Quebec footballer Michael Souls, who wore the Montreal Aloate colours, died at the age of 54 from Lou Gehrig’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), on Wednesday.
A native of Pointe Claire, Souls joined the Spurs as a free agent in 1996 when the team—formerly the Baltimore Stallions—joined the Canadian Football League. For four seasons, he created loopholes for backswing Mike Pringle, while protecting quarterback Tracy Hamm, both of whom were inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
“The slippers were Alouette’s face when the team returned to the league. Alouettes president Mario Cecchini said in a statement that he was a true leader in the team and in the community. We will all remember a fighter, a true soldier, and we will miss him.”
In his first campaign in Montreal, Soles was named to the CFL All-Star Team, as well as winning the Lew Hayman Cup as the Eastern Conference Canadian Player of the Year. In the opening game for the Aloates upon their return to Percival-Molson Stadium on November 2, 1997, he scored his first touchdown in a 45-35 win over the British Columbia Lions in the semi-finals of the division.
“Our thoughts are with his family and friends,” said Alouettes General Manager Danny Maciocia, who ran Soles in Montreal. He was a great footballer and always saw Alouette as his second family. He fought to the end even though he was sick. He never gave up and was always smiling. This guy made an impact on my career, he was more than just a friend.”
Soles was the first Canadian college player selected for the 1989 CFL Draft by Edmonton (fifth overall), playing seven seasons. He was elected to the Northern Division All-Star Team in 1995. He retired from the Canadian Football League in April 2000 with 3,007 yards at 579 bearing his name. In his 11 years on the ring, he also had 3,501 yards on 325 hits and 70 touchdowns on attack, including 45 lunges.
Prior to his CFL career, Soles led McGill University to the Vanier Cup in 1987. He then helped Edmonton win the Gray Cup in 1993.
Batten publicly announced his illness in February 2013.