When discussing Karson Turpie’s contributions to the Westman Wolverines, it takes head coach Brady Dane a while to get to the all-star calibre safety’s on-field excellence.
“Karson does so much for the team. … We got him his own key to our facility, because he was consistently showing up earlier than the coaches to practice, and he’s the guy getting the equipment out and set up before practices more often than not,” Dane said. “More than anyone else, coaches included, Karson is responsible for building the tightknit culture of our team, getting the guys together off the field, and welcoming new players with good humour. He commands respect from his teammates and sets the tone for us on gameday with his intensity, his skill level, and willingness to sacrifice his body on every single play.”
The former Elkhorn resident is in his fifth and final season with the Wolverines. The Brandon-based team competes in the Manitoba Major Junior Football League. It gives athletes ages 18 to 23 a place to keep playing competitively on the gridiron.
“He has lots of passion for the game and is a key part to our team’s defence,” said Kola’s Dustin Siemens, a Wolverines running back. “He’s a team leader and captain. It will be hard to see him go after this season.”
Dane couldn’t agree more.
“He’s a great football player, and a great person, and I really can’t say enough how much we’ll miss having him on the team,” said the head coach who hopes that Turpie, who coaches youth football, returns to the Wolverines as a coach in the future.
In an interesting twist to his career, in his final Wolverines’ season Turpie played safety fulltime for the first season ever.
“I wish I had started playing it years ago,” the son of Cynthia Mathison and Corey Turpiesaid. “But the things I learned from playing linebacker, halfback and corner have definitely helped me play safety even better.”
When asked about being a leader, Turpie shrugged off the question.
“I am a captain, but I don't think of myself as a leader,” he said. “I do try to make sure that everyone knows what they're doing, and I just try to lead by example.”
In 2016, Turpie played a level up with the Regina Thunder of the Canadian Junior Football League. He had fun but returned to the Wolverines. The carpenter with Brandon’s Struth Construction has greatly enjoyed his time with the team.
“I'll remember all the guys I've played with through the years, the big plays, the hard work and fun we had at practices and the team bonding at parties and team breakfasts,” Turpie said.