The University of Calgary Dinos football squad have never opened a season with a national-MVP on their roster. That all changes when quarterback Erik Glavic steps under centre Friday against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, carrying his 2007 Hec Crighton award with him.
Dinos wide receiver Don Blair won the Crighton, Canadian Interuniversity Sport's MVP award for football, in 1995 and quarterback Greg Vavra won it in 1983. Both years also featured Dinos' Vanier Cup victories, but each were the players' final year with the team.
Glavic won the award after leading the St. Mary's University Huskies to the Vanier Cup final in his first full season as the starting QB. They eventually lost to the University of Manitoba Bisons after Glavic injured his knee in the national semi-final against the Laval Universite Rouge et Or. After reinjuring the knee last year in the first game of the season, Glavic decided to pack up his bags and take a chance with the Dinos.
"It's been a little bit of an adjustment, but I've been here since January," Glavic says. "It hasn't been too tough. I'm just excited to come out here and play more than anything."
His knee feels fine, and though he admits it has been a challenging rehab, he says the toughest part about moving has been the change of scenery.
"Picking up everything and just coming to a new city, you know what I mean?" says Glavic. "I did that when I went to St. Mary's, but this, I think I made the decision within the month. It was a pretty big leap of faith just to come out here."
A leap of faith onto a landing pad of a rapidly advancing program. In three seasons under head coach Blake Nill, the Dinos have gone from mediocrity to Canada West champions. This despite using no less than seven different quarterbacks, including pressing wide receiver Jordan Flagel into the role parts of the last two seasons.
Deke Junior took the reins and led the Dinos to the national semi-final last year, but it's hard to argue with the shiny Crighton in Glavic's pocket.
"There's huge expectations especially after winning the CanWest title . . . and now we're going into the season ranked third overall in the country," says Glavic. "Obviously the ultimate goal is to win the Vanier Cup, but we'll take it one step at a time and try to win every game."
And Glavic's up to the challenge. Even if it means playing a few cold winter games out west.
"I'll just double, triple up my Under Armour and hopefully I'll be alright."