It was a long wait, but two Salmon Arm football players participated in an exciting game, while rubbing shoulders with an inspiring role model.
Sam Riopel and Owen Stockbruegger, both in Grade 11, tried out and were selected in 2020 to play in the BCCFA (BC Community Football Association) Chasing Hope Showcase game.
Then the game was delayed due to the pandemic. But, on the May 28 weekend, the showcase returned in Chilliwack.
Both boys excelled. Sam got a touchdown off an interception that was filmed by Chase Claypool of the Pittsburgh Steelers, while Owen won the Light Worker award, which goes to the hardest worker in the game.
“They have some scout eyes on them now, which is pretty cool for a small town,” said Amy Mathys, Owen’s mom.
She said she’s definitely a proud parent and did lots of cheering.
“You can hear me in all the videos,” she laughed.
Both Sam and Owen play for the Salmon Arm Secondary Golds.
Rob Ellis of the Shuswap Minor Football Association was the offensive coordinator for the showcase team.
Claypool started in the BCCFA program and wound up being drafted by the Steelers in 2020.
The BCCFA website explains that Chase played seven years with the association.
“During this time, his older sister took her life. Chase’s football family rallied around him and supported him as he dealt with her passing. Chase continued to play football and was a phenomenal grassroots player with drive and vision to accomplish so much more,” reads the website.
Chase and his mother have been working to provide a focus on mental health and suicide awareness both in football and everyday life. The showcase game is intended to bring awareness to Chase and his journey, as well as to the goals around suicide awareness.
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Photos by Scott Woodland
Owen is 28. Sam is 24.