Last seen hurdling Seaquam Seahawk defenders in a BC High School Football playoff semi-final

Last seen hurdling Seaquam Seahawk defenders in a BC High School Football playoff semi-final

GW Graham football stars join U Sports heavyweights

Gabe Olivares is joining a Canada West powerhouse while Ethan Mastin heads east to an Atlantic University Sport front-runner.

Less than three weeks after their high school football season ended, GW Graham’s Gabe Olivares and Ethan Mastin have been snapped up by U Sports programs.

The Grizzly duo signed their letters of intent late last week.

Olivares, the reigning BC High School Offensive Player of the Year, will join the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds this fall.

“I went to UBC’s camp (in 2015) and won the top quarterback, then went back and did it again, and that’s when they started showing interest in me,” Olivares said.

UBC followed the QB through the high school season and into the playoffs, and didn’t wait long after GWG was sent packing by Seaquam.

Olivares had several school in pursuit with Simon Fraser making an offer that would have seen the teenager play NCAA division II football.

McGill, Western, Alberta and even some schools in the United States sniffed around, but in the end the Thunderbirds were the right fit.

“The culture and everything (UBC head) coach (Blake) Nill was saying brought me in,” Olivares said. “I met some of the players during a campus visit and they all respect him.”

“Even though he pushes them hard on the practice field they know they can trust him and he really loves to win and compete.”

“And the campus was beautiful.”

Nill didn’t offer Olivares any guarantees.

He joins a T-Bird team that won a Vanier Cup national championship just two years ago and while UBC slipped in 2016 (3-5), Nill’s track record of eight Vanier Cup appearances and three wins suggests the T-Birds should be perennial contenders

Olivares has been told he’ll compete to be the team’s backup QB. UBC’s roster shows four pivots in the mix and the ever-confident Olivares sees himself shooting up the depth chart.

“I’ll be learning under the best quarterback in the country (UBC first stringer) Michael O’Connor,” he said. “I’ll show what I’ve got at spring camp, learn and develop with some of the best coaches in the country and when I get my chance I’ll take it.”

While Olivares chooses to stay close to home, Ethan Mastin is going as far away as he can while staying on the continent.

Mastin will play in Nova Scotia for the St. Francis Xavier X-Men. St. FX contacted Mastin a week after GWG’s playoff loss and wasted no time getting a commitment.

“Right off the bat I got the feeling that he (St. FX head coach Gary Waterman) cares for the players, but he’s also a competitive coach who wants to win,” Mastin said.

The New Brunswick based Mount Allison Mounties were also after the defensive back, giving him a choice between the top two teams in the Atlantic University Sport conference.

“They’re both great academic schools and great football programs, but being on the phone with the St. FX coach a few times, I got a feeling for the great opportunity that might be there,” Mastin said.

“He said that no matter where I go I’m going to find a way to succeed, but he told me I’d have a chance to come in (to St. FX) and compete for a spot on their travel team (second string) right away.”

Mastin and Olivares are the fourth and fifth players to make the jump from GWG to the U Sport ranks — six if you count Diego Pineda, who was heavily recruited but struggled to find the right fit.

Jake Creasey was the first, landing with the Manitoba Bisons.

Trevon Walsh went to the Alberta Golden Bears in 2014 and Emerson Smith followed him to Edmonton a year later.

Mastin is also the first five-year Grizzly to make the jump.

He started as a little Grade 8 kid, helped GWG win back to back junior varsity titles in 2013 and 2014 and helped the senior varsity team to provincial semi-finals the last two years.

As he leaves, he thinks the Grizzlies are in a good place.

“The high school bond with your teammates is unmatched, because you’re around your brothers every day,” Mastin said. “This is a fantastic school and a great football program  and we’ve been happy to put on a show for our fans and show them what GWG football is all about.”

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

Just Posted

Richard Procee is one of four candidates in the Feb. 13, 2021 Chilliwack school board byelection. Here, he poses at his store in 2017. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
VIDEO: Byelection candidate Richard Procee hopes to ‘introduce good conversation’ to Chilliwack school board

Procee discusses his involvement with his church, views on SOGI 123 and politics

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane towed across Chilliwack over weekend

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The Abbotsford Tulip Festival is permanently closing, with plans to eventually set up in Armstrong, B.C. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Abbotsford Tulip Festival is closing, with plans to rebloom in Armstrong

Event organizer says pandemic and sale of land were factors in decision

Cultus Lake’s Reece Howden on the course at Idre Fjäll in Sweden where he turned in another dominant World Cup ski cross performance. (Alpine Canada)
Cultus Lake skier Reece Howden stacks up World Cup wins in Sweden

Howden won two more long-distance ski cross races to expand his lead in the World Cup standings

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Fraser East COVID-19 numbers plateau, rest of region trends down

Fraser East is sitting around 400 new COVID-19 cases each week

Rose Sawka, 91, waves to her son through the window of a care home in Prince Rupert in October. Residents of the care home received their first vaccine dose Jan. 20. (K-J Millar/The Northern View)
B.C. care home visitor access to expand by March, Dix says

Staff, residents, essential visitors top priorities for vaccine

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

(Pixhere photo)
B.C. dentists argue for COVID-19 vaccine priority after ‘disappointing’ exclusion from plan

Vaccines are essential for dentists as patients cannot wear masks during treatment, argues BCDA

Most Read