Why does the D--k Suderman Trophy mean so much?
The D--k Suderman Trophy is all about recognizing those who have displayed an exceptional performance during the Grey Cup. Think of it as a man of a match award but on steroids. Every player is keen to be recognized as the best player on the day, but the D--k Suderman Trophy goes just a little bit further.
The trophy had previously been known as the Most Valuable Canadian award. It was an award that any player in the Grey Cup had the chance to win regardless of whether or not they were on the winning side. Whilst it was always important, the renaming of this in 1972 to the D--k Suderman Trophy made it matter that much more.
Who was D--k Suderman?
For those who know a thing or two about Canadian football, the name Suderman will be only too familiar. He began his career playing college football at the University of Western Ontario before going on to play for the Calgary Stampeders from 1962 – 1972. During his career, he appeared in three Grey Cups. Defeat came in the first two of these with Ottawa Rough Riders providing tough competition in 1968 and Montreal Alouettes proving too much in 1970.
It was 1971 when Suderman found himself on the winning team, defeating the Toronto Argonauts 14-11. This was the Grey Cup that also saw Suderman being named the Grey Cup Most Valuable Canadian.
How the D--k Suderman Trophy was born
Following Suderman’s outstanding performance in the 1971 Grey Cup, he left his victorious team and went to join the Edmonton Eskimos for the 1972 season. He played a single game against the BC Lions and then a promising career came to an early end.
Suderman was eating in a restaurant with his teammates when he suddenly collapsed. Just two days before his 33rd birthday, Suderman died of a brain hemorrhage. With doctors assuring fans that this had no link to the sport itself, fans were left mourning a legend. It was at this point that the Most Valuable Canadian award was renamed the D--k Suderman Trophy.
Notable D--k Suderman Trophy winners
Since the trophy came into being, there have been a host of winners. The one thing that they have in common is that their performances have been outstanding. Research from Betway Insider shows that in the 2016 Grey Cup, Henry Burris gave what is widely regarded as an iconic performance. Despite this, he still didn’t quite make the grade that year with the D--k Suderman Trophy going to Brad Sinopoli. Some of the other notable winners include:
- 1972 – Ian Sunter – Hamilton Tiger-cats
- 1983 – Rick Klassen – BC Lions
- 2000 – Sean Millington – BC Lions
- 2001 – Aldi Henry – Calgary Stampeders
- 2019 – Andrew Harris – Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Some of these players have found their teams victorious in the Grey Cup while others have found themselves facing heavy defeats. Regardless of this, their efforts and performance have been recognized in a way that matters so much more than any other. D--k Suderman was legendary as a player and his name will forever live on through other Canadian greats.
It is very difficult to win the D--k Suderman Trophy and the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player award in the same championship. For example, Andrew Harris is the only player to have done so. Also, while no kicker has ever been named the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player, 12 kickers have won the D--k Suderman Trophy (or Grey Cup’s Most Valuable Canadian award).
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