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This versatile athlete excelled in a wide variety of sports while growing up in Kenora, but it was on the football field that he would ultimately leave his mark. A stand-out in high school athletics with the Beaver Brae Broncos, he was part of the dynasty years of their football team, claiming four consecutive NorWOSSAA Championship titles between 1982-85.

Recruited by US Division II schools, he chose to stay in Canada accepting a scholarship to the University of Calgary where he cracked the Dinos’ starting line-up in his rookie year. Named the 1986 Western Conference top rookie, he was one of 4 nominees for the Peter Gorman Trophy as the CIAU Rookie of the Year. A key player as a punt and kick return specialist and defensive back, he was twice named a Canada West All-Star and earned 1988 CIS All-Canadian honours, the same year he helped the Dinos claim the Vanier Cup as the top university team in Canada.

Selected by the Toronto Argonauts in the 4th round of the 1990 CFL Canadian College Draft, going 28th overall, he went on to serve as a member of their secondary and on specialty teams, making 2 interceptions and 21 tackles in his rookie season.

Helping the team advance to the 1991 CFL finals, he was part of a classic Grey Cup moment when he provided a key block to help Raghib 'Rocket' Ismail break free for his record setting 87 yard kick-off return, which helped the Argos defeat the Calgary Stampeders 36-21 and become the 1991 Grey Cup champions.

Joining the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1994, his best of 3 seasons with the team came in 1995 when he hit the field for all 18 games, amassed 44 tackles, 3 quarterback sacks and a career high 7 interceptions.

Stepping away from the grid-iron following the 1996 season, he returned to the field in 1998 with the Calgary Stampeders, and added another championship ring to his collection with a 26-24 defeat of the Hamilton Ti-Cats in the 1998 Grey Cup final.

Retiring following that victory, his 8 season CFL career, which included 2 Grey Cup titles, combined with his Vanier Cup championship, makes this Kenora athlete one of the region's most successful football players of all time.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 28, 2019

David Van Belleghem

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