Word around the Canadian Football League (CFL) is if you want to win the Grey Cup then you might want to think about signing Powell River’s Jesse Newman.
After all, winning two championships in your first three years in the league with different teams is no easy feat.
Newman managed to do it in his rookie year with Calgary Stampeders and then raised the Grey Cup again in his second full year with BC Lions.
The six-foot four-inch 305-pound offensive lineman left Powell River at a young age to play in the Lower Mainland and went on to enjoy success at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
In May 2008 he was drafted third in the CFL draft by Calgary and he was an integral part of the Stampeders who defeated the Alouettes in Montreal 22-14.
The next year, he had second thoughts about continuing with football in stampede city and did not report to spring camp, which set trade talks in motion.
He emerged from the difficult situation with a move to the Lions and he rediscovered his love for the game in his home province.
In his first full season the Lions started slowly but improved steadily to capture the 99th Grey Cup 34-23 over Winnipeg Blue Bombers at BC Place Stadium in front of 53,313 fans.
When he was with the Stampeders he managed to travel under the radar. But Powell River sure knows him and Newman knows his fan base is as big as he is which is why he’s bringing the cup home.
His first appearance will be at the Powell River Kings versus Surrey Eagles game at 1:30 pm on Sunday, March 4, Hap Parker Arena.
Newman will be in the foyer with the cup at noon to share some quality time with his fans for pictures, autographs or just talking football.
Dominion Lending will host a free tailgate barbeque starting at noon for this fan-appreciation Sunday. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chili and hot chocolate will be available.
Newman’s second public appearance will be at 8 am on Monday, March 5 at his old elementary school, Grief Point.
His young admirers have been in touch with Newman throughout the year and children of all ages can come to the school to meet and have their pictures taken with the star.
“The kids are pretty excited,” said Dina Windsor, mother of young student Mason. “They’re making posters at the school and the [students have] been sending him cards and he sends them back pictures. So they’ve been cheering him on and keeping in contact with him during the season.”
Powell River has had its share of sports success stories but she said Newman’s journey from Grief Point school to the Grey Cup is an inspiration for young children.
“Here’s somebody that’s publicly a phenomenal athlete who went to their school and now he’s coming into their school to show them the Grey Cup. He’s got very limited time, but the fact that he’s making the time to come in to share it with them is amazing.”