Capital Area Gladiators Canadian Rules Football Club

#58 Nick Desilets, 1973-2003

          Nick Desilets was born on November 7, 1973 in Quebec City to Raymond and Lise Desilets. He attended Mount Allison University where he played offensive line for the football Mounties for four years, including the 1997 Atlantic Bowl Game. He met his future wife, Andrea Pike at Mount A.  After graduating in 1998 with his Bachelor of Arts and Certificate in Languages  Nick and Andrea went to the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton where they both received their Bachelor of Education. Nick and Andrea were married in August, 2000.
           While in Fredericton Nick was offensive line coach with the Fredericton High School Black Kats during the 1999 and 2000 seasons. He also was a coach with the Football New Brunswick 19 & Under Elite Provincial team from 1998-2001.
           Nick and Andrea relocated to St. Stephen in 2001 where they both had obtained teaching positions at St. Stephen High School. Nick immediately became involved with the St. Stephen High School football team. He would also suit up with the Capital Area Gladiators of the new New Brunswick Senior Football League during the 2001 and 2002 seasons, wearing his trademark #58, the same number that he wore at Mount A.
            In the spring of 2003 Nick and Andrea had just bought a house at 6 Pine Street. Andrea had just given birth to their first child, Alexandre. Nick had just accepted the job as head coach of the St. Stephen High School Spartans football team. He was working hard to get a PeeWee team started and he was a member of the executive of Football New Brunswick. His life was busy and full of joy. Everything was going according to plan.
            Then suddenly in the wee hours of May 26, 2003 God decided that Nick had completed his assigned tasks on this earth and instructed the angels to take him away. Andrea had lost her husband. Alexandre had lost his father. The New Brunswick football community had lost one of its most promising young men. On May 29, 2003 "Big Nick" was laid to rest by friends, former teammates, students and members of the New Brunswick football family.
             On Sunday, July 20, 2003 the Capital Area Gladiators and the Simonds Seadogs of the New Brunswick Senior Football League played the "Nick Desilets Memorial Football Game" at St. Stephen High School. The game raised $1,500 for a scholarship fund set up for young Alexandre. At halftime the Gladiators retired Nick's #58. Football New Brunswick, Moncton Football, Capital Area Minor Football, Fundy Minor Football and the New Brunswick Football Officials Association  combined to contribute an additional $2,500 to the fund. The New Brunswick High School Football League renamed its AA division championship trophy, the Nick Desilets Memorial Trophy.


New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, May 27, 2003
Border School Mourns Coach

            Flags were lowered and signs of grief were hung on a fence at the St. Stephen High School following Monday's death of teacher and football coach Nick Desilets. Football jerseys, banners, flowers and a football were placed along the school fence to honour Mr. Desilets.
            Classes were cancelled Monday as staff and students at St. Stephen High School learned a young teacher, the schools head football coach, had died. Nick Desilets, 29, will be remembered for his passion on the football field and in the classroom, for his love of teaching, coaching and his dedication to St. Stephen students.
            His wife, Andrea, also a teacher, is on maternity leave with the couple's first child, born a month ago. Mr. Desilets died at home early Monday and an autopsy was being conducted later in the day. Funeral arrangements were also being made. Jamie Waycott, the principal at St. Stephen High School, said Mr. Desilets, a Quebec City native, was dedicated to the French Immersion program and to the football team. "It's just a tremendous loss to our school", Mr. Waycott said, before a staff meeting to discuss plans for the school's reopening. "He was a great teacher, a great coach and a great guy".
           Mr. Desilets, a former Mount Allison University football player, was a friendly teacher and a professional, Mr. Waycott said. "He was a great big teddy bear kind of guy, just real friendly, personable, funny, witty and he had a real love for the community, for the town, for the kids in it. The kids will be impacted."
           Classes are expected to resume today.
           "I was devastated when I got the call," Mr. Waycott said. "There's no way we could have come in here today and functioned with 700 kids in the building." Some students and teachers went to school anyway to mourn and talk about Mr. Desilets. When school opens today, there will be grief counselors available.

Nick Desliets (first on left, wearing gray shirt) August, 2001

Championship a reflection of early building blocks


Someday in the coming years, Alex Desilets will gain more appreciation of the impact his father Nick had on a group of young football players St. Stephen.

For now though, the pre-schooler is enjoying the festivities associated with the Spartans' provincial 10-man football championship, where the school won the Nick Desilets Memorial Trophy, named after his father, who died suddenly four years ago, less than two months after Alex was born.

"Nick loved football and working with those boys - that was something he loved," said Andrea Desilets, Alex's mother, Nick's wife and a St. Stephen High School teacher.

"He loved every second of it."

Saturday was a difficult day in some ways for Andrea, as the Spartans played for the trophy honouring the memory of her husband, the man she meet while both were students at Mount Allison University. That was before they enrolled at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton for their education degrees, which helped them both land jobs in St. Stephen - Nick teaching French and her science.

Nick also carried his love affair for football to the area, was the school's head coach, and was beginning to develop a peewee program.

When he died, those plans were beginning to take shape and in some ways, Saturday's victory was a reflection of those early building blocks.

And while the team had been close before, they pulled it off with a thrilling 33-18 victory over the St. Malachy's Saints in Moncton, less than an hour from where Desilets played university ball.

"Not having Nick here is still difficult but on the other hand, to see the people remembering him like this, to see the game and the program growing here in St. Stephen is very special," said Andrea. "To share his memory like that is amazing."

In the post-game celebrations, many of the Spartans' players started to chant Desilets' name.

The atmosphere at the school this week is overwhemingly positive with the trophy in the school, players, proudly displaying their medals -and bruises - with plenty of smiles.

"The game they played - not just them but St. Malachy's - it was good football," said Andrea. "It was a good clean game and obviously everyone had worked really hard to be there and that is the way Nick felt football should be."

After the game Saturday, Alex was ready to celebrate in style.

"When they won, he was very excited," said Andrea. "He wore his Spartan hat to bed that night. He is getting old enough now to realize what it is. It is a special game."

Still with football, Spartans head coach Tom Hart says the school will officially recognize the team with an assembly Monday at 8:45 a.m.