Former Okanagan Sun player loses battle to cancer

Cancer takes ex-Sun player

The Okanagan Sun are mourning a loss within their family.

Noel Chipman, one of the most prolific running backs in team history, passed away recently in Lethbridge following a brief fight with pancreatic cancer.

He was only 52.

Chipman was born in South Vietnam in 1970 but came to Canada a year later when he was adopted by Dennis and Juanita Chipman.

"He grew to become a strong young man with an outstanding athletic ability. He was a fierce competitor who excelled at both track and football," his obituary reads.

"If you knew Noel, you were witness to his wit, charm, and charismatic personality."

Chipman played four seasons with the Sun from 1989 to 1992. Over that time he rushed for 3,308 yards and 39 touchdowns.

Those 39 touchdowns are still a Sun career record and third all-time in Canadian Junior Football.

He was named rookie of the year in 1989, the team's top offensive back his first two seasons and most popular player in 1992.

Former head coach Lawrence Nagy was saddened by the news.

"I would have to say that pound for pound he was one of if not the toughest football players I have ever coached. He had a big heart and even a bigger smile. He wasn’t a big guy but he made up for his lack of size with incredible quickness and overall speed," said Nagy in a statement.

"He also had a habit of running over people twice his size rather than running around them. When I think of Noel I smile and what I see in my minds eye is one very happy young man with a twinkle in his eye and a mischievous but infectious grin on his face.

It was an honour to have known him and be his coach. We are all going to miss you Noel."

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