Last Friday I had a chance to walk through the new Football Pavilion with Head Coach Emeritus Stu Lang.
While the exterior walls are up and the roof is on, the building is still very much a construction site. More than two months of work remain to finish the interior. One of the holdups, perhaps the major one, is the glass. Between the office windows, the skylights and the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the field, that is a lot of glass.
The steel studs of the walls are up but there is no sign of any drywall. You still receive a good sense of the layout and the size of the rooms as you look around. It helps to have Stu as your tour guide.
I have always thought this building was going to be amazing. A real game changer of a facility. Even though there wasn’t much yet that appealed to the eye – the stained glass, the view of the field, the team colours, the photos, the trophy case and Gryphon logos – it was still impressive.
I think I can already identify with the college football reporter who toured Clemson’s new $55-million football operations centre while it was still under construction, then toured it again when it officially opened last week, writing … the wow factor was off the charts.
We’ve heard how great it is, and I saw it as recently as November and had high expectations but what we saw Tuesday was even better.
I expect I will feel the same way when I tour Guelph’s Football Pavilion again this Spring. It was impressive last week but that will be nothing compared to the “wow factor” when it’s done.
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Saturday night I watched most of Team Canada U19 vs Team USA in the North American Championships in Orlando, FL. My main interest was in checking out Gryphon commits Andy McFalls and Sandor Mod. Both are linemen. McFalls on the offensive side and Mod on defense. Unfortunately for Mod an injury kept him from participating in the game.
I knew McFalls was competing with a talented group of O-linemen that included 5 players ranked in the top 60 of CFC’s Top 100 2017 recruits. I was more than impressed that the National Junior Team coaches chose McFalls to play the key left tackle position over some guys with bigger bodies and bigger reputations.
No question, O-Line Coach Mike MacDonald has found a gem here. McFalls played very well and played every snap until well into the 4th Q. That was very impressive in my books. Unfortunately, Team USA controlled the game for the most part and won 33-11.
Gryphon Head Coach Kevin MacNeill was down in Orlando for several days last week too. He was there to support committed recruits Sandor Mod (left) and Andy McFalls …
MacNeill was also keeping tabs on several other top Gryphon recruiting prospects, including …
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Coach MacNeill wasn’t the only Gryphon coach who has been down South recently. Three weeks ago it was coaches Donnavan Carter and Matt Nesbitt who were on the road. They were working with Team Ontario at the International Bowl in Dallas TX. Strictly speaking, coaching with Team O isn’t about recruiting. But the opportunity to evaluate talent and build relationships with some of Ontario’s most talented players is valuable.
Running back Tanner Nelmes of Guelph-St.James was on the team along with several 2017 recruiting targets. Curtis Valiquette, a defensive lineman from Guelph-Bishop McDonnel, played on the U16 team. Former Gryphon O-Line Coach Carl Tolmie, who now holds the same position with the Ottawa GeeGees, was part of the coaching staff.