Andrew Halipchuk, sports reporter for the Airdrie City View, received a Forever a Mustang award during George McDougall High School’s annual award banquet for its football program Dec. 7.
Halipchuk attended the banquet at the school on behalf of the City View, unaware he would be receiving an award himself.
“It was a huge surprise to be recognized for doing my job. I’ve never been in this position thinking I should get recognized for what I do,” Halipchuk said. “I love the sport of football very much and it’s very easy for me to cover. So getting out there, watching the kids play and getting to cover a sport I really enjoy doesn’t feel like work at all.
“It’s just such an honour to be named Forever a Mustang.”
Halipchuk has been reporting on the program for the past three football seasons. He said it’s nice to know his stories are making an impact.
Chris Glass, Mustangs co-head coach, said the Forever a Mustang award was created four years ago.
“The reason why we created it was to recognize people who help us build our program. So people who wouldn’t normally get recognized by an on-field award or as a coach, but people who really give to our program and help us develop what we’re trying to accomplish,” he said, adding the idea to award it to Halipchuk this year came after the team’s third game.
“I noticed that all of our kids were sharing all of the City View articles with each other and they were commenting back and forth, and I realized that this actually plays a really big role in moving us forward as a team,” he said. “Our guys really love seeing their names in the paper. They love the background, whether we won or lost, it was shared.
“This is something that’s really helping us create the culture that we want, which is recognizing our kids for what they do well and their successes on and off the field, and Andrew’s played such a huge role in doing that for us.”
Antoine Ouellette, a parent of two sons involved with the Mustangs football program, said Halipchuk has made an impact on them as well. His son Jean-Simon graduated from the program last season and his other son, Tristan-David, is currently a Grade 10 player in the program.
Ouellette helps with sideline duties and said Halipchuk often asks him about his sons. He said he’s surprised how much Halipchuk remembers about them.
“He cares about (the players) even after he interviews them,” he said. “What impressed me a lot about Andrew is he’s always there…. He’s there and he’s doing his job, even if it’s pouring rain.”