Growing up in Toronto, Peter Godber has been a fan of the Canadian Football League (CFL) his entire life. After spending his first four years in the league with the BC Lions, he will now have the chance to play in the league’s heartland with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and in the middle of the offensive line.
As a part of the first day of free agency in the CFL on Tuesday, the centre signed a contract with the green and white.
The first exposure of Rider Pride for Godber was in 2007. The Toronto native said he attended was the 95th Grey Cup at the Rogers Centre featuring the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The green wave in the stands that day really caught the eye of Godber.
“I didn’t really know how much everyone love the Roughriders until I went to that game and I was like wow, this is a whole another level.”
Growing up, the former member of the Rice Owls attended Argonaut games with his father, Michael, and his grandfather, George, who showed him the importance of offensive linemen in the league.
“He(George) made a point that it’s something special to play o-line as a Canadian in the CFL.”
When the centre signed a contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, his grandfather was excited knowing Godber had the chance to speak with Riders General Manager and former centre Jeremy O’Day.
This season, Mosaic Stadium will be Godber’s home venue. He said it was difficult competing in Regina as a visitor.
“Every week we practiced for Saskatchewan, we brought out two or three loud speakers to try and amplify the crowd noise and it never did us justice.”
He said it will be a real treat as a centre dealing with the crowd noise at Mosaic Stadium from a home team perspective.
Godber is a natural centre but does have the ability to play guard. If he becomes the Roughriders starting centre this season, he will replace long-time veteran Dan Clark. He said that he has nothing but respect for Clark and thinks the Regina product is capable of playing at a high level.
One of the most important relationships on a football team is between the quarterback and the centre. With Saskatchewan also bringing in a new starting quarterback in Trevor Harris, Godber said there was instant communication between the two once it was confirmed they were going to be teammates.
“He’s a great guy, everything I’ve heard from different guys in the locker room is he’s a really good leader.”
There was a Saskatchewan influence when Godber was with the BC Lions. His offensive line coach was Humboldt native Kelly Bates. He said Bates is an excellent coach.
“He(Bates) gave me some great techniques and did a really good job of preparing us for what it takes to play centre in this league and o-line in this league and I think a lot of the guys credit success to Coach Bates and he’s been a great mentor of mine and the rest of the guys on the BC Lions.”
It wasn’t an easy decision for the 28-year-old to leave the Lions. He spent his off-season in the area and was very involved in the community outreach programs in the province. Godber says he has already inquired about participating in similar programs with the Roughriders.
Godber had a chance to watch the Riders in Grey Cup and now that he is a member of the team, he’s hoping to compete in one.