CORNISH BECOMES FIRST CANADIAN SINCE 1978 TO WIN GIBSON’S FINEST CFL MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER AWARD
Record Number of Five Awards Handed Out to Canadians
REGINA – Earlier tonight Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish became just the third Canadian, and first since 1978, to be named the Gibson’s Finest CFL Most Outstanding Player. Cornish was honoured during the Gibson’s Finest CFL Player Awards held at the Conexus Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan as part of the festivities for the 101st Grey Cup.
In total, five awards were handed out to Canadian players – the most ever in the league’s history.
“The CFL prides itself on having an amazing product and an exciting game of football, and at the centre of it all, are our remarkable players,” said CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon. “Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners who are all very deserving.”
Other winners included Montreal Alouettes linebacker Chip Cox (Most Outstanding Defensive Player), Cornish (Most Outstanding Canadian), Saskatchewan Roughriders offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte (Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman), Stampeder kicker Rene Paredes (Most Outstanding Special Teams Player), Stampeder offensive lineman Brett Jones (Most Outstanding Rookie) and Alouettes linebacker Kyries Hebert (Tom Pate Memorial Award).
Also handed out at the Gibson’s Finest CFL Player awards was the Commissioner’s Award, an award honouring an individual or group who has made significant contributions to the league over the years. The 2013 Commissioner’s Award was presented to Dwayne Mandrusiak, the long-time equipment manager for the Edmonton Eskimos. Mandrusiak has worked with the Eskimos for 43 years and has been a part of 10 Grey Cup championship teams.
The Most Outstanding Player Awards winners were selected by a panel of voters that includes representation from the Football Reporters of Canada from all CFL markets, plus a national chapter of FRC voters and the CFL head coaches. In total, 50 voters completed their ballots. No player selections were unanimous.
Here is more on this year’s Gibson’s Finest CFL Player Award winners:
JON CORNISH – CALGARY STAMPEDERS – RB – GIBSON’S FINEST CFL MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER & MOST OUTSTANDING CANADIAN
In 2013, Cornish led the league in touchdowns (14), rushing yards (1,813) and yards from scrimmage (2,157), and along the way set the record for most rushing yards in a season by a Canadian and most yards from scrimmage in a season by a Canadian. The seven-year veteran had a total of 258 carries, and added 42 receptions for 344 yards.
The other two Canadians to be named the league’s MOP were Tony Gabriel (1978) and Russ Jackson (1963, ’66,’69). In 2012, Cornish was named the league’s top Canadian.
Cornish, a native of New Westminster, B.C., received 46 first place votes for Most Outstanding Player, and 48 first place votes for Most Outstanding Canadian.
CHIP COX – MONTREAL ALOUETTES – LB – MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER
In 2013, Cox was the leader on an Alouettes defence that was tops in the league in several defensive categories. He finished the season with 115 tackles, the most in the CFL, 12 quarterbacks sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, nine special teams tackles, four interceptions and two pass knockdowns.
The eight-year CFL veteran received 42 first place votes. This is Cox’s first Most Outstanding Defensive Player award.
BRENDON LABATTE – SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS – OL – MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
LaBatte anchored an offensive line for the Roughriders that had the league’s second leading rusher (Korey Sheets), the second most rushing yards by a team and gave up the third fewest number of quarterback sacks.
The native of Weyburn, Saskatchewan received 37 first place votes. This is LaBatte’s first Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman award.
RENE PAREDES – CALGARY STAMPEDERS – K – MOST OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER
Paredes had a historic year in 2013. In late July, Paredes broke the record for consecutive field goals made in the regular season, surpassing Paul McCallum’s previous mark of 30. Paredes’ streak ended at 39 consecutive field goals made. The third-year kicker also set the record for highest field goal percentage for a season with a success rate of 94.7%.
Paredes led the league in field goals made (54), points (213) and converts (49) and became just the third player in Stampeders history to crack the 200-point milestone in a season. He also had 81 kickoffs for 5,147 yards for an average of 63.5.
Paredes received 47 first place votes. This is his first Most Outstanding Special Teams Player award.
BRETT JONES – CALGARY STAMPEDERS – C – MOST OUTSTANDING ROOKIE
Jones, who was selected by the Stamps 16th overall in the CFL Draft, is the first centre in league history to win the CFL’s rookie of the year award. He contributed to an offensive line on a team that led the league in rushing, had the CFL’s top rusher (Cornish) and allowed the fewest quarterback sacks. He is just the fifth Canadian player in league history, and first since 2002, to win the rookie of the year award - Jason Clermont (2002), Michael O’Shea (1993), Orville Lee (1988) and Joe Poplawski (1978).
Jones attended the University of Regina and was born in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. He received 26 first place votes.
KYRIES HEBERT – MONTREAL ALOUETTES – LB – TOM PATE MEMORIAL AWARD
In 2008, Hebert founded Ky Cares, a non-profit organization that facilitates the relentless pursuit of success in the face of adversity, so that youth may know that circumstances do not dictate the outcome of our destination. The Ky Cares Foundation works hard to positively affect the lives of thousands of the youth in the Kentucky, Ohio, Louisiana and Montreal communities.
Ky Cares reaches the children through annual football cheer and dance camps, athletic scholarships and hundreds of motivational speeches in churches and schools. Ky Cares also supports fundraising for breast cancer research by hosting an annual breast cancer event in the month of October.
Hebert is also involved in Harper’s Hope, an organization that raises money to help build parks and housing for hurricane victims since 2008.
Kyries is also involved with Pat Summit Foundation, Bowling 4 Alzheimer’s, the United Way, the Alouettes Golf Tournament to Benefit CN Adopt and the Tony Proudfoot Fund ALS of Quebec.
When asked why he has chosen to be so involved in his community Kyries stated: “I've chosen to be involved in my community because I understand my responsibility as a professional athlete to be a leader amongst my peers and the youth of not only the community I grew up in, but the community I play in as well.”
The Tom Pate Award is handed out each year to a CFL player who displays qualities that distinguish them from their peers.
Every year the CFLPA invites each CFL Club to nominate a team member for this award. The recipient must be a player with outstanding sportsmanship and someone who has made a significant contribution to his team and to his community and Association.