The University of Calgary Dinos football squad had a phenomenal year, with a near perfect season and their fourth-straight Hardy Cup. They faced off in the Mitchell Bowl against the Laval Rouge et Or, who ended the Dinos's season in a heartbreaking loss on Friday.
Despite the loss against Laval, the team had a powerful season, especially for one member of the Dinos's defensive core, linebacker Sam Hurl. Hurl is the Canada West nominee for the Presidents' Trophy, Canadian Interuniversity Sport's defensive player of the year. It's the second consecutive year that Hurl has won the Canada West nomination. He was also named to the Canada West all-star team for the second time.
"It's exciting for me and I'm really pumped about it as it's a real big award and it means a lot to me," said Hurl, a third-year business student. When Hurl was slotted into the lineup last season, he was shuffled around the defensive core through four positions and finally found a home as a middle linebacker.
"Last year I moved around a bunch and tried a lot of different positions. This year I just played one position, which helps me focus on one duty on the field," said Hurl. He describe himself as a hardworking, playmaking, "all-around-the-field" type of player.
Dinos head coach Blake Nill had nothing but praise for his popular linebacker: "Sam [Hurl] came to us as a 17-year-old and just progressed over the years -- he is going to be a CFLer."
Nill said Hurl has made an impact both on and off the field, whether making a big play or exceeding academically. "He is a guy that everyone looks up to. He is a leader out there and he is a very critical part of the defensive unit and succeeds in the classroom."
Hurl, who was born and raised in Calgary, gives credit to his teammates and coaches for his success. "The staff is unbelievable here and I credit the award to everyone on the defensive side of the ball," said Hurl.
Before Hurl, the last Dino to capture the prestigious Canada West outstanding defensive player award was Andrea Bonaventura in 2008. The only Dino to ever win the Presidents' Trophy was defensive back Darcy Kopp in 1985 and Hurl hopes this year it's his.
The trophy will be awarded on Nov. 24 in Vancouver.