According to Bill Beacon of the Canadian Press on Saturday, former University of Calgary Dinos head coach Blake Nill of Hanna, Alberta won his third Vanier Cup of his coaching career as the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds defeated the University of Montreal Carabins 26-23 from Quebec City, Quebec. Nill previously won the Vanier Cup with the St. Mary’s Huskies in 2001 and 2002.
Nill, who played six seasons with the Montreal Concordes, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League as a defensive lineman from 1983 to 1988, played at the university level with the University of Calgary Dinos from 1980 to 1982. While with the Dinos as a head coach, Nill won six straight Canada West titles, but was unable to win the prestigious Vanier Cup.
In the annual championship game for Canadian university football, Quinn van Gylswyk of Victoria, British Columbia won the Thunderbirds their first Vanier Cup since 1997 on a game winning 20 yard field goal with no time remaining on the clock. For van Gylswyk it was his fourth field goal of the game. He previously made them from 45, 33 and 43 yards.
It was also a strong game for Thunderbirds quarterback Michael O’Connor of Orleans, Ontario and wide receiver Will Watson of Surrey, British Columbia. O’Connor had 389 yards passing and Watson had 171 yards receiving. The fact that O’Connor led the Thunderbirds to the Vanier Cup was impressive because he was only a freshman.
The Thunderbirds also had a player on their roster with a Calgary connection. Defensive lineman Charles Nwoye is from Strathmore, Alberta, one half hour east of Calgary.