Andrew Harris is a hockey man through and through. He simply takes place to make a dwelling gambling expert soccer as one of the most gifted CFL strolling backs of his technology.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers megastar has a passion for the % that equals or even surpasses his gusto for the gridiron, and that love for Canada’s favorite hobby become cast in Steinbach, Man., in which Rogers Hometown Hockey touches down this weekend.
Originally from Winnipeg, Harris performed minor hockey on the Riverview Rangers till age 10 while his family moved an hour southeast to Steinbach.
“There turned into always hockey round, constantly a stick around,” Harris says of his Steinbach years. “There become always a few kind of way to get a game going. I became always gambling. It was wonderful.”
Raised mostly via a single mother, Harris worked his way up via Manitoba hockey’s numerous rep degrees in spite of the use of some outdated device, subsequently playing AAA while also making several select groups over time.
“I was simply constantly one of the quickest men available,” he said, giving a scouting record of his on-ice talents. “I performed centre. I played offence, I performed defence, I’d lead the league in scoring and also lead the league in penalty mins. I had a piece of an aspect to myself and I had an aggression, so I become quite nicely-rounded as some distance as that’s concerned.”
When Harris became thirteen or 14 he was on a pick crew for the Director’s Cup, which he defined as “essentially a massive tournament for the satisfactory gamers in Manitoba…. All the WHL scouts pop out and watch that for the WHL Draft.”
Harris defined he “had stacks of letters and stuff to visit camps in junior A all across Western Canada” plus “quite a few WHL letters inviting me to camp,” however he changed into never drafted.
“All the scouts usually advised me… the only factor I want to paintings on changed into my shot. It’s humorous due to the fact that also holds authentic,” Harris added with a chuckle. “I continually had simply right arms and could bypass and if I changed into in close I’d be capable of get it accomplished, but I become in no way the man that might rating from the top of the circle with a difficult shot or accurate shot.”
Raised by and large by a single mom, Harris worked his way up through Manitoba hockey’s diverse rep ranges notwithstanding the usage of some outdated gadget, finally gambling AAA whilst also making numerous pick groups through the years.
“I became definitely usually one of the fastest men out there,” he stated, giving a scouting record of his on-ice talents. “I played centre. I performed offence, I performed defence, I’d lead the league in scoring and also lead the league in penalty mins. I had a bit of an facet to myself and I had an aggression, so I became quite nicely-rounded as a ways as that’s involved.”
When Harris become 13 or 14 he become on a pick out group for the Director’s Cup, which he described as “essentially a large event for the excellent gamers in Manitoba…. All the WHL scouts come out and watch that for the WHL Draft.”
Harris defined he “had stacks of letters and stuff to go to camps in junior A all across Western Canada” plus “quite some WHL letters inviting me to camp,” but he changed into by no means drafted.
“All the scouts always advised me… the only issue I want to paintings on changed into my shot. It’s funny because that still holds true,” Harris added with a snigger. “I usually had sincerely appropriate palms and will pass and if I become in close I’d be capable of get it finished, but I became in no way the fellow that would score from the top of the circle with a tough shot or correct shot.”
Shortly after the Director’s Cup appearance, he and his mom moved lower back to Winnipeg, in which he attended Grant Park High School. And it changed into around this time whilst Harris’s focus started out transitioning extra from hockey to soccer.
“After grade nine I become going thru pretty a piece of stuff at home, like own family stuff,” Harris stated. “At the time I played Manitoba Hawks, which is AAA within the summer season, and we travelled all throughout Canada for tournaments, and it changed into absolutely pretty tough on my mom. I mean it was like $8,000 lower back then for the summer time. That was loads of cash for her, so I ended up saying ‘This is an excessive amount of’ and I simply kinda ended up gambling excessive faculty, which became a little bit much less competitive.”
In an alternate universe, one in which Harris endured gambling excessive-level hockey, it’s totally possible he may want to’ve ended up on a junior-A crew like the Steinbach Pistons, or maybe somewhere inside the WHL.
But even though he didn’t chase hockey as a career direction, he by no means gave up the game entirely, and nevertheless ended up rubbing shoulders with several players who did.
Harris played summer hockey with Darren Helm and changed into on one pick out group with Steinbach native Ian White — both reached the NHL and acceptable up for his beloved Detroit Red Wings, who he followed after the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix.
He also played against fellow Winnipeg local Ryan Reaves on both grass and ice.
“When he changed into in … pewee playing soccer he become like 6-foot-1 and like 200 pounds,” Harris stated of the Vegas Golden Knights enforcer. “He become simply strolling youngsters over after which anybody sort of caught as much as him. He was a massive dude, but he changed into more professional than anything.”
Fittingly sufficient, Reaves’s father, Willard Reaves, was a star walking returned inside the CFL in the mid-1980s, prevailing the league’s Most Outstanding Player award in 1984 while he performed for none apart from the Blue Bombers.
The five-time CFL all-superstar and 2017 Outstanding Canadian still performs hockey three to 4 days every week inside the off-season on a pair one-of-a-kind groups and even served as a beer-league ringer overdue last 12 months.
“I just love the sport,” he said. “My important group I play with is pretty lots my hockey team that I performed with returned in high college. We’ve got a few new additions and stuff however for the most component I similar to to play with men I understand and simply cling out after — and if you’re a hockey guy you already know what meaning.”
Harris has an eleven-year-antique daughter, however she hasn’t pretty adopted her father’s love for hockey. However, they nevertheless bond over sports activities.
“I’ve been seeking to educate her to skate for like six years however she hates it,” Harris laughed. “So she doesn’t play hockey and didn’t take to skating as a lot as I was hoping, however she really loves soccer and … I’ve been training her for two years.”
The soon-to-be-32-12 months-old has racked up 13,496 all-cause yards on 2,026 total touches when you consider that his CFL career commenced in 2010. He has placed his body through the rigours of professional football long enough to have discovered less is greater on the subject of setting his body thru the trials of low season schooling.
And, of route, hockey is a large part of that, too.
“I built a fitness center in my basement out here in Winnipeg so I’ll get down there four times per week lifting,” he said. “And then I’ll do my aerobic on the ice and playing basketball.”
Harris, who didn’t play college football, took an unusual route to get to the CFL, but every step along the journey hockey has been and will continue to be an vital a part of his identity.
“Hockey is a big a part of my low season training and staying lively. [When] it’s minus-50 out here … I’d alternatively simply pass play ice hockey as opposed to running on a treadmill or doing stuff like that,” he stated. “It’s a big a part of my life nonetheless and Steinbach was truly a huge have an impact on on getting me into the game.”