Rempel the Argos' overlooked Chad

Chad Rempel of the Toronto Argonauts. (ERNEST DOROSZUK/QMI AGENCY)

Chad Rempel of the Toronto Argonauts. (ERNEST DOROSZUK/QMI AGENCY)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:43 PM ET

TORONTO - At the Grey Cup, everyone in the naked dressing room becomes a story.

Like the guy sitting in the stall next to Ricky Ray in the Toronto Argos dressing room last Sunday at Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

The young man wearing No. 82 introduced himself after the win which put the Argos into the Grey Cup game.

"Chad Rempel," he said. "Say hi to your son, Shane. He used to cover me in high school for the Sherwood Park News."

Rempel used to go to Millennium Place in the Edmonton bedroom community and workout with a couple of Eskimos quarterbacks in the off-season.

"Ricky Ray and Jason Maas," he said.

"I was a big Edmonton Eskimos fan. I had a Ricