Saskatchewan Roughriders players Brett Lauther and Brayden Lenius were recognized for their outstanding contributions in the community during the 2023 CFL Awards at The Avalon Theatre in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Lauther received the Tom Pate Memorial Award while Lenius was honoured with the Jake Gaudaur Veteran’s Award.
“I am extremely proud of Brett and Brayden for their exceptional work in the community not only this season, but throughout their careers,” said Saskatchewan Roughriders CEO and President Craig Reynolds. “Saskatchewan is a special place, and as a Club we work hard to give back to Rider Nation and our entire province. Brett and Brayden have taken that message to heart, and I am excited to continue to watch them make a positive impact in our communities.”
“Brett and Brayden are both ambassadors for the Saskatchewan Roughrider Foundation and care deeply about our province,” said Saskatchewan Roughrider Foundation Executive Director Cindy Fuchs. “They understand the impact of their platforms and how they can spread positivity in people’s lives. They both have a passion for giving back, and it comes through clearly in the way they interact with people at both school visits and community events. They are very deserving recipients, and I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Lenius is the 13th player to be recognized with the annual Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award since its inception in 2010.
Created in honour of Jake Gaudaur – a distinguished Second World War veteran and the longest-serving Commissioner in CFL history – the award recognizes a Canadian player who embodies the attributes of Canada’s veterans and the ones held by its namesake: strength, perseverance, courage, comradeship, and contribution to Canadian communities – something Lenius was able to show throughout his challenging 2023 season.
Lenius suffered a lacerated kidney in the Riders’ final pre-season game on June 2. The initial prognosis indicated he would not be able to take contact for three months, but through sheer determination and quick healing, he was medically cleared and ready for game action by Week 8. However, his return was cut short after he suffered a lisfranc sprain during the game.
Though the foot injury cost him the remainder of the season, Lenius remained with the team, working tirelessly throughout the rehabilitation process and serving as a constant source of strength and positivity for his teammates. He went on to focus his efforts on his rehab and spending more time in the community.
Lenius is a player ambassador for the Saskatchewan Roughrider Foundation and spends time in classrooms talking about healthy coping mechanisms, relationships and mental health, and tips for managing anxiety and stress. He takes the lessons he learned from his life and career and uses them as a tool to inspire and educate youth.
The 26-year-old has travelled across the province of Saskatchewan, delivering over 50 presentations, and reaching approximately 3,500 youth. In addition, Lenius is the Club’s ambassador for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, leads tours of Mosaic Stadium for community groups, engages with the Indigenous community through smudge walks, community BBQ’s, pep rallies and powwows and spoke at an anti-racism symposium.
Lenius will surely add to those presentation numbers over the off-season as he has committed to stay in Regina to continue his work as an ambassador with the Foundation.
Lenius was chosen by a committee made up of Robert Loken and Jeff Thompson from Veterans Affairs Canada, CFL ON TSN analyst and former Honorary Colonel of 417 Combat Support Squadron, Glen Suitor, CFL Players’ Association Executive Director, Brian Ramsay, and Commissioner Randy Ambrosie.
The Last Roughrider to win the Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award was Dan Clark in 2022.
Lauther is heavily involved with several charities in both Saskatchewan and back home in Nova Scotia, volunteering for KidSport, Team Nova Scotia Football, and Saint Mary’s University Football/Hockey. He is also an ambassador for the Saskatchewan Roughriders Foundation and KidSport and has worked with the Regina Foodbank, and the Red Cross.
In February 2023, Lauther brought Roughrider and NHL alumni together to host the first-ever Saskatchewan Roughriders Foundation Winter Classic Charity Hockey Game, which raised over $20,000 for KidSport. He spent a large portion of 2022 planning the event, which involved attending meetings, recruiting players, working with sponsors, coordinating entertainment, before finally playing in the game himself. Planning for the 2024 Winter Classic is already underway with a goal of raising money for the Roughrider Foundation’s Win with Wellness program.
Lauther just completed his 10th season in the CFL, adding to his already impressive resume by hitting 36 field goals and 27 extra points, including three game-winning field goals (Week 1, 3, 9) and a game-winning rouge in Week 5. Lauther’s field-goal percentage of 83.9 is the best in Roughriders history, taking into account everyone who has attempted at least 100 three-pointers.
The Tom Pate Memorial Award, selected annually by the Canadian Football League Players’ Association, is awarded to a player with outstanding sportsmanship and someone who has made a significant contribution to his team, his community and the Players’ Association. The Tom Pate Memorial Award is named in the memory of former Hamilton Tiger-Cats player Tom Pate, who was critically injured in a game in 1975.
The last Roughrider to win the Tom Pate award was Roughriders’ Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Jeremy O’Day in 2008.
The 110th Grey Cup will be played in Hamilton at Tim Hortons Field on Sunday, November 19 with kickoff slated for 5 p.m. CST/6 p.m. ET. The sold-out contest and the Twisted Tea Grey Cup Halftime Show, featuring Green Day, will be broadcast live across the nation on TSN and RDS – Canada’s home of the CFL.