Drummond's impact as a star player, coach, friend and family man lives on in an incredible legacy with Griffins

Griffins lead assistant coach Daniel Drummond, seen surveying the field before the Griffins played Alberta in a 2018 game, passed away at age 37 last week (Chris Piggott photo).
Griffins lead assistant coach Daniel Drummond, seen surveying the field before the Griffins played Alberta in a 2018 game, passed away at age 37 last week (Chris Piggott photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Constant good-natured banter, complete with Milhouse's fluttering eyebrows and comedic routines in strange voices were commonplace amongst the Griffins men's soccer coaching staff when Daniel (Dano) Drummond was around.

But one memory sticks out the most for MacEwan head coach Adam Loga about his good friend and lead assistant coach who passed away last week at the age of 37 after a courageous battle with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC).

"One that we as a team will always remember sharing with Dano was back in late October 2021," he said in an emotional interview. "Dano, understandably, of course, couldn't make the away trip down to Calgary. Lindsay had just given birth to their son Harrison literally days before. We needed two wins in two days against an undefeated U of C team to clinch our first-ever (Canada West) playoff berth and we got them.

"Naturally, when the final whistle went and program history was made, I was looking for Dano because it was a moment we always chatted about," Loga continued. "So, we did the next best thing – I quickly grabbed my phone and called him on FaceTime as I knew he was watching the live stream, tossed my phone into the lads' celebration huddle and when he picked up, he was right in the middle of it all. 

"Guys still bring it up. It was special for us not only to celebrate our first playoff berth, but also for all of us to celebrate Harrison (his son) with Dano as well. It was a special day."

The Griffins' 2021-22 coaching staff included (from left) head coach Adam Loga and assistant coaches Paul Hamilton, Daniel Drummond, Dhee Govender and Srdjan Gajic.

It's an endearing memory that the entire team will always have of their beloved assistant coach, who made everyone around him better. A week later, he joined the team in person for their inaugural Canada West playoff match.

"He was able to make the trip to Victoria to be there for our first playoff match less than two weeks after Harrison was born," said Loga. "It just shows not only Dano's commitment to the program, but Lindsay's and their family's commitment, as well. Thank you."

On Friday, family and friends will gather in a Celebration of Life for Drummond at St. Albert Alliance Church (200 Villeneuve Rd) at 1 p.m., with a live streaming link also made available for those who can't attend in person. 

Find his obituary with full Celebration of Life details, as well as a donation link to help his family here.

After playing pro with the Edmonton Aviators in 2004, Drummond joined MacEwan as a player for three seasons from 2006-09, amassing 23 career goals (third-most by a Griffin) and winning three-straight team MVP awards – a feat unmatched in the program's entire 40-year history.

Drummond led the Griffins to the only national medal in program history, too – a CCAA bronze in 2006 – where he made the tournament all-star team. This came after he and his mates delivered one of five ACAC men's soccer championship banners the Griffins have to their credit.

Daniel Drummond was one of the best players in Griffins men's soccer program history, scoring 23 regular season goals in three ACAC campaigns from 2006-09.

After serving as Griffins' team captain for all three seasons, Drummond continued that leadership in the soccer world by becoming the Program Director at the Sherwood Park District Soccer Association and serving as a coach at St. Edmund's Junior High Soccer Academy. 

A return to his alma mater was tailor-made in 2017 as Loga brought Drummond on board as his lead assistant coach. Over five seasons, he helped the program grow from non-contender into one that now serves up a challenge to anyone in the conference.

"He gave close to a decade to the program in both leagues, accomplishing feats both individually and collectively that the program has never seen," said Loga.

Griffins coaches Daniel Drummond, left, Dan Steiner and Adam Loga watch their team practice prior to the 2018 Canada West season (Chris Piggott photo).

Drummond actively served as a Griffins assistant coach through the 2021-22 season before he stepped back to focus on his health concerns – namely a search for a life-saving liver transplant, as explained in this article, and well-documented on social media under Dano's Liver Journey.

Sadly, his family posted the news of his passing there on Saturday.

"Above all, Dano's loved ones will forever cherish him as an exceptional father, devoted husband, and compassionate family-oriented man," the Facebook post reads. "Due to his compassion and kindness, he had a natural gift for connecting with people, and an intuitive knack for inspiring and uplifting those he encountered. He loved all sports, particularly soccer, a sport he excelled at. He was widely known and loved by those in the soccer community, where he played soccer all his life and coached for the past decade."

The Griffins men's soccer program will never forget his impact on and off the field.

"Everyone in life needs a 'Dano' … he's just the best," wrote Loga in an e-mail. "He made me and everyone around him a better version of themselves. Any person he came across, whether it was one minute, one year, one decade, he made such a positive impact. And for that, we are blessed to have him, in our lives at MacEwan. 

"And personally, I am forever grateful to have him in my life as a brother."

Members of the Griffins, including assistant coach Daniel Drummond, bottom left, and head coach Adam Loga, bottom right, enjoy a meal together in an undated photo. The camaraderie they enjoyed with Drummond will forever live on in their hearts (Courtesy, Adam Loga).