Wager earns MVP award

Former Muskie football standout Gary Wager capped off a productive career with the Mount Allison Mounties by earning the team’s most valuable offensive player award last month.
Wager, who starred at wide receiver for the Mounties, said the award was a gratifying end to his university playing days.
“It’s nice to get rewarded with that [the award] in my last year because I’ve put in four years of pretty hard work,” Wager said. “It just shows me that the hard work I did kind of paid off in the end.”
Playing in all of Mount Allison’s eight regular-season games, Wager finished fifth in receiving in the Atlantic Conference, pulling in 25 catches for 272 yards.
He was the only Mounties’ wideout to crack the conference’s top 10 in receiving.
While he enjoyed a great deal of personal success on the field, the Mounties struggled to win games throughout Wager’s career at Mount Allison.
“It was pretty discouraging at times,” Wager said of the team’s inability to win. “Towards the end of my third year, it was really tough.”
However, things would take a turn for the better when the Mounties decided to make a coaching change prior to Wager’s fourth season. The switch re-energized Wager, motivating him to keep working hard in practice and in the weight room.
New head coach Steve Lalonde immediately developed a good relationship with Wager, coming to rely on his wealth of playing experience in the conference.
At various times throughout the season, the rookie head coach went so far as to incorporate some of Wager’s suggestions into the offensive game plan.
“In a way he was like a coach on the field, as well,” noted Lalonde. “He’d been here for four or five years. He’d been through the ups and downs of the program. He knew the conference very well.
“Me being in my first year last season, I relied on him a lot.”
Although he was the Mounties’ most consistent offensive threat on the field, Lalonde believes the loss of Wager, who graduated with a degree in marketing this spring, will be felt most in the locker-room.
“The biggest thing we’ll miss is his consistency and his work ethic,” Lalonde remarked. “He was one of the guys who would come out every day and give you a hundred percent, whether it was a practice, game day, or lifting weights.
“He was looked upon as a role model for some of the younger players.”
Wager is unsure whether he’ll continue playing football now that he’s graduated from Mount Allison, saying it will depend largely on where he finds a job.
But one thing he’s sure of is that he has no regrets concerning his decision to play for the Mounties despite all the losing seasons.
“It was great. I wouldn’t make any other decision,” Wager said of his time at Mount Allison. “Even though we didn’t have a lot of team success, I met a lot of great people and we had a great time. It was a great experience.
“It would have been nice, obviously, to win some more games, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way as far as the school goes,” he added.