Saskatchewan native Amanda Ruller never met a challenge she couldn’t tackle, figuratively or literally.
When the popular Regina-based media personality and personal trainer joined The Rod Pedersen Show as a guest-host, it surprised no one that she has lofty goals when it comes to a future in football.
“I want to shake things up in the CFL. I want to see more diversity when it comes to women. I want to be a woman coach, a woman strength and conditioning coach, a woman speed coach, a woman positional coach in the CFL,” Ruller said.
“I just see a lack of representation there. I have the skills and the motivation. I work with CFL athletes right now. I just think it would be huge to see a woman in that role and I want to be one of the first women to do that!”
When it comes to an athletic resume, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more illustrious than Ruller’s.
The former star sprinter with the University of Regina has competed at a national level in track, bobsleigh and skeleton. A silver medalist for the Canadian National Team at the Women’s World Championships in 2017, Ruller’s talent as a running back has seen her suit up for the LA Temptation and Atlanta Steam of the Legend’s Football League south of the border.
In recent years, Ruller has become one of the premier strength and speed coaches in Saskatchewan, working with the University of Regina Rams. She continues to compete in Olympic weight-lifting, holding the provincial record for snatch, and clean and jerk for her weight class.
“I have the qualifications, I don’t need to tell you guys that. I just want to see more diversification. We are already seeing it in the NFL and I love that. I just want the CFL to follow in those footsteps,” she continued.
While former Ottawa Rough Riders executive Jo-Anne Polak holds the distinction of being the first female general manager in North American pro sport, serving in the role from 1989 to 1991, the CFL has fallen behind the NFL on gender diversity in recent years.
Last season, the NFL boasted eight female coaches, six of whom made the playoffs. Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar won the Super Bowl on the sidelines in Tampa Bay, but the CFL has no female coaching equivalents.
In football ops, Molly Campbell of the Calgary Stampeders is the highest ranking woman, serving as director of football administration since 2018. However, more are rising through the ranks south of the border, including former Montreal assistant GM Catherine Raiche who left to become Philadelphia’s football operations coordinator before the 2019 season.
Ruller believes that is because the existing CFL hierarchy remains stuck in their ways, resistant to change in more ways than one.
“I know it is scary for a lot of these people in charge. It’s an older generation, it’s an all-boys club and that is why I want to push myself into the CFL to help make a change,” she acknowledged.
“Even with social media, they could be utilizing Twitch more. I know that sounds crazy but in the NFL, there are a lot of guys who are on Twitch streaming video games and that is appealing to a younger crowd.”
As a game day host for the Roughriders and Saskatchewan Rush, as well as a respected contributor for 3DownNation, Ruller knows just how important online connection is. Well-versed on the ins-and-outs of Twitch, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter, it’s just one more valuable asset she could bring to a CFL team.
“I know some people are asking what is that, what’s going on, what is Twitch, but that is the problem. We need to appeal to that younger crowd,” she explained.
“TikTok, Twitch, we need to do something different. We need to get them out in the community a little bit more to help with fundraisers. Just more stuff and it needs to come from maybe a younger mind and a younger mindset.”
That’s Amanda Ruller in a nutshell, a young trailblazer who could change the game for the CFL.