Redblacks punter Ronnie Pfeffer brings Grey Cup back to school

A question-and-answer session with a group of children wouldn’t be complete without a query or two that catch the featured attraction by surprise.

Ottawa Redblacks punter Ronnie Pfeffer, with Grey Cup in tow, received three memorable gems Friday morning during a visit to his old stomping grounds at W.T. Townshend Public School.

“A boy asked me if I knew Eric Lindros, another student asked if I knew (Lionel) Messi and another asked if I had a nice pair of sunglasses,” Pfeffer recalled during his second stop of the day at Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute.

“It’s great to have those questions to get the kids laughing and lighten the mood so you can get back into the more serious questions about life and pursuing your dreams.”

The 24-year-old Kitchener native was encouraging people of all ages to ask questions and follow their dreams Friday during a hectic stretch that also included a get-together with the football team at Wilfrid Laurier University and a two-hour evening appearance at Kitchener City Hall.

Students and staff lined up for photos with Pfeffer and the Grey Cup at Cameron Heights, the school where he launched his football career during his fourth year of studies. He joined the Golden Gaels as a kicker, punter and defensive back/safety and switched to full-time kicking duties in his fifth year after suffering an injury during an early season game.

He was a standout soccer player at Cameron Heights before finally giving football a try after three years of gentle persuasion from teacher/coach Johnny Forte, who served as master of ceremonies for Pfeffer’s lunch-hour visit to the school’s cafeteria.

“Ronnie doesn’t forget where he came from … he knows what got him to where he is and he doesn’t take that for granted,” said Forte. “He’s just a great kid … a great man.”

Pfeffer continued as a kicker/punter at Laurier in the fall of 2010 and, after four seasons with the Golden Hawks, made his way to the CFL ranks in July of 2015 as an injury replacement for the Toronto Argonauts.

He connected on a 50-yard field goal on his first attempt as a pro and stayed with the Argos for another six weeks before Swayze Waters recovered from his injury and returned to the team.

The Redblacks offered Pfeffer a job a few days after his release from the Argos and he played well until being sidelined by a broken tibia near the end of his first season in Ottawa. The injury prevented him from playing in his team’s Grey Cup loss to the Edmonton Eskimos.

Injury struck again prior to the start of the 2016 season and Pfeffer required ankle surgery that stopped him from playing in the Redblacks’ 39-33 Grey Cup victory over the Calgary Stampeders in November.

He expects to be fully healed in time for the Redblacks’ mini-camp in late April and is excited about the prospects of a successful 2017 season that will end with Ottawa hosting the 105th Grey Cup.

“I’m almost 100 per cent … I’m sprinting, I’m kicking, I’m lifting, I’m feeling the best I have in a long time, so I’m excited,” he said.

Meanwhile back at Townshend, the young inquisitors learned Pfeffer had never crossed paths with Lindros and Messi but yes, he did own a very nice pair of sunglasses.

– Waterloo Record

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