Rams honour Wilson with Richardson trophy
Midget B lacrosse netminder is this year's receipient of the Jeremy Richardson Memorial Trophy
Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 06:00 am
The Jeremy Richardson Memorial Trophy surpassed winning a provincial championship for this year’s recipient.
“I’ve never really got anything this big. The last time anything was this big was when we won (novice) provincials in 2009, that was five years ago, so that kind of wore off,” said Jared Wilson, netminder for the midget B St. Albert Rams, after Sunday’s ceremony at Servus Credit Union Place.
The prestigious award is presented annually by the St. Albert Rams Lacrosse Club at the Jeremy Richardson Memorial Baggataway Tournament.
“I wasn’t expecting to get it. It’s not something I was thinking of,” Wilson said. “It’s cool to have it.”
Every year teams in the tournament are asked to nominate a player who illustrates the same attributes as Richardson, the first Ram to be drafted into the National Lacrosse League in 2003 as the third-round pick (27th overall) by the Calgary Roughnecks.
“He played with the most heart and the most soul. He was a great player, a teammate and a leader,” said Ron Simpson, the Rams’ co-president, during Sunday’s presentation.
Richardson, born on Canada Day, was a scoring star in lacrosse – a top point producer in junior for three years with the Edmonton Miners who received MVP honours at the 2003 Minto Cup national championship – and hockey – he played a major role in the St. Albert Saints advancing to the 2003 Alberta Junior Hockey League final – before cancer claimed his life on Nov. 5, 2005 at age 23.
The Rams renamed their tournament, now in its 18th year, in Richardson’s honour and dedicated a trophy in his memory.
“Every year this tournament is designed for him and his family presents a trophy to a player in the tournament who exemplifies those attributes, a person who is dedicated, hard working and inspirational to his friends and teammates,” Simpson said of Richardson, a member of one of the first junior Rams teams.
In August of 2003 Richardson was diagnosed with stage three malignant melanoma and after numerous treatments at the Cross Cancer Institute and surgeries he participated in a series of clinical trials during a gruelling 18-month span at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. His nickname at Bethesda was the Interleukin Superman, symbolizing the courageous battle to successfully complete one of the most difficult treatment series available.
On Sept. 3, 2005 Richardson married Gillian Rauw and the next week he travelled to Bethesda for his final surgery. Two months later Richardson passed away while surrounded by his family.
In 2006 the Miners dedicated their season in Richardson’s memory and retired his No. 23 jersey, the first number retired in team history. The Miners also renamed the team’s offensive player of the year award after Richardson.
“Lacrosse was one of his favourite sports. He excelled at the game at a very high level,” said Richardson’s father, Mitch.
Wilson, 15, also shares Richardson’s passion for lacrosse.
“It’s a sport I’ve learned to love,” said the Grade 9 student at Sir George Simpson School. “This award has definitely boosted my motivation to play even more.”
Every spring Wilson looks forward to the start of the lacrosse season.
“It’s pretty much all I have to do in the summer beside skateboard. It’s a fun sport with all my friends to do,” he said. “It’s almost every day that we have lacrosse, especially this weekend with the tournament. I still have to fit in school too.”
Wilson was a runner in novice before switching to net.
“After we won provincials in 2009 the team I was on didn’t have a goalie so I tried it out and I seemed to be good at it so that’s how it started. It was a complete accident. I kept doing it and I fell in love with it,” said Wilson, who overcame a potential season-ending broken wrist snowboarding to backstop the Rams in 2013.
Simpson described Wilson as an individual who brings quiet leadership to his team and is happy to help out other netminders coming up through the system.
“He made sure young goalies in our association benefit from his experience by doing it on his own time,” said Simpson.
He noted Wilson remains positive and focused on the job despite facing up to 50 shots and several breakaways every game.
“I just stand there and don’t think about the goals,” Wilson said. “I’m just happy to be playing.”
RAMS RESULTS: Brooklyn Artfield scored the only goal for the midget female Rams in the 3-1 loss to the Beaumont Raiders in Sunday’s final.
Hunter Davis racked up four goals and one assist for the bantam female Rams in the 6-0 win over the Rockyview Rage in Sunday’s third-place playoff. The Calgary Sabrecats beat the Red Deer Chiefs 8-2 in the final.
The rest of the tournament winners were the Calgary Axemen in novice female (7-4 against Sherwood Park Titans), Westlock Rock in novice male (6-5 against Okotoks Raiders), Calgary Hornets 1 in peewee female (5-3 against Calgary Hornets 2), South Edmonton Warriors in peewee male (4-3 against Red Deer Chiefs), Sylvan Lake Buccaneers in bantam male (7-2 against Sherwood Park Titans) and the Vermilion Roar in midget male (5-3 against Lloydminster Brutes).