The Saskatchewan Roughriders will officially induct receiver Weston Dressler, linebacker Mike McCollough and former head coach Ken Miller into the team’s Plaza of Honour during a halftime ceremony on Friday at Mosaic Stadium.
For Dressler, a Rider fan favourite, induction into the Plaza wasn’t something that crossed his mind when he began his CFL career.
“It’s just kind of a surreal moment,” Dressler told the media on Thursday. “Not something that I came here in 2008 as a young kid fresh out of school, not something I thought about at that point in time, I just wanted to play football. To be here today and in this moment, it’s just a cool moment. It kind of captivates everything that I went through, through my time here.”
Growing up in Bismarck, North Dakota, Dressler didn’t hear a lot about the CFL but knew there was football league in Canada. He first heard of the Riders in his dorm room in Grand Forks while attending the University of North Dakota.
“I watched the 2007 Grey Cup and that was the first CFL game I ever saw,” said Dressler. “I didn’t know at the time what I was witnessing, but I was witnessing the Riders win a Grey Cup.”
A year later, Dressler found himself in Regina starting his CFL career with the same team he watched win it all on television.
The undersized five-foot-seven, 168-pound receiver would go on to spend eight of his 11 CFL seasons in Saskatchewan and was a part of the organization’s next Grey Cup championship team in 2013.
“Through my eight years of playing with the Riders, I learned a lot about this franchise, a lot about this fan base and this organization, the history behind it,” explained Dressler.
The 37-year-old finished his career third all-time in receiving yards in franchise history with 7,792 and fifth all-time in touchdowns with 55. He was a four-time West Division all-star (2009, 2011, 2012, 2013) and two-time CFL all-star (2012, 2013), while also being the league’s Most Outstanding Rookie in his first season.
The former pass-catcher is not only remembered for the player he was but for the mark he left off the field in the community. Dressler said it will be fun to hear the cheers and roars of those fans one last time on Friday night.
“It’ll be cool, kinda relive the glory days,” said Dressler. “The fans here are something special, they bring passion and excitement and energy to every game. That’s something that as a player I’m forever grateful for.”
“I got three little kids now. My oldest is four years old, so I’m excited for him to see, kind of take part in a game — obviously, he wasn’t around in my time playing the game — just share with him a little bit of the history and what I was able to do.”