David Bosch and his Manchester Monarch teammates celebrated a victory that was far more significant than it would normally be. The senior men’s football team dedicated their season to the wounded city of Fort McMurray

Ex-Valley Husker leads Fort McMurray Monarchs to national title

David Bosch and his Alberta Football League champions won the Canadian crown with a win over the Greater Toronto Area All-Stars.

In the big picture, a national championship by a senior men’s football team is great for them, but doesn’t mean a whole lot.

But for a community like Fort McMurray, which was devastated by the Horse River fire and is still fighting its way back, it means a whole lot more.

And a Chilliwackian played a big role.

Three years ago, David Bosch helped found the Fort McMurray Monarchs. Last weekend, his team beat the Greater Toronto Area All-Stars to claim the 2016 Canadian Major Football League title.

“At one point before the season started we asked ourselves, ‘Do we want to go ahead with this?’” Bosch explained. “We had guys on our team lose homes (in the fire).”

“So our main thing was that we were going to play this season for everybody in the city, and when it was over it was a feeling of relief?”

“You set a goal, put everything into it and when it actually comes true the exact way you pictured it, it’s the greatest feeling.”

Bosch’s name will be familiar to followers of the BC Football Conference Valley Huskers.

He is the best defensive player to play for the Huskers over the last decade — good enough to earn a look-see from the Canadian Football League’s BC Lions.

He was 22 years old when he graduated from junior football and headed to Alberta to make money in the oil biz.

Bosch was out of the game for three years, until he met a guy named Jessie Maddox. Maddox roped the hulking defensive lineman into playing for the  Alberta Football League’s Lloydminster Vandals, and they helped that team to a national title in 2012.

“We had a great time doing it, but the five hour trek from Fort Mac to Lloydmister was a bit much,” Bosch said. “Especially when you’re working long 12 hour days.”

“So Jess and I sat down and said, ‘Why don’t we try to make a team in Fort McMurray?’”

It was a lot of work, far more than Bosch expected.

“It takes a lot of time and dedication, and the biggest thing that helped us is we weren’t afraid to ask guys,” Bosch said. “We had a lot of guys who knew us, respected us and were willing to help us.”

“What it also takes is having a good group of people on your board who absolutely love football, and we’re lucky to have that.”

With Bosch serving as the team’s vice president/defensive end/long-snapper/fullback, the Monarchs hit the field in 2014 and were an instant hit.

The newly minted team advanced to the AFL semi-final, then  went one step further in 2015, falling 37-24 to the Calgary Gators in the AFL final.

This year’s final saw the Monarchs, 7-1 in regular season play, pitted against the undefeated Central Alberta Buccaneers.

Bosch and company roared back from an 11 point half-time deficit, winning 33-23 and earning the right to host the national championship game on their home field.

There, the Monarchs topped their Ontario opponents 59-45 in a wild-shoot out.

“The offences were just insane and the defences couldn’t slow it down,” Bosch said. “It was unreal, with big play after big play.”

“So fast-paced.”

The Monarchs finally halted the All-Stars on their last offensive drive, forcing a turnover on third down. Only then did Bosch  let himself believe they had it wrapped up.

“That was in the last two minutes of the game and that’s how tight it was,” Bosch said.

The moments after the final whistle blew were surreal and something he’ll always remember.

And not just because they won.

“You put in the work and the time and did what was needed, and the plan actually worked,” he said. “The feeling, I can’t even express it to you.”

“Just very satisfying.”

Bosch now has the chance to do what few players get to do and go out on top.

As of this moment, he says he’s hanging them up.

But take heart Monarchs because the door isn’t completely closed.

“My body, to put it lightly, has been beaten up and I’m done, I think,” he said, not sounding all that certain. “The fingers on my right hand, they’re so mangled.”

“I noticed in the last year I’ve been really slowing down and it’s not from the lack of gym time.”

“When I play I play 100 per cent with no plays off and I can’t do that anymore.”

And yet…

“I’m not going to say I’m done done, because if I have a day off work and I’m in shape and the team’s got a game, heck I’ll dress. But for now I am done.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Organizers of the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival have decided to end the event after more than 20 years. / Bob Friesen File Photo
Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival cancelled – for good

Organizers say the event was so popular that too many people were attending to be sustainable

Owen Charpentier, 21, is charged with the Oct. 22, 2019 second-degree murder of Keith Baldwin in Chilliwack. (File)
Pre-trial dates set for Chilliwack man charged with Keith Baldwin’s murder

Owen Dale Charpentier accused in the fourth homicide of 2019 next in court June 2021

The 2020 Rotary Club of Chilliwack Book Sale is moving from Chilliwack Mall to Heritage Park to allow more room for physically-distanced shopping. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rotary Book Sale moves from Chilliwack Mall to Heritage Park

The hugely-popular book sale is going ahead Oct. 25-31 with pandemic protocols in place

Massimo Rizzo (Penticton Vees, BCHL), middle, tries to out-maneuver two Team Canada East players during a preliminary game at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge. Team Canada West won the all-Canadian matchup 6-1.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images
Chilliwack Chiefs acquire Massimo Rizzo from Coquitlam Express

Chiefs hockey boss Brian Maloney has high expectations this season, and this trade is a sign of that

There have been several reports to the Chilliwack RCMP recently regarding a phone scam where the caller impersonates a local police officer and asks for money, they said on Oct. 19. 2020. (Miryam Leon/ Unsplash)
Chilliwack RCMP warn phone scammers are impersonating officers

RCMP officers would never solicit money or Bitcoin from someone, they assure the public

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

The RCMP helicopter. (File photo)
Suspect escapes after police pursuit through Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford

Police chase involved two stolen vehicles, including one taken in Mission

IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Police watchdog concludes Mounties didn’t shoot Surrey teen at strip mall

IIO finds tragic death of teenager ‘not the result of any actions or inactions’ by the Surrey RCMP

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 after an altercation left an elderly man in critical condition. (File photo)
Trial dates set in White Rock manslaughter case

Proceedings against Ross Banner, 71, set for June 2021 in Surrey Provincial Court

Most Read