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LABINJO, Michael “Mike”

July 8, 1980 – September 21, 2018

It is with great sadness that family and friends of Mike Labinjo, announce his sudden passing on Friday, September 21, 2018 at the age of 38 years in Calgary, Alberta.

Mike will be lovingly remembered by his beloved daughter Hailey, mother Margaret; brother Randy (Lacey) and close family friends Frank, Dana and James Giffen. Mike will also be forever remembered by his nieces and nephews, step brothers and sisters and dear friends across North America.

Mike Labinjo was born in Toronto on July 8, 1980. To all that knew him, he was a kind, generous, articulate and gentle giant. He was a humble and fun loving joker with an unassuming charm.

In his teen years, Mike attended St. Michael’s College School, graduating in 1999. It is at St. Mike’s that Binjo found his love and passion for the game of football. He excelled and proudly played football for the Kerry Blues winning the GTA Metro Bowl in 1998 under coach Paul Forbes.

After earning a scholarship, Mike attended Michigan State University and played football for the Spartans and Coach Nick Saban, Bobby Williams and JL Smith from 2000-2003 where he was named a honourable mention All-Big-Ten selection and the team’s defensive MVP in his senior year. He led the Spartans in sacks in 2001 and tied for the team lead in interceptions in 2003, and remains ninth in team history in tackles for a loss with 35.

Mike graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Finance in 2003 beginning his seven-year professional football career.

After being selected in the 2003 CFL Draft by the Calgary Stampeders, Mike elected to sign as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles, making the team and playing in the team’s 24-21 Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots.

In Mike’s NFL career with the Eagles, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins from 2003-2007, he appeared in 10 career NFL games, registering 19 tackles and a forced fumble.

Mike came home to Canada, joining the Calgary Stampeders on July 16, 2007. In 44 games with the Stampeders from 2007-2010, Mike recorded 61 defensive tackles including nine tackles for a loss, seven special teams tackles, six sacks, seven knockdowns and two fumble recoveries.

Mike played a critical role in Calgary’s 22-18 win over B.C. in the West Division final registering 8 tackles and 3 sacks followed by a 22-14 Grey Cup win over Montreal with three tackles, one sack and four pass deflections. It was Mike’s proudest memory as a football player.

Mike loved Calgary and considered it his home. His biggest regret after retiring in 2011 was that he would no longer play football before his beloved fans in Calgary.

Mike remained in Calgary following his football career working at Solengo Capital and First Service Residential where he was most recently a Regional Manager.

Mike will be remembered as a great father, son and brother. A friend to all with a great laugh, warm smile and friendly stories.

Funeral Service will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY (Deerfoot South, 12281 – 40th Street S.E., Calgary, AB) on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. In lieu of flowers, A Go Fund Me account to raise funds for his daughter Hailey will be active by Friday, September 28, 2018. All donations in memory of Mike will be warmly appreciated.

In living memory of Mike Labinjo, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Deerfoot South, 12281 – 40th STREET S.E., Calgary, AB T2Z 4E6, Telephone: 403-203-0525.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Brandon Cornthwaite :

    Mike was a great man. One of the best I have met. Going to miss him. My sincere condolences to Hailey and the rest of the family. A true legend. Off to play Football with the Angels. Never forgotten

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  2. The man amongst boy’s ..
    You my friend are a legend and will always be remembered forever!

    May you rest at ease brother

    Love Michelle & Dow

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  3. Always smiling….you truly are a legend. You are an amazing human, Binjo! You will be missed by many! God bless Hailey and your family and friends afar! Never forgotten….rest easy my friend!

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  4. Kelly Christopher :

    So sorry to hear about Mike! Taken so young…. he was a great man RIP Mike

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  5. Mike always had the biggest smile and was always happy to see you !he loved telling me about how great hailey was . I will definitely miss always running into him all over town .

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  6. Umi Shareef Ali :

    My brother… you did so much for me and that will never be forgotten. I’ll always love you, ill miss you dearly. We shall ride again. Our Michigan vs Michigan State rival had awesome bets. Rest easy, 42

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  7. My dear friend, it doesn’t seem real. I will miss your crazy sense of humour, your radiant smile and your constant torment and poking during hockey and football season. Binj you became such an amazing friend to me over the years, it never mattered how much time passed without seeing eachother cause when we talked we always picked up right where we left off. Rest easy big bear and watch over all those left behind.
    My sincere condolences to Hailey and your family, I hope they find strength in your memory at this time, you were a true legend and a standup man, you will never be forgotten

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  8. Brenda Theobald :

    The Spartan Nation send its deepest sympathy for the loss of Mike. Our hearts are with you.

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  9. Roger Quartermain :

    Rest In Peace Brother; you will be greatly missed.

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  10. There’s no one quite like you, Binjo. The energy and light you instantly brought to any room you entered. The huge beaming smile, unforgettable laugh and quick, witty jokes. You effortlessly made life fun. It was impossible to have a bad time if you were around. I looked forward to every time we were able to see one another. Through the years, the miles apart…and all the cities we wildly painted red.

