A V.I. Raiders grad carried on a tradition by winning a national football award.
Nanaimo’s Dylan Chapdelaine received the Wally Buono Award on Saturday at a ceremony at the Nanaimo Sports Hall of Fame.
Chapdelaine, a linebacker, is the fourth Raiders grad to win the award, which goes to an outstanding Canadian Junior Football League player who demonstrates leadership on and off the field.
Chapdelaine said it made his day when he was notified that he was this year’s winner.
“I was really honoured and it was a great phone call to receive,” he said.
Buono was on hand Saturday to personally present the bronze statuette. The B.C. Lions general manager said every year, he’s reminded why the award program is worthwhile. Buono said Chapdelaine was the clear choice as a man who understands the responsibility of leadership.
“Everybody has a different leadership style. The thing that you can’t do is you can’t be afraid to lead, and for Dylan to step up and do it by example, that to me has more value at times than a person who’s rah-rah,” Buono said. “Because at the end of the day, people want to see what you do, they don’t want to hear what you did.”
The award is funded by the Saint Bernard Pass Charitable Foundation and has been presented annually since 2003. Previous winners from the Raiders include Jordan Yantz, Michael Schaper and Andrew Harris.
Chapdelaine credited the Raiders program for creating an atmosphere where guys succeed.
“They put together a bunch of misfits and a bunch of studs and they succeed and players emerge, and good people,” he said.
Now that his junior career is over, Chapdelaine is moving on to the next level with the UBC Thunderbirds program.
“I’m just going to go in there and play the role that I’m given,” he said. “Wherever they put me, I’m going to try and succeed and do 100 per cent.”
He’s already been through spring camp with the T-birds and said CIS players are fast and smart.
“I did well, but I know I’m going to have to alter my game a little bit and step it up,” said Chapdelaine. “I’m ready for that and prepared and I want to bring my game to the next level so I’m excited for the challenge.”