An age-old football rivalry was set aside on October 2, as executives from the Calgary Stampeders and the Edmonton Eskimos joined The Honourable Norman Kwong to celebrate the official naming of the Normie Kwong Park in Olds.
Normie Kwong Park is located at the Community Learning Campus in Olds. Situated between Calgary and Edmonton, the athletic park was perfectly poised to honour Alberta’s former Lieutenant Governor and his two CFL teams invested $20,000 each into the development of the facility named for their former all-star and CFL Hall of Fame member.
Before serving in the role of Lieutenant Governor, the China Clipper launched his professional football career at the age of 18, becoming the youngest player ever in the Canadian Football League. Normie Kwong went on to win four Grey Cups with both Calgary (1948) and Edmonton (1954, 1955 and 1956). The athletic park at Olds High School will allow the legacy of Normie Kwong to continue for a new generation of young athletes.
“The Calgary Stampeders are extremely proud and privileged to support this initiative in honour of the legend, Normie Kwong,” said Lyle Bauer, Calgary Stampeder President/COO. “Normie’s performances certainly earned him his rightful place in Canadian Sports history and the ‘China Clipper’ will forever be remembered for bringing fans to their feet across the CFL.”
Along with the current executive of his former professional football teams, Normie Kwong was surrounded CFL players from his era and current, young bantam and high school players who were in between games on the busy field. Olds High School is uniquely situated on the Community Learning Campus (CLC), which provides learning, cultural and athletic opportunities for students throughout Central Alberta. Through the Chinook’s Edge School Division and Olds College collaboration with the Town of Olds, Mountain View County and the University of Alberta, the CLC has opened opportunities for rural residents of all ages.
“Normie Kwong has made an indelible impact on both professional sports and public office in Canada,” said Rick LeLacheur, Edmonton Eskimo President and CEO. “The Edmonton Eskimo Football Club is tremendously proud of its long association with Normie and is honoured to help make this special project a reality.”
As a member of the Order of Canada, the CFL Hall of Fame and an extremely proud Albertan, The Honourable Norman Kwong is beloved by fans both on and off the field. But on Saturday afternoon he seemed most interested in the action on the field, as both Bantam and high school teams competed at Normie Kwong Park.
“This is a great day for football and perhaps the best kind of football: grassroots, amateur football,” said the Honourable Norman Kwong. “Without youth football, there would be no professional football. The Eskimos and Stampeders are to be truly commended for investing in this project specifically, but also for all their other investments in the health of amateur football and community in Alberta. This is a day we will never forget.”