The following week saw us head to Edmonton to tangle with the expansion Stallions. Missing a number of key players, including QB Darryl Leason, the game turned into a defensive battle which saw the aggressive Stallions win 10-6! This game proved to be a wake up call for the Pack! Our next 3 games saw the Offence finally get back into the gear we had seen in Montana. We rambled 3 straight victories by scores of 41-7, 63-24, & 70-0! Sitting 4-1 in the standings, we headed off to Regina for a game against the University of Regina Rams! The games started out well with the Wolfpack taking a 7-0 lead. Unfortunately the heat, and our depleted roster took it's toll and we finished with humbling 58-7 loss! Despite the result, it was a great time & we were determined to learn from it! Our return to AFL play saw us carry on right where we had left off, finishing the season with 3 more victories, 47-26, 46-8, 49-15. Our 7-1 record saw us finish in 1st place & set up a first round playoff matchup with our biggest rival, the Calgary Thunder. In typical Thunder/Wolfpack fashion, the game was a titanic struggle! The Thunder defence came to play & made life difficult for our high powered offence all night! In the end, the Pack needed a last minute FG from Stephen Mclean to claim a 17-14 victory & move on the AFL Championship. With the Calgary Gators as the final obstacle to our long desired rematch with the Oakville Longhorns, our offence once again turned it up a notch! A wild AFL Championship game resulted in a 56-27 Wolfpack win. Our 8th AFL Championship! On a cool October night, we took the field for the National Championship against the Oakville Longhorns. Offence was once again the theme for the evening. Both teams combined for over 1400 yards in total offence. QB Darryl Leason was brilliant, leading the Pack down field time after time. The Longhorns had an answer however in RB Dave Dinnall who finished the game with 381 yards rushing! In the end, the Longhorns captured their 3rd straight National Championship with a 54-46 victory! Despite the crushing dissapointment of the loss, the Wolfpack can look back on the season & be proud of our accomplishments! Setting team records for wins & points scored as well as numerous individual records, will serve as a launching pad for the 2003 season! "Unfinished Business" is what we have for 2003. Longhorns.....we will be back!
While still feeling the sting of a loss in the CSFL Semi-Final, the Wolfpack still entered the 2001 AFL season as Back-to-Back AFL Champions. Hopes were high as the season began. The season began on a positive note as the Wolfpack defeated the Helena Knights in Montana, our 2nd straight trip down South. That victory, as well as the return of Quarterback Darryl Leason, led to great expectations for the coming season. Those expectations were short lived however, as a determined & hungry Calgary Thunder team defeated the Wolfpack in the season opener. The Wolfpack was to re-group quickly however & win 4 in a row before losing to the Thunder in the 2nd meeting of the season. The Wolfpack finished strong with 2 wins to bring our record to 6-2 for the year. These victories were costly however as injuries took their toll! QB Joe Degroot was lost for the year with a broken leg, RB Junior Carter was felled with a seperated shoulder, both in our final game with the Edmonton Icemen. The following week saw LB's Mitch Danilkewich & Steve Britto lost with bad knee injuries. Going into the playoffs, the Wolfpack was a hurting team. The Calgary Gators took advantage of this & defeated the Wolfpack in the AFL Semi-Final. Thus came the end of our season...or so we thought! The Calgary Thunder defeated the the Calgary Gators in the AFL Championship to cap an undefeated season. The Thunder however, due to logistical problems, were unable to travel to Burlington, Ont. for the CSFL National Championship. With less than a week to go before the National Title game, the Wolfpack was asked to field a team by CSFL President Barry Wall! 24 members of the Wolfpack journeyed to Burlington to take on the highly touted Oakville Longhorns. The game was played in horrible conditions on October 14th & the Longhorns came away with the victory to claim their 2nd straight CSFL National Championship. The way the 2001 season ended for the Wolfpack has led to renewed determination on the team to return to past glories. Our goal for 2002 is to dominate the AFL & return to the CSFL Championship game, this time as legitimate AFL Champions!
The 2000 season saw another change for the CSFL. The Northern Football Conference, a senior league based in Ontario agreed to join the CSFL as its Eastern Division. The 2000 playoff format was to see the MFL Champion travel to Alberta to play the AFL Champ to determine who would face the NFC Champ in the Shrine Bowl. Another exciting challenge faced the National Champions when an off season invitation was made to travel to Great Falls Montana for an exhibition game against the Great Falls Rangers of the RMFL! In addition, at its AGM, the AFL decided to expand the regular season to 9 games, the most in league history.
The season started well for the Wolfpack with a 56 - 13 win at home against the Edmonton Icemen. On the July long weekend, the Wolfpack made the long anticipated trek to Great Falls. In front of a large crowd at Memorial Stadium, the 2 teams battled right down to the wire! With 2 minutes left in the game, Wolfpack Halfback Tomas Czarnomski blocked a Rangers FG attempt that would have iced the game, and gave the Wolfpack the ball on our own 26 yard line trailing 34-27! With pinpoint passing, QB Darryl Leason led the team down to the Rangers 23 yard line with 15 seconds on the clock. The exciting finish was not to be however as Darryl's final pass was intercepted and returned for a TD! Final score Rangers 40 Wolfpack 27. The Wolfpack headed back to Calgary disappointed but firmly focused on the remainder of the AFL season!
