Maple League Veteran Joins Nordmen

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New head coach Stan Bedwell’s first signing with the Rovaniemi Nordmen is not a surprising one. For the fifth time, Jonathan Ashton will lead the offensive line in Bedwell’s air raid attack. Ashton was the starting right tackle for the Seinäjoki Crocodiles last summer, as well as the head coach of the Crocodiles women’s team.

Jonathan Ashton celebrates with Nathan Robitaille after a Seinäjoki win in 2020.

The British lineman started his import career in 2015 with the Kouvola Indians and continued in 2016 with the Jyväskylä Jaguaarit, both 1st division teams. In 2017, he joined Bedwell for the first time with the Hämeenlinna Huskies in the Maple League. Due to an injury that sidelined him in 2018, Ashton joined Bedwell’s staff as offensive line coach for the Allgau Comets of the German Football League. The duo continued together in 2019, winning the Romanian national championship with the Bucharest Rebels. At the conclusion of the season, Bedwell took the offensive coordinator position at Rochester Community & Technical College in Minnesota and hired Ashton to coach his line there as well.

Ashton brings a fierce level of aggressiveness on gameday and a wealth of knowledge on the practice field that will definitely improve the line play of the Nordmen. Working alongside Bedwell and coaching in the air raid offense brings a level of comfort and familiarity to the European veteran.

Ashton and Bedwell won the Romanian Bowl in 2019 with the Bucharest Rebels.

“It’s basically going back to business as usual. I have been working with Stan since 2017 and he’s one of my closest friends. We have had a lot of success together on the field and a lot of good times off the field. I look forward to continuing that tradition with the Nordmen. Funny enough, we talked a couple years ago about going to Rovaniemi if we ever got the opportunity. We thought it would be an interesting place to grow the game and it’s almost surreal that this is going to happen. I’m excited to be a part of the Nordmen family and looking forward to a great season in 2021!”

Bedwell is equally excited about the addition of Ashton, stating:

“Jonny was my first call after I was offered the position with the Nordmen. He’s like a brother to me…a guy that I trust both on and off the field. He knows my offensive system both inside and out, so I don’t have to “teach” him anything or keep an eye on him during practices. I know he’ll fight his ass off on gameday and will get everything he can out of the guys around him. Our team just got a lot better and it goes without saying that our offensive line is in great hands.”

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