Fleiszer the Tom Pate nominee

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

The day before every Edmonton Eskimo home game, Tim Fleiszer organizes the troops for a heartwarming road trip.

Regardless of how important the game is, Fleiszer and a few of his teammates visit patients at the Stollery Children's Hospital.

"It is a chance to try and do something to give back (to the community) a little bit because I feel like I have been really blessed in my life," said the 30-year-old defensive end.

The regular visits are just one reason why Fleiszer is this year's Eskimo nominee for the Tom Pate Memorial Award, which recognizes outstanding sportsmanship and dedication to the CFL and the community.

The award was created in 1976, one year after Tom Pate suffered an aneurysm on the field while playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at the young age of 23. Fleiszer is visiting youngsters suffering from a variety of problems.

"You see some kids that come in that are in pretty rough shape," he explained, "and then you see them a month later and they have recovered a lot and it is good to see them up and cheerful."

But like a true team player, Fleiszer doesn't take credit for spreading smiles through the hospital rooms.

"The star of the whole program is Patrick Kabongo just because he is so big," said Fleiszer of the six-foot six, 315-pound offensive lineman.

"We nicknamed him the Big Show because he really is the show. The kids love him and he relates to them really well."

Kelly Wiltshire, Charles Alston, Davis Sanchez, Keyuo Craver and Rob Leblanc have also taken Fleiszer's invitation to brighten the day of the youngsters.

And it was a large list of Fleiszer's teammates that voted for him to receive the team nomination for the award, which will be handed out during the annual CFL awards dinner during Grey Cup week.

Determined through the CFL player's association, the Tom Pate award was last handed to an Eskimo in 2001 when Rick Walters received the honour.

Hector Pothier and David Boone are the only other Eskimos to ever receive the award.


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