A terrible tragedy has made Jason Maas the new head

A terrible tragedy has made Jason Maas the new head coach of the Alouettes – Le Journal de Montréal

Former quarterback turned Alouettes head coach Jason Maas was only 10 years old when his father, Gary, a police officer, was killed while on duty in Arizona. With an open heart, he agreed to confide in this event that turned his life and that of his loved ones upside down.

“He had a huge impact on my life, even if he was only there for ten years,” explained Jason at the start of the training camp, which begins on Sunday. When I think of him, I remember something positive rather than the negative aspects of what happened. But it wasn’t always easy for me to apply this mindset. It took a long time to get there.”

The drama happened on April 9, 1986, more than 37 years ago. Two twins were then arrested in Yuma, Arizona by Gary Maas as they got off a Greyhound bus from El Centro, California. After a complaint from passengers, he wanted to conduct a search according to witnesses testifying at the trial, but one of them shot him. The only 29-year-old police officer died there.

Gary Maas notably left behind his children Jason and Stephanie. Separated from the mother of his two children, the police officer would never meet his daughter, Letty, either, as his new wife was pregnant at the time of the tragedy.

“To this day, I still try to make the best out of everything I experience,” says Jason. And for my father, these 10 years with him were very formative. When an event like that happens and you’re only 10 years old, you can relate to all of your memories and I have very good ones with my father.

As hardworking as dad

Before Gary Maas was killed, he was able to watch his son kick off his first soccer balls in Arizona, very close to the border with Mexico. He was also a staunch fan when Jason played baseball.

“I still have memories of everything, even though it’s been 37 years,” Jason said. I can still imagine it.”

Among the legacies of his late father, Maas singles out his hard work.

“I think I inherited his work ethic, he was an overly hard working man,” Maas said. I was always proud to be as diligent as he was. I’ve seen him succeed in that way. He told me what he wanted to become through hard work. So I thought to achieve my own goals.

An appreciation of life

Over the years, the little boy from Yuma developed into an excellent quarterback, progressed through the NCAA with the University of Oregon Ducks, and then maximized his talent during 11 seasons in the Canadian Hockey League. Football. Maas played nine seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos, also played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and briefly for the Alouettes. He has been an instructor for the past decade and was hired as a head coach in Montreal last December.

Jason Maas wearing the colors of the Edmonton Eskimos in 2005.

Photo Darryl Dyck/Edmonton Sun/Archive

Jason Maas wearing the colors of the Edmonton Eskimos in 2005.

“Anytime anyone is dealing with the loss of a loved one, especially someone who has an impact on their personal life like your father, you have a choice to go one way or the other,” he said. Maas. It was very difficult for me for a few years because I was very young […] Above all, I believe that there I found a motivation to become the best possible person every day, without ever thinking too much about tomorrow and enjoying the present. I value life and relationships with others.”

Like a second family…

Jason Maas believes his journey after the tragedy that took his father’s life when he was a child could have been a lot more arduous. In addition to the support from his extended family, the head coach of the Alouettes is especially grateful to the Thrower family.

Through meeting Jake, who remains his best friend to this day, young Jason also developed a bond with his parents, Randy and Gay.

“His father and mother were like my second parents,” says Maas, touched. I met them a year after my father passed away and they influenced my journey. It was a blessing to have her in my life.”

Of course, Maas speaks of his friend Jake with great affection and reveals that he excelled in baseball more than football, having also helped organize the 2003 Montreal Expos at the AA and AAA levels. Werfer, an infielder, was the teammate of Peter Bergeron, Val Pascucci and Termell Sledge, among others.

“Jake played for the Edmonton Trappers in the AAA, but before that he was with the San Diego Padres for several years,” Maas said. He was unlucky. He did very well in the AAA but never played in Major League Baseball.

release your anger

As much as Maas feels Jake Thrower was unlucky in his baseball career, he feels very privileged to have found him on his path in his early teens.

“I was lucky to have a good environment, a very good mother, a good father-in-law, family and friends who helped me,” Maas summarized. It was easy for me to find people to talk about, but despite everything, the anger was high.

Randy and Gay Thrower have helped him through it all, as has his best friend, a former Expos contender.