    You were selfless, loyal and true – always there when anyone may be in need. A gentle, jovial giant with a heart of pure gold. You had an unbelievable zest for life. You emitted it. This insane every that everyone fed off of. Our times will forever be ingrained in my heart. The stories. The mischief. The tears of laughter.

    Thinking of your sweet mini Hailey, your family and all your friends. My sincerest condolences to all who you’ve touched.

    I love you, Binjo.

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  11. Kind and gentle. You will be missed Mike. Your death was a real shock and made me realize that life is nothing. May God guide your daughter and direct her footsteps.
    May your soul rest in the bosom of our Lord.

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  12. Tricia Arsenault :

    Binjo was one of a kind. He was loved by so many and gave so much love back. He was always great with my kids, and you could always find him smiling and having a good time.

    All the goofy pictures I have of him are priceless. He will be truly missed.

    My heart goes out to his daughter, and the rest of his family and friends. Until we meet again my friend…

    Luv Tricia, Keith & girls.

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  13. When Frank first introduced me to Mike he was a very shy little boy who wouldn’t even look me in the eye when he shook my hand. Over the years I saw Mike blossom under Frank’s loving mentorship. His confidence grew and he became a terrific,fun loving young man. When he flashed that smile at you, your heart melted. Mike will always have a special place in my heart. Rest in peace my friend

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  14. The biggest smile and kindest heart. You will be truly missed Mike.

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  15. My sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Mike

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  16. Dennis Priest11 :

    SEMPER-FI SPARTAN , REMEMBER YOU WELL , MANY HOME GAMES GO GREEN GO WHITE ON THE GRIDIRON IN HEAVEN.

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  17. Your larger than life personality will leave a hole in our hearts forever! I’m still in disbelief that I won’t be able to message you for a good laugh and chat. In this life and the next my friend.
    My deepest condolences to your sweet daughter and your loving family. You will live on forever in our hearts and we’ll always remember you for the joy you brought to us all. ❤️

    Love you Mike,

    Michella

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  18. Kimberly Berner :

    Dear Hailey-Although we never did meet Mike it is obvious you have his light in you. As you read these messages over the years remember the good times you shared with him and that he loved you very much. Stay strong and healthy. Make him proud.

    Condolences to the rest of Mike’s family as well.

    Oma Kim, Marcel & Megan

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  19. Kingbalogun Oladapo :

    You will be greatly missed by the entire family, wish I had gotten an opportunity to meet with you Bro, sleep in the Lord in peace.
    We will always love & remember you Michael Omo Labinjo.
    Kingbalogun Oladapo

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  20. Kingbalogun Oladapo :

    You will be greatly missed by the entire family, wish I had gotten an opportunity to meet with you Bro, sleep in the Lord in peace.
    We will always love & remember you Michael Omo Labinjo.
    Kingbalogun OladapoYou will be greatly missed by the entire family, wish I had gotten an opportunity to meet with you Bro, sleep in the Lord in peace.
    We will always love & remember you Michael Omo Labinjo.
    Kingbalogun Oladapo

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  21. Alexander Vernon :

    Sincere condolences to Mike’s loved ones. I fondly remember him as a friend of my brother Joe, a fellow Kerry Blue.

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  22. Mike… my dear friend.. your infectious laugh and big heart will never be forgotten. Thank you for all you have done for me. I’m forever greatful. You have been there from the beginning to the end.
    I will miss you terribly. My heart goes out to your daughter and your family.
    Thank you for always being there for me. Your a true great friend in my life.

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  23. One of the biggest personalities I had the honour of calling a friend. You were a marvel to watch as a teammate at SMC on the Kerry Blues. Some of my favourite stories from High school are memories attached to you. My condolences to the entire family and may you rest in peace. You will be in my prayers my friend and will never be forgotten.

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  24. Mike…it’s been years since we attended St Mike’s together, yet it feels like it was yesterday. Those high school memories still bring a smile to my face to this day. Your larger than life smile and heart will never be forgotten!!! God bless your family whom I offer my deepest condolences…May you look down and protect them all from above!!! Rest in peace old friend!

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  25. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Mike’s daughter, mother and brother, as well as, Frank, Dana and James Giffen. We were blessed to know Mike through Frank and Dana and over the years, had the privilege to watch Mike grow into an accomplished young man. He exuded kindness, compassion and humility, along with his trademark humour and heartwarming smile. We will cherish the happy memories of watching him realize his dream of playing professional football; and the lively family dinners at our home where Frank counted Mike’s calories, which he good-naturedly ignored. Mike will always be remembered because he left an indelible mark on those he met and cared for, and his spirit will live on in his daughter, Hailey.
    Love, Dawn, Mike, Sarah and Frankie

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  26. I join Mike’s family in morning his loss, praying you experience the comfort of the Holy Spirit during this difficult time. I had the pleasure of working with Mike @ FirstService Residential, and watched him with pride because of the gentle and professional way he carried on with his duties. Proud also as a yoruba woman, to claim that half of his dna. Sun re Michael, may heaven welcome you and the earth yield fruit in provision for your dear Hailey.

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  27. Melissa Houghton :

    My deepest condolences to Mike’s mother, daughter, brother, to the Giffen family and his friends.

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  28. Carol snow-cochran :

    My thoughts are with you Randy and your Mom hugs

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  29. Claire Armstrong :

    Such a loss he will be missed greatly and will always be in our hearts xoxo love u always mikey❤️

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  30. To his family and friends please accept my sincerest condolences. I met Mike when Frank brought him out to be the bat boy at our weekly bank baseball games. He was so shy. He soon blossomed to be a great athlete and person. Rest in peace Mike and may the wind be always at your back.

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  31. Jacquelyn Carson :

    One amazing soul! One with an abundance of love who shared an abundance of joy and laughter. Fly Mikey fly! Prayers to his babygirl ❤️

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  32. Carlene Donnelly :

    On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors of CUPS, we offer our sincere condolences for your loss.

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  33. Your personality will never be forgotten.

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  34. As a rider fan i loved watching u play Binjo. Met you a few times and always was a pleasure. You are with God now and looking down and protecting your daughter family and friends and fellow teammates. You were amazing on and off the field and the CFL and the fans of the league got to watch an amazing player
    God bless big man.
    Will always remember u

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  35. Jim & Heather Dales :

    We are so very sorry for your loss. We fondly remember Mike as a kind, gentle and humble man, and a good friend to his team mates. We were very saddened to hear of Mike’s passing, and are keeping you in our prayers.

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  36. Stephenie Royle :

    What an absolute honor it has been to know you Mike. Your heart and smile will never be forgotten. Thank you for your kindness and for the many laughs you have provided to everyone around you. You will never be forgotten.

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  37. Monquiz Wedlow #45 :

    Spartan dawg for life bro! I am honored to have entered college in 1999 with you and play next to you for 4 years! You always made me push harder and that’s what type of person you was! Binjo #42 for life! Go Green! Go White! RIP SPARTAN DAWG!

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  38. Michael O’Leary :

    My deepest condolences to the entire Labinjo family. Your son made a difference in so many lives and made everyone around him feel better about themselves. Mike will be missed, he was a great person and an amazing friend. Thank you for all that you gave to us Mike.

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  39. Wasn’t too many like you Binjo. Thanks for always being there and keeping it 100. From the day I stepped on campus, to the day we all left Treehouse apartments for the final time.
    Love You Brother. Spartan Dawgs For Life.

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  40. Judy Heighington :

    My son Ryan Heighington played hockey with Mike at North Toronto AA hockey for two years 14 and 15 years old . HE WAS AMAZING PLAYER . Frank was always there to support him and so was his mother. When Ryan went to Alberta he met up with him at Calgary and watch him play. My son passed away in April 12,2008 in Alberta. It is so sad to see a son die before us. Our sincere sympathy. Rest in peace.

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  41. My condolences to everyone in the Labinjo family, his loved ones, family, friends and especially daughter. My heart goes out to you and the pain you are feeling. This is a Facebook Post of mine from the day of his memorial here in Calgary.

    Said goodbye to a friend today. Most people didn’t know, but through one of my best friends, I knew Mike Labinjo (aka Sir Night Train) before he was ever my teammate. I was introduced to this great big amazing kid and athlete, and that I should watch out for him in Calgary. But he didn’t need it. Everything everyone said about him is true..huge personality, huge heart, huge athlete, huge friend, party animal, huge smile huge goodness, huge story. He was even better in person! Wes Lysak said it best,’ he was as much the guy who’d sneak out after curfew to grab a pint with the boys, as he was the guy would wake up early the very next morning to have breakfast with his teammates’ parents grand parents and kids.’
    And Burke Dales said he was the kind of guy that was the ‘glue.’ And he was. Within his close friendships and with the whole lockeroom. Hard to get along with all personalities from all backgrounds, but Mike was that guy. Brought everyone together. Heard some stories at his memorial service today that made me smile, made me laugh, and made me cry. My world is better for having known this larger than life man. And judging by the turnout today, so were the lives of so many others. This was a fun memory when you scored a TD. Class act all the way. Thanks Mike for my memories with you on and off the field. You are gone too soon. You are missed. #ripmikelabinjo #nfl #cfl #ncaa #spartans #stampeders #dolphins #eagles #colts

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  42. Michael Pedersen :

    He was truly bigger than life and an extremely nice guy to deal with. My condolences to his family.

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  43. I’m floored by the news. Mike was a gentile soul and a person everyone loved being around. We will miss him.

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  44. Such an amazing friend. Mike will truly be missed by every single person that had the pleasure of knowing him. A beautiful soul with an unforgettable smile. I’ll remember his laughter forever!

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  45. I will always remember your huge smile and great sense of humour within the halls of St. Mike’s – may you rest in peace, Mike.

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