TRURO, N.S. – Brett Lauther enjoyed a great deal of individual success this season but would have traded it all for a shot at the Grey Cup.
The Truro native and placekicker for the Saskatchewan Roughriders had his CFL season come to an end Nov. 11 when the Riders lost 23-18 to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a West Division semifinal.
“It’s something that I’m definitely not over yet and I don’t think any of the guys out here are,” Lauther said last week. “It’s definitely still stinging, a home loss like that when we went 9-2 down the stretch; we just didn’t get the job done.
“If we could have won the Grey Cup this year I would have traded in every single award, anything I ever won for a shot at the Grey Cup, really.”
Lauther said time will heal the pain of losing, and eventually he will be able to look back on the season and be proud of what he accomplished against seemingly long odds.
The 28-year-old, who played high school football at CEC in Truro and university football at Saint Mary’s in Halifax, was a stalwart for the Riders. He had a 90-per-cent success rate on field goals – the second-highest single-season success rate in team history – as he connected on 54 of 60 attempts and was the team’s nominee for Most Outstanding Canadian and Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.
Lauther’s success was even more impressive given the fact he made a return to the CFL this season after a five-year absence. He was drafted in 2013 by Hamilton, but played no more than a handful of games for the Tiger-Cats that year.
However, he felt he belonged in the CFL and continued to work in hopes of getting another shot in professional football. He joined the Riders’ practice squad near the end of the 2017 campaign and competed for the starting job this season. When fellow kicker Tyler Crapigna went down with a season-ending injury on his kicking leg in June, Lauther got his shot.
“I was pretty much trying to give everything I had to make this work because I felt like I could do it, and whenever I put my mind to something that I know I can do, I’m not going to give up on it, so it was a pretty good feeling to be told this year that I was going to get a chance to play,” he said.
Lauther said he fell in love with Regina and the city’s football-crazed fans right from Day 1. The Roughriders led the league in average attendance with slightly more than 32,000 people going through the turnstiles at Mosaic Stadium during regular-season games.
He said the atmosphere on game days in Regina is like nothing he’s ever experienced.
“I don’t even know how to put it besides it’s honestly psychotic,” he said. “Everyone’s just on board and it’s been years and generations of people growing up being Riders’ fans and they’re so passionate.
“Anyone back home that’s ever out this way, whether I’m on the team or not, and has a chance to come to a game here, they really should because there’s nothing else like it in Canada, that’s for sure.”
* * * *
The long and shirt of it
TRURO, N.S. – Brett Lauther is using his platform for the greater good.
The 28-year-old from Truro has taken to social media to reach people far and wide in an effort to help make a difference for young athletes in his home community.
Lauther – a popular kicker for the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders – has spread the word on Twitter and Facebook about the sale of T-shirts, with money raised going toward the TAAC Revitalization Project – a $6-million renovation of Truro’s aging outdoor athletic facility.
“I kind of always told myself if I ever had a chance to have more of a following that I’d try and turn it into something good over personal gain,” said Lauther. “Because if you get a chance with something like that to do something good, that’s what counts.”
T-shirts reading THAT’S MY KICKER are being sold by Lauther and his family to support the cause. He is also raffling off a jersey to raise even more money for the project.
About $1,000 has already been raised from the sale of other shirts in Saskatchewan. Lauther said he is grateful for the support shown by Riders’ fans and the entire football community in Regina.
“It was all their idea to sell these shirts and raise money for my charity back home, so I felt pretty honoured that they would do something like this. I honestly really didn’t do anything besides take a picture with them, and the fans out here raised a bunch of money on their own, so it’s a real credit to them.”
* * * *
TRURO, N.S. – The first order of business for Brett Lauther when he returns home this week is squaring up with his sister, Brooklyn.
Lauther will spend some off-season time in Truro and Halifax, where he’ll enjoy a little downtime before turning his focus on training and preparing for the CFL’s 2019 season.
But first, there’s a debt to be paid to Brooklyn – a hockey star with the Atom A Colchester Cyclones.
“She’s the best hockey player in the family,” says Lauther.
“She’s always calling me because whenever she gets a hat trick we have a deal that she gets five bucks, so I pretty much get a call every game that I owe her five bucks. She’s on me about it, she keeps track about how many she has and when I come home how much money I owe her. Last year, I had to give her a hundred dollars when I came home; it’s crazy,” he laughed.
Lauther was a good minor hockey player himself, and won a provincial minor midget AAA championship with the Truro Bearcats in 2008.