Former Montreal Aloysius player Michael Souls died Wednesday at the age of 54 from Lou Gehrig disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Souls joined Sparrows as a free agent when he joined the Baltimore Stallions – Canadian Football League in 1996. Over four seasons, he created gaps for Mike Pringle to run back, defending quarterback Tracy Ham, both of whom were inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
During his first campaign in Montreal, he was selected to the Souls CFL All-Star Team, winning the Lou Heyman Trophy for Best Canadian Player in the Eastern Division. After returning to Percival-Molson Stadium on November 2, 1997, he made his first touchdown 45-35 against the British Columbia Lions in the Alloyts Open, Division Semifinals.
“Our hearts are with his family and friends,” said Danny Maciosia, general manager of Aloys, which manages Souls in Montreal. He was a great football player and always saw the Aloys as his second family. He fought to the end despite being ill. He never gave up and he was always smiling. This guy has influenced my career, he is so much more than a friend. ”
“When the team returns to the league, the face of the Aloyts is the Souls. He is a true leader in the team and in the community,” said Mario Sechini, president of the Aloyts.
Edmonton (fifth overall) was the first Canadian varsity player to be selected for the 1989 CFL Draft, where he played for seven seasons. He was selected to the Northern Section All-Star Team in 1995. He retired from the CFL in April 2000 at 579 with 3,007 yards. In 11 years on the circuit, he had 3501 yards in 325 catches and 70 touchdowns per offense, including 45 runs.
Prior to his CFL career, Souls led McGill University to the Vanier Cup in 1987. He later won the Edmonton 1993 Gray Cup.
Souls publicly announced his illness in February 2013.