Tom Pate had a unique combination of outstanding sportsmanship, dedication and sense of community. He was educated at the University of Nebraska where he majored in business administration while playing for the Cornhuskers. He joined the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1975 and as a rookie played 14 regular season games. In October 1975, his life was abruptly ended, when in his fourteenth game against the Stampeders in Calgary, he suffered an aneurysm in the fourth quarter. Pate, only 23 at the time, never regained consciousness and passed away just two days later.
The CFLPA is proud to announce Adarius Bowman of the Edmonton Eskimos as the 2017 Tom Pate Award recipient. In 2017, Adarius has worked as hard off the field as he has on it, devoting his time within the Edmonton community. In 2017 he started Adarius for Autism (A4A) which assists youth diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by offering needs-based training to ease the transition to becoming a contributing member of society. Giving back to the community is nothing new for Adarius as he has spent countless hours devoting his time to worthwhile causes.
Each year, the current CFLPA membership across the league select a teammate to be nominated for this award and represent their respective team. The recipient embodies the qualities that distinguished Tom Pate; qualities that recognize a player with outstanding sportsmanship, a player who has made a contribution to his team as well as to his community and to his Association. From the nine Team nominees, one individual member is selected to receive the honour of being awarded the winner of the Tom Pate Award for that season.