AG Signs Canadian International Wing Jeff Hassler
AUSTIN, TX (November 17, 2020) Austin Gilgronis is elated to announce the signing of the world-renowned winger, Jeff Hassler. Hassler raised the 2019 MLR Championship with the Seattle Seawolves and brings with him loads of international experience along with an exuberant personality.
“From the coaches’ opening pitch they’ve preached this mantra of having fun and enjoying not only playing rugby but this uniquely experiential city,” says Hassler. “That was exactly what I was looking for, and I think the team they’re building in Austin that’s made up of characters that are wanting to have a really memorable experience this season.”
Hassler scored 25 tries in 88 Pro14 appearances with the Ospreys from 2013 to 2018 and became a household name in Wales. His decision to not re-sign with the club following the 2018 season came as a surprise to many, but inside Hassler had lost a bit of passion for the game. “It started to feel like a job, and that’s never what sports were supposed to be for me,” says Hassler. “I think I was just ready for something new.”
A well-timed phone call from Canadian international teammate Phil Mack fell on open ears from Hassler. The Seattle Seawolves’ player-coach Mack lured in Hassler with a half promise, “Come play with me in Seattle and we’ll have a run at the 2019 Rugby World Cup and if it doesn’t work out we’ll hang em’ up.” Hassler signed on the dotted line, scored 8 tries in 16 Seawolves appearances, won the MLR Championship, and started all four matches for Canada at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
This offseason Hassler got another call from his agent. AGs head coach Sam Harris had expressed interest in Hassler. “I knew Austin had been in a bit of disarray the last couple seasons but in talking with some of the Canadian boys there was word that things were really getting turned around,” says Hassler. “I’ve been really liking the signings and the buzz around the team and I just can’t wait to get down to Austin.”
Sam Harris liked what he had heard from Hassler, “Jeff adds to the AGs weirdness with this alternative lifestyle and his wild spirit he’ll fit right into the city’s wavelength,” Harris laughs. “Jeff comes from a different angle, he’s a fierce competitor who can sniff out an opportunity and he’s a premier finisher.”
When asked if the head coach had purposefully signed flamboyant characters Harris countered, “Ok while it may appear that I have actively recruited characters, I actually just intentionally looked for good blokes that work hard and are hungry for success,” says Harris. “Fortunately a high percentage of these guys have charismatic personalities.”
Jeff Hassler is yet another unique personality to join the AGs, another Canadian in the club, and one more crossover athlete coming from the college football ranks. From 2008 to 2010, Hassler was a star running back for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team. Hassler turned down opportunities in the CFL to pursue rugby and found his way onto the Canadian national team just two years after making the switch. “I still love football and I give football a lot of credit for building some of the physical attributes I use as a rugby player today.” Hassler joins fellow former college football players turned rugby players Dominic Akina and Rodrick Waters and fellow Canadian Moe Abdelmonem on the AG roster.
Hassler hopes to win a championship in Austin, but more than anything he wants to make the most of his time exploring Texas. “Lifting that shield in Seattle was the first real championship I had ever won and if we can do it down in Austin it will be so sweet,” says Hassler. “But there are so many small victories to be had in Austin and for me, that’s what I’m looking forward to most.”
Hassler loves to explore, whether it’s hiking, sailing, scuba diving, bungee jumping or flying. Well Jeff, you’re in the right place.
Welcome to the AGs, Jeff Hassler!
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