UNITY — There hasn’t always been football in Unity. But then, Pat Orobko moved to town. His vision and mission became reinstating the high school football program. However, his vision did not stop there. He was a founder in developing the Unity Minor Football program and the minor football league.
Sept. 23, Warrior Field became officially now known as Pat Orobko field. This move has been a few years in the works and Orobko and some of his family, along with some former team members were on hand for the unveiling.
Orobko's dream started with a fundraising dinner that included Saskatchewan Roughrider Dan Rashovich, then University of Saskatchewan Huskies coach Brian Towriss as well as a representatives from the Saskatoon Hilltops. The goal was to ignite football passion in town and help with some start-up funding for the program Orobko planned to build.
Orobko didn’t just develop teams and programs, he spent hours working on the field. This included being part of the 2010 Run for Riderville committee with hopes of winning funding to crown the field. He initiated a work party to fence the field and plant trees, ensuring no rogue drivers damaged the work that had been done. He enlisted hands-on help and donors to build a clubhouse for the senior Warriors, and to store equipment. He was instrumental in enlisting donors and workers to erect the score and storage tower.
Along with getting a minor football program underway, he was instrumental in initiating a minor football day complete with dozens of prizes from connections he had with the Prairie Junior Football League and the U of S Huskies.
The list of his contributions is endless. One parent who had kids in both programs over the years said, “Simply put, none of this would be here without Pat. He saw an opportunity and he just didn’t throw it out there hoping something would catch on, he worked hands-on with every single step of both programs as well as the development and growth of both football and its facilities in Unity.”
It was also noted that even the new tradition of night lights football games for both junior and senior Warrior games was something Orobko had a hand in starting.
Several UCHS Warriors football players have gone on to CIS and PJFL teams, with Taylor Wallace being the most notable after playing several years in the U of S Huskies program and then signing with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Current UCHS Warriors football coach and UCHS teacher, Kyle Clark, had these words before the official sign and field name was unveiled: “This presentation has been in the works for almost two years. The Warrior Football parents' group, as well as the coaching staff here, are excited to finally have an opportunity to do this.
“At the end of the 2019 Football season, Pat Orobko retired, putting an end to a football coaching career that spanned more than two decades. Pat and Martin Berg began this program in 1998 and ran it together for years."
Clark acknowledged that during Orobko’s time as head coach, he created a culture of hard work and sacrifice, determination and discipline and built a provincial championship football program, as well as launching the Unity Minor Football program. In addition to all of this, Orobko planned, organized, oversaw and participated in construction of the entire facility fans saw before them as they watched the presentation, which included the field, the tower and the clubhouse.
“When Pat retired, the parents' group, myself and Rob Cey met to discuss how we honour a man that has made all of this possible for us, the kids in these programs and the community. One answer became overwhelmingly clear – legacy. We are all here because of what Pat built,” said Clark
Clark had the Wilson family unveil the new sign and said he took great pride in being the first person to welcome Orobko to Pat Orobko field.
"This is definitely an honour and I'm happy to share it with my family," said Orobko.
"Martin Berg and I worked hard to build the high school program and none of this would have been possible without continuous community support."
Orobko also joked that he had to pinch himself that he was alive as often these things occur posthumously.
“Football is the ultimate team sport, and the programs are in good hands moving forward. Go Warriors."
This new sign will remind the community and visitors that this field, and these football facilities, are a legacy created by someone who’s vision created a football field of dreams in Unity.