After the Great Falls game, the Wolfpack rolled off 5 consecutive victories, including 2 against the Calgary Thunder. The Thunder were a new team consisting of Red Deer Sooners and ex Wolfpack players. The presence of these players made each game especially tense! The first two games were won by the Wolfpack 38-17, and 42-35. The third game saw the Thunder come out on top 43 - 11. This turned out to be the only loss the Wolfpack would suffer in the AFL during 2000! The Wolfpack rounded out the season with victories against the Gators and Icemen and their 8-1 record earned a bye into the Championship! The Calgary Thunder (7-2) destroyed the Gators in the AFL Semi-Final to set up the much anticipated AFL Championship game! Played under the lights at McMahon Stadium, the game was a classic. The hard-fought battle saw the Wolfpack come out with a 30 - 14 victory. This was the Wolfpacks 7th AFL Championship, the most in league history!
On October 1st, the Wolfpack met the Winnipeg Mustangs at McMahon Stadium to determine who would face the Oakville Longhorns in the 2000 Shrine Bowl. Unfortunately, a second straight trip to the Shrine Bowl was not to be. The Wolfpack came up short to the Mustangs 34 - 24. Despite the loss, the Wolfpack enjoyed our finest season ever setting club records for wins and points in a season!
1999 saw an exciting change for the AFL. A new senior league, based in Winnipeg, enquired if the AFL would be interested in forming the Western Division of the new Canadian Senior Football League. The AFL Champion would travel to Winnipeg to meet the winner of the MFL in the Shrine Bowl National Championship game! The AFL readily agreed to this and the hunt was on for a berth in the Shrine Bowl! The Gators were heavily favored to repeat as champs, but the Wolfpack was equally determined to reclaim their AFL title! As expected, the Gators went undefeated again and gained a berth in the AFL final. The Wolfpack struggled through a 3-3 season, but behind the quarterbacking of former U of C Dino Darryl Leason, destroyed the Sooners in the Semi-Final to gain a berth against the Gators. The replay of the 1998 final was a hard fought game. The Wolfpack defense stepped up to the challenge and the Pack earned a 17-2 victory. The team was headed to Winnipeg!
Earlier in the summer, anticipating this possible trip, the Wolfpack had stepped up its fund raising efforts by holding a silent auction! This auction was an incredible success and allowed the Wolfpack to make the expensive journey to Winnipeg. On a chilly October 8th, the Wolfpack took the field against the Thunder Bay Storm. The Wolfpack charged out early to a huge half-time lead. The second half saw the Wolfpack get a little complacent and almost give the game away! Despite a furious 4th quarter Storm comeback, the Wolfpack hung on to claim a 36 - 27 victory. The 1999 National Championship was ours! Needless to say, the post-game party and return trip to Calgary will be remembered for years to come!
The Calgary Wolfpack Football Club was formed in the Spring of 1989. The driving force behind the team was a gentleman named Mick Finn. Mickey, as he was often referred to, practically financed that first season out of his own pocket. It was a successful venture, however, as the Wolfpack captured their first AFL Championship that fall, when they defeated the Red Deer Sooners 33-31, in overtime, at the Currie Barracks Military Base in Calgary!
The following season saw the Wolfpack dominate the AFL going 6-0 during the regular season and defeating the Calgary Crude to win their 2nd straight title! 1991 saw the Pack fall back to earth as they struggled through a mediocre season and lost in the AFL Semi-Finals. Mick Finn left the team as well, taking with him many veteran players, and re-formed the Calgary Cowboys. By the beginning of 1992, the future of the Wolfpack was very much in doubt!
In the Spring of 1992, a new figure stepped up to lead the Wolfpack! When asked by several teammates to step in and take over the team, Jim Lightfoot answered the call!. Jim was an Offensive Lineman who had joined the team in their 1st season in 1989. Under Jim, the Wolfpack headed in a new direction, seeking younger players with Junior or University experience, rather than older players that had been the norm. Having played in the "Wars" of the early days of the AFL, Jim understood that the leagues image was that of a "hack" league, populated with old men, who swilled beer and wanted only to hurt people! Jim desperately wanted to improve the image of the AFL and the Wolfpack and display it as it was intended, an opportunity for adults to continue a competitive football career beyond Junior or University. Jim was certain that the competitive fire did not stop burning at 25!
That season the Wolfpack responded to Jim's message and the "Young Guns" of the AFL returned to the Championship game. On a hot, muggy, September afternoon, the injury-ravaged Wolfpack limped into Great Chief Park in Red Deer. Despite only being able to field 18 players against the 45 of Red Deer, the Wolfpack, with a strong belief in each other, weathered the storm to come away with a shocking victory! To the players who were there that day, it is still regarded as the greatest game in Wolfpack history!
1993 and 1994 saw the Wolfpack play consistent football, but both seasons saw the Wolfpack fall to the Red Deer Sooners. In 1995 the Wolfpack reversed the tables by defeating the Sooners for the AFL title. 1996 saw the rivalry continue as the Wolfpack and Sooners met again. A hard fought game under the light of McMahon Stadium saw the Wolfpack capture back to back titles for the 2nd time in club history!
1997 was a difficult year for the Pack. Injuries plagued the team all season and hit the team hard again during the AFL Semi-Final. Despite a valiant effort, the Wolfpack fell to the Edmonton Icemen and saw their hopes of a three-peat vanish! 1998 was the year of the Gator! A young team formed the year before from the now defunct (again!) Calgary Cowboys, the Gators dominated 1998! They went undefeated in the regular season and capped off their season with a convincing win over the Wolfpack in the Championship!