UNB player’s 1966 punt recognized as longest in U Sports history

Thomas Pinckard's longest punt in Canadian university football history at 114 yards has now been recognized 53 years after the kick occurred. (Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics via CP)

FREDERICTON — A new record for the longest punt in Canadian university football history — 114 yards — has now been recognized more than half a century after it occurred.

The kick, by Thomas Pinckard of the University of New Brunswick, was launched on Sept. 24, 1966 in a game between the Red Bombers and Saint Dunstan’s University, which would later become the University of Prince Edward Island.

Pinckard booted the football from his team’s 21-yard line and it bounced over the heads of the Saint Dunstan’s kick returners, across the goal line and out the back of the end zone at UNB’s College Field, which at the time had end zones that were 25-yards long.

The university says the kick was recorded at the time as 89 yards.

However, after a comprehensive review that included analysis of College Field blueprints and sworn affidavits from Red Bombers teammates and the game’s official timer, the Fredericton school says the governing body of university sports in Canada now recognizes Pinckard’s punt travelled 114 yards — 13 yards longer than the previous national record.

Aaron Gazendam, playing for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, kicked a 101-yard punt in a game against Western on Sept. 20, 2014.

UNB also says it believes the kick is longer than any punt recorded at any level of university or professional football in North America.

It says the longest punt in NCAA history is 99 yards by Nevada’s Pat Brady, in October of 1950.

The longest punt in NFL history travelled 98 yards, off the foot of Steve O’Neal of the New York Jets in September 1969, while the longest punt in CFL history — and previously the longest punt ever recorded — is a 108-yard kick by Zenon Andrusyshyn of the Toronto Argonauts in October 1977.

"I think it’s pretty neat," Pinckard said in a news release.

"There were so many elements to that kick that you couldn’t repeat. The weather conditions, the fact it wasn’t wet. Had it been, it wouldn’t have got the bounces it got."

In an interesting twist, the new record is now held by a player who wasn’t even UNB’s punter. At the time, Pinckard was the team’s long snapper.

"I could kick," he said. "I would always come out to practice and guys would shag punts for me, but I wasn’t the kicker because I was the long ball snapper, so I couldn’t be in both positions at the same time. But the kicker got hurt, so that day, I was the punter."

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