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Earl Marriott Football Club

Tony Dennis

Dennis played seven years in the CFL with Saskatchewan, Calgary and British Columbia after a record-setting collegiate career at Simon Fraser University












Dennis played seven years in the CFL with Saskatchewan, Calgary and British Columbia after a record-setting collegiate career at Simon Fraser University


Awards Dinner – Tony Dennis Award

I want everyone to understand why this award is so important – and the full extent of receiving the honor of this award .

This is an article written in the Globe and Mail – December 24, 2003

By all medical accounts, Tony Dennis should not be with us.  When he fell to the ice November 7, 2003 while playing a game of pickup hockey in Vancouver, he should have died within minutes, the victim of a massive stroke.

After surgery Dennis was put in an intensive-care unit.  He was moved to GF Strong Rehabilitation Center less than two weeks later, a record for patients who have suffered the kind of debilitating stroke Dennis did.  At the rehab centre, the former CFL receiver who played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Calgary Stampeders and BC Lions told his therapists he’d be home by Christmas.

Until that day, Dennis is content to revel in what he has, which is more than many thought possible, which is why Dennis doesn’t just believe in Christmas miracles, HE BELIEVE HE IS ONE – A Living breathing, thankful phenomenon.

Dennis didn’t make his deadline. He bettered it.  On December 13, 2003, Dennis came hone to his wife Lisa and their three children and the Christmas that almost wasn’t.

Tony Dennis was home for the holidays in a wheelchair.  He can move his left arms but not always at will.   He can move his left leg but is refuses to work on cue.  Through rehabilitation and enormous effort, the 40-year-old former Canadian Football player is learning to walk again.  Some day, he may be able to move with a cane, maybe even jog.

Dennis was asked – “Do you have stronger sense of faith now?”

“Most definitely” he answered in a clear and steady voice “I don’t think you can come through this and not think there had to be some guidance from a higher source.  It’s just too unbelievable.  You look at all the different forks in the road and where you could have gone.  This is already a special Christmas I’m grateful for being home and seeing it.

The one time Simon Fraser University stand out from Windsor Ontario, was active in all fronts, working in the investment field with Dominion Securities Royal Bank while playing hockey twice a week while coaching his two sons 9 and 11 in football and baseball.

“I was invited to a minor football banquet in White Rock and all I heard about was Tony. And the great work he was doing with kids” said BC Lions Coach Wally Buono, who earlier in the season invited Dennis and his team to attend a Lions practice and meet the players.  “That’s what you hope for, that guys leave the game and make a difference.  The people I talked to said Tony has been making a difference.

And on the day he leave’s his wheelchair for good and learns to walk again, what then for the former football player who used to take running for granted?

That’s easy, he said – I can’t wait to be active again so I can get back the coaching THE kids.

It is Tony Dennis’s gift for all those who believe in miracles.

Tony Dennis is now walking – his dream is to run one day and knowing how far Tony has come and the spirit and determination that he has – I know his dream will be accomplished.

I met Tony through coaching football – he is not only a mentor to me but he really does put life into prospective. Tony is very active within this community, his detrimination to get back where he was continues, he works with others who have had strokes, he has worked with the White Rock Titans, He has been involued in the vision to bring HS Football to Earl Marriott since its inception.

I think we all can learn something from this incredible man.