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Assault on the Adrenaline

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Written by Tim Edsell

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We always show up early on game day, often times to the dismay of my wife and kids.  But my favorite part of a Grizzlies football game always happens before the game starts.

After pre-game stretching and drills are finished, the players take a lap around the field.  Kids and adults alike wait eagerly by the wall for the players to pass by offering high-5’s and words of encouragement.  I had never seen this kind of interaction between players and fans before at any kind of sporting event.

For me, this is the defining moment of the game; the unification of what has become known as, “GRIZZ NATION”.

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"Movement" answers call for Grizzlies

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Written by Tim Edsell

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Welcome to the game no one thought they’d play

Kevin Alexander, appropriately sporting a Grizzlies Blue wig and orange face paint, hadn't been sure how to break the bad news to his son Robert.

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Grizzlies Clawed in season opener

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Written by Staff Reporter

Fbks Grizzlies Tony Taylor

Fairbanks Grizzlies suffered a heartbreaking loss in their 2011 season opener against  the Wenatchee Venom.

        “It obviously didn’t go the way we wanted it to,” Coach Robert Fuller said of the Grizzlies 45-37 loss Sunday evening at the Carlson Center.

You could see the disappointment on Quarterback Ryan Ratekin’s face as he graciously presented a smile to the many young fans seeking autographs after the game.

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Thornton-Jack#72  Nicholas Thornton-Jack

After playing his last game of football at the University of Mary in Bismarck North Dakota, Six-Foot-Three Nicholas Thornton-Jack figured he had played his last football game as a player.

That is until he received an unexpected phone call from Robert Fuller.  The newly hired head coach of the Fairbanks Grizzlies.  Fuller was looking for players to fill his roster and remembered Thornton-Jack from his days of coaching at UMary.

The two first met at UMary in Bismarck North Dakota where Fuller the offensive line coach was and Thornton-Jack was an incoming freshman offensive lineman.

“I fit the demographics of the offensive lineman he wanted,” Thornton-Jack said, “so he called and asked if I still had the desire to keep on playing the game?”

“Getting back in the game was pretty big,” Thornton-Jack said.


 

New to Alaska and far from home; it didn’t take long for Thornton-Jack to find out how the Grizzly team takes care of its players.  He was approached by Josh Collins who wanted to sponsor him through a program called Adopt a Grizzly.

The team provides food, a place to live and transportation for its players but those things only meets the players’ most basic needs.  The Adopt a Grizzly program matches players, like Thornton-Jack with families, like the Collins family who take the players into their homes.  They share meals, allow players to do laundry and include them in family while showing them around Fairbanks and the surrounding area.

The Adopt a Grizzly program provides players with a sense of belonging and unification between the players, team and community.

One of the things that coach preaches is us is to honor those who pray for you.  The people who hope you do well is who you should playing for.  Our fans are the ones who hope we do well and that is why we play so hard.  Our fans are as connected to us as we are to them.

It’s something I haven’t had in my life since high school,” Thornton-Jack said.”  I can only compare the fans to the insanity of when my high school team went to the state championship my junior year.”

“Back and Bismarck LT Brown and I were big bingo players so we go to Chena Bingo all the time and go and grab a bite to eat anywhere we can,” Thornton-Jack said.

Besides playing football and bingo Thornton-Jack enjoys hunting, fishing and camping and is a First Year Black Belt in Taekwondo.

I am completely content I have no regrets with my career if the IFL is as high as I get; because I have had a blast playing for my family, playing for the fans that appreciate me.