For over 40 years, the old uprights at Ron Atchison field have stood tall for many Saskatoon Hilltops games, although their only action over the last six has come during team practice.
That longtime run came to an end this month as the golden endzone anchors were torn down, making way for a new pair of CFL regulation goalposts, which stand 20 feet tall.
This was all made possible by a donation from a pair of Hilltop parents, Dean and Sherry Kleiter.
“They basically just said, we really appreciate everything that this program has done for our son,” Hilltops president Chris Hengen-Braun said. “We want to give back,”
There could not be a more fitting way for the Kleiters to give back to the team they’ve been a part of for four seasons. Their son Rylan served as both a receiver and one of the top kickers in the Canadian Junior Football League. In 2019 alone, he booted 28 field goals for the blue and gold.
“Being part of the Hilltops family for the last five years, it’s been a wonderful experience,” mother Sherry said. “We want to keep that legacy going and hope that a lot of young men coming up, and girls, too, coming up that will be able to enjoy the facility.”
Father Dean echoed his wife’s statement, although he responded with what he called a ‘Sarge-ism,’ referencing the team’s long-tenured head coach, Tom Sargeant.
“At the end of the day, you know, most people don’t notice the goalposts. But, as parents of the field goal kicker, we sure do,” Dean chuckled. “And the kickers may come and go, but the goalposts will always be there.”
Even though the old posts are gone, the new uprights won’t be installed for a week or two. Even so, Hengen-Braun says he wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of kickers out clearing snow off the field in order to test them out when they are up.
When asked if her son would be one of those kickers, Sherry Kleiter said with a laugh, “Absolutely, absolutely, yes.”
“And I might even help take off the snow,” she added.
As for the longstanding uprights that have now been uprooted, they’re heading to North Battleford, where they’ll still serve as practice poles for a football team in Saskatchewan.
“We ended up chatting with the head coach of the North Battleford Vikings, Mike Humenny, and he said, ‘Yeah, absolutely, we want those poles,'” Hengen-Braun said.