When Toronto Argonaut player Mike Bradwell got his turn to take the Grey Cup to his hometown this winter, his first stop was Northlea Public School.
Excited students, teachers and local fans crowded into the gymnasium on Jan. 28 to celebrate with their famous Northlea alumnus and the Argos’ victory last November.
One of the proudest in attendance was Bradwell’s former gym teacher and coach, John Ellis. Ellis, who’s been teaching at Northlea the past 17 years, remembers Bradwell as a talented and well-rounded kid.
“He didn’t talk about a career in professional sports,” says Ellis, “but you could tell he was talented, even when it was just hanging around the gym after basketball practice.”
Ellis remembers when Bradwell participated in a school sports day and competed with several grade 7 boys in the running long jump on the Northlea field.
“Everyone else just ran and tried to jump as far as they could,” says Ellis, “but Bradwell, he ran, he jumped, and then he totally cleared the pit. In all my years at Northlea, no one has ever come close to doing that!”
Ellis also remembers Bradwell participating in the school’s variety night where he and four others played The Backstreet Boys.
After Northlea, Bradwell visited Leaside High, where he met up with LHS’s head football coach Jim Georgiadis, and some of the players on the Leaside Lancers. A few years ago, Georgiadis and defensive coordinator Csaba Vegh renamed the Lancer’s top performer award (for both athletics and academics) after Bradwell.
Wearing #88, Bradwell just completed his second year as wide receiver for the Argos.
He was born and raised in Leaside, played hockey at Leaside High School and then in grade 12 switched to football. While attending McMaster University he played for the McMaster Marauders, where he distinguished himself as a standout receiver and set several winning records.
In 2008 Bradwell was drafted by the Canadian Football League, but delayed joining the team until he completed his degree in civil engineering.