Winnipeg-born running back Kienan LaFrance believes that Mosaic Stadium in Regina is louder than IG Field.
“Both are pretty loud but I don’t think you can top the Rider fans,” said LaFrance via videoconference. “Being out here, you know how much love Saskatchewan has for their football, so definitely I think it’s going to be tough to hear what’s going on when Rider fans are cheering you on.”
When asked if his answer was influenced by the fact that he plays for Saskatchewan, the six-year CFL veteran denied it.
“No, not at all,” he said. “These guys love it. It’s awesome.”
LaFrance broke into the CFL with the Ottawa Redblacks in 2015 and has since had stints with the Riders and Bombers, seeing both sides of the prairie rivalry firsthand. He grew up in Winnipeg attending a number of Labour Day Classic and Banjo Bowls and fully appreciates the weight of the annual back-to-back games.
“When we get back to the city it’s all love and all hate at the same time, some chirps back and forth with the friends. You gotta live for this stuff. It’s fun,” said LaFrance.
“Playing in Winnipeg for Winnipeg was neat in its own way, but being able to go back there and play against them is also really cool. You see some fans, some old friends in the stands and you get throw a couple chirps up there and have fun with it. Being part of it is really cool, being on both sides is neat.”
The University of Manitoba product has made most of his impact on special teams in recent years, notching 17 special teams tackles over his last 21 games. He has also proven to be effective on offence, averaging 4.1 yards per carry and 7.8 yards per reception over the course of his career, scoring six touchdowns.
“The environment’s crazy both in Saskatchewan and in Winnipeg. You can really tell that the fans just love it and it’s a big game, a big weekend for the cities. To be able to be part of it is special and to have watched it in the past is pretty exciting, too.”
Winnipeg has become a breeding ground for running backs and receivers with local players like Andrew Harris, Nic Demski, Anthony Coombs, and LaFrance making an impact in the CFL. LaFrance was a teammate of Demski and Coombs at the university level and has kept in touch with both.
“I’m always talking smack to those guys and I think that lights the fire a little bit up in them. I know in the off-season we get to get together and do some training, so I think it all helps just cumulate in our game.”