Thursday, November 24, 2016 — Toronto – Veterans Affairs Canada
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, and the Canadian Football League (CFL) Commissioner, Jeffrey L. Orridge, presented the Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award to Matt Black, Defensive Back for the Toronto Argonauts. The prestigious and coveted award is a highlight of the Shaw CFL Awards every year.
This year’s recipient, Matt Black, has exemplified strength, courage, perseverance and comradeship throughout his entire life. As a child, Matt was diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning disability that had a profound impact on his childhood. Matt’s experience breaking through misconceptions from a very young age has motivated him to use his platform to open up and inform youth about his struggles with dyslexia and his feelings of being helpless and hopeless at times.
As a professional athlete, Mr. Black has shown that he is a true leader, both on the field and in the community. His ability to bring people together is part of what separates him from others. Matt Black is currently the longest serving member of the Argonauts’ renowned Huddle Up Program and he has taken it upon himself to be involved in the team’s other numerous community programs.
The Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Canadian Football League are proud to recognize Matt Black as this year’s recipient of the Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award.
“What a privilege it is to be back at the Shaw CFL Awards in Toronto, celebrating the incredible achievements of a few of our country’s finest athletes. I commend each and every one of you for your focus, comradery, dedication and passion for the game. With this award, the CFL and Veterans Affairs Canada have teamed up to honour and celebrate the remarkable contributions of Canada’s brave men and women in uniform. Tonight, we are proud to recognize Matt Black for representing the virtues of Canada’s Veterans, on and off the field. Congratulations Matt for the well-deserved recognition.” --The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
“Throughout his CFL career Matt's dedication to service has been exemplary and unwavering. He brings the same tenacity and loyalty to his desire to better his community, to his teammates, and to his own play. I'm proud of Matt's work and the selfless example he sets for all of us.” --Jeffrey L. Orridge, Commissioner, Canadian Football League
- Named after Jake Gaudaur, the CFL’s longest serving commissioner and distinguished Second World War Veteran, the award is presented annually to a Canadian CFL player who best demonstrates the attributes of Canadian Veterans in times of war, military conflict, and peace.
- Jake Gaudaur is recognized as a Canadian hero. A Canadian fighter pilot instructor during the Second World War, he won Grey Cups as both a player and an executive, before serving as commissioner of the CFL from 1968 to 1984. His story embodies the historic bond between the league and Veterans, one that is celebrated with the presentation of the Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award.
- The presentation of the prestigious award is part of the annual Veterans Remembrance Tribute, organized by the Canadian Football League, in partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada. Earlier this month, the tribute featured a ceremony before the CFL semi-final games, as well as the placement of the Canada Remembers logo, with permission of The Royal Canadian Legion, around the football field and on each player’s helmet.
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