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Andrew Buckley’s Hall of Fame induction: Celebrating a once-in-a-lifetime career

By Rodrigo Verney, June 29 2023—

Calgary’s football community is excited as former Calgary Dinos star quarterback, Andrew Buckley, was recently inducted into the prestigious Alberta Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place at Red Deer Polytechnic, honouring Buckley’s remarkable contributions to the sport. From his record-breaking high school performances to his championship victories with the University of Calgary Dinos, Buckley’s journey has been nothing short of legendary. Let’s delve into the illustrious career of this local football hero and explore the impact he has made on Calgary’s football landscape.

Rise to Stardom

Buckley quickly made a name for himself. During his time with the Dinos, he led the Scarlet & Gold to three consecutive Canada West Championships from 2011 to 2013, forever marking himself in the history of the Dinos and elevating the bar for every quarterback to come. His feats have left a deep mark on the league and the hearts of every fan who has the pleasure of watching him grow. Talking about Buckley’s accolades means talking about every point in his career, but to understand just how impactful he has been, we can take a look at some of the accolades he has gathered throughout his Dinos years. 

Buckley was an award collector during his collegiate prime, some of the most notable ones include the Russ Jackson Award two times back-to-back. This award is given to the player that best balances their academic and athletic life while also giving back to the community. Another notable award in his belt is the Hec Crighton Award, an award all about standing taller than your peers in the league. Given only to the single best player in the league and, of course, Buckley won it twice on a back tobacco campaign (2014 and 2015).  Lastly, the esteemed Lieutenant Governor’s Award — an award given to the best student-athlete of the year. His contributions to the team were recognized not only within the university but also by the wider Calgary community, as he received the Calgary Booster Club’s Male Athlete of the Year award and the University of Calgary’s Male Athlete of the Year award — proving that his impact wasn’t only felt on the field.

Buckley always cultivated a lot of love for the city and took pride in helping people. The all-star quarterback always dreamed of impacting the community since his formative years. On his early CFL retirement, he had this to say about leaving the sport for medical education:

“I’ve been accepted into medical school at the University of Calgary and it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass on. Studying medicine has been my goal since I was young and this is the right time in my life to pursue it,” said Buckley in an official Stampede note.

Calgary is a city that knows how to reciprocate the love that it’s given and had nothing but support for Buckley’s decision. It warms the hearts of every Calgarian to know that such young altruistic talent is out there and, although short-lived, his time with the Stampeders is also praise-worthy.

Big Fish in a Bigger Pond

Buckley’s talent and dedication were almost guaranteed to land him a spot in the CFL as a solid prospect. In 2015, the Calgary Stampeders had their eyes set on him and was selected 62nd overall in the draft. The all-star rookie showcased his skills and technique by playing in every game for the Stamps. He even tied the CFL record for most touchdowns in a single season by a Canadian quarterback, solidifying himself as a rising star in the professional league. Buckley’s remarkable achievements continued, as he became the first Canadian-born quarterback since 1969 to score a touchdown in the Grey Cup, accomplishing this feat during the 104th edition of the championship game in 2016. Even if it was a bit short playing only two years in the big league, his performances on the field solidified his place in Calgary football history.

Beyond the Field

Buckley’s efforts are well known to have extended far beyond the field. Throughout his impressive career, he consistently made time for volunteer work and giving back to Calgary. As the founder of the University of Calgary’s Dinos Athletes in Medicine, he paved the way for fellow student athletes to pursue their aspirations in both sports and medicine. Not satisfied with all of his outstanding efforts for both the community and the team, the legendary quarterback took on the role of coach for the Dinos football team from 2018 to 2020, guiding them to their fifth Vanier Cup victory in 2019. His dedication to developing young talent and fostering a sense of community further cemented his status as a beloved figure in Calgary’s football history.  To take on so many responsibilities in itself but to win it all is just more proof of the incredible adaptability he always displayed. 

Reaping what he sews

Buckley’s stellar achievements and unwavering commitment to the sport earned him a place among the elite athletes in Alberta’s Hall of Fame. During the annual ceremony, he was one of ten exceptional individuals celebrated for their contributions to sports in the province. Buckley now joins the esteemed ranks of other Dino’s football legends enshrined at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, including coaches Peter Connellan and Dr. Dennis Kadatz, Rob McNab, and the 1983 and 1985 Vanier Cup Championship teams. This recognition highlights the lasting impact Buckley has had on football, both as a player and as a mentor. 

A legendary closure to a legendary career. Sports fans and the Calgarian as a whole wish a lot of success in the path of this amazing, once-in-a-generation athlete, student, and person. Buckley will be remembered for much more than his accomplishments. Buckley will forever be remembered for his relentless drive to help others.

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