Few athletes can be called “triple threats.” Stefan Ptaszek, however, is one of those rare exceptions. A proud product of the Burlington school system Stef attended Nelson High School where he starred in football, basketball, and baseball. As talented as he was in three sports, football was his first love. In 1987 he was named Nelson’s Junior Football Most Valuable Player and Junior Athlete of the Year; in 1989 Senior Football MVP and Athlete of the Year; and in the same year he captained the Nelson Lords to the Halton Senior Football Championship.
Bigger things lay ahead for Stefan. Upon his high school graduation, he enrolled at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) and began a distinguished four-year career on the gridiron. Stef played wide receiver for Laurier. To this day this accomplished wide athlete holds the career record for both receptions and yards gained for the Hawks. During his illustrative university career, Stef was named an All-Canadian three times. In 1991 he was a member of the talented Hawks team that won both the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Championship (Yates Cup) and the Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) Championship (Vanier Cup). In 1999 Stef was inducted into the WLU Sports Hall of Fame. And in 2011 he was named to the Laurier Golden Hawks Team of the Century.
In 1991 Stefan was drafted in the first round by the CFL’s B.C. Lions He played in the CFL for four seasons with the B.C. Lions; Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Toronto Argonauts. Although his CFL career was short-circuited by injury football remained his passion. In 2003 Stef returned to his alma mater as the offensive coordinator for the football team. He was a key cog on the Hawks coaching staff guiding WLU to the Yates Cup (2004 and 2005) and the Vanier Cup (2005). With the 2006 season on the horizon, McMaster had an opening for a head coach. The existing coach at the time, Marcelo Campanaro decided to return to full-time teaching with the Halton Board of Education. Mac wisely selected Stef to lead the Marauders.
In 2011 Mac won its first-ever Vanier Cup. And under Stef’s tutelage the maroon and grey made CIS history establishing the longest winning streak in CIS football winning 21 consecutive games spanning the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Stefan has earned a reputation as a creative offensive mind but perhaps more importantly he is revered by those who have played for him. Ready for a new challenge, on May 5, 2016, Stefan was named the offensive coordinator for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. After two years with the Cats, he decided to return to the coaching ranks of Canadian university football. In 2018 he was named the offensive coordinator of the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. The Burlington Sports Hall of Fame welcomes Stefan Ptaszek – a gifted athlete, coach, and exceptional leader of young men - into the Class of 2018.