TRURO – It was a chance encounter playing football with his friends that lead Truro native Brett Lauther to become a kicker in the CFL.
Lauther, 28, admits he never really followed the sport – he had always played hockey and soccer. He was in Grade 10 at Cobequid Educational Centre, and went to hockey tryouts on the wrong day. While waiting for his drive, his friends convinced him to pick up a football.
“I started playing receiver with the team and ended up playing every position,” said Lauther, during a Brett Lauther Day hosted in support of the Truro Minor Football Association just days before Christmas.
Following high school, Lauther attended Saint Mary’s University in Halifax and was the receiver for the Huskies.
“Another football player from Truro – Justin Palardy – was there during my first year, and he asked me to kick.”
After three years at the university, Lauther was drafted by the Hamilton Tiger Cats in 2013 before moving on to the Roughriders.
“I played a couple of times in tryouts, but this is my first full season with the Riders,” he said. “It’s been pretty surreal. I’ve been working so hard to try and land a job fulltime and now I’m playing for a team with 30,000 fans. It’s been a pretty cool experience and I’m so thankful for the support of everyone in Truro, and the rest of Nova Scotia.”
During the meet and greet, Lauther signed autographs for anyone interested, and took photo after photo with fans. One of those was Craig Nagels, a local business owner who cleans windows.
“I love the Riders, I have for three years,” said Nagels, smiling after getting his hat signed. “I have friends from Saskatchewan and they just loved the Riders. Then I found out Brett played for them.”
Nagels was previously a Toronto Argonauts supporter, but loves the excitement and atmosphere found in Mosaic Stadium, the home to the Riders.
While talking with Nagels, Lauther said he didn’t understand Rider Nation, even after friends at university were fans of the team.
Lauther said a fan day in Saskatchewan saw 25,000 fans in attendance, and Lauther was blown away by the support, especially since it was a Monday.
During his first season with the Riders, Lauther made 54 of his 60 field goal attempts, for a 90 per cent success rate. His longest goal came in at 56 yards.
Steve Fulton, a past president of the Truro Minor Football Association, thought it was a great idea to bring Lauther in for a meet and greet. He said Debbie Brown, who organized the event for the minor football association, brought in other organizations, such as CEC Football, and the TAAC Revitalization Project.
“This just shows how tight-knit the football community is here in Truro” he said.
Over the years, Fulton has been a fan of the Riders, having followed Chris Jones’ career. Fulton said Jones is a friend of Truro Minor Football, having hosted a clinic in the area for football coaches.
“When he moved around the league, I followed where he goes,” admitted Fulton. “Where he goes, that’s who we pull for.”
He said he’s been enjoying watching Rider games, because no matter what stadium they’re in, “half the jerseys in the stands are green.”
“It’s just phenomenal,” he said.
During a moment of downtime, Lauther said he tries to give back to his hometown at every opportunity.
“Anything I try to give back, even if it’s just a quarter of the amount of support they’ve given me. They’ve given me so much and it’s awesome to see the kids playing. It’s so fun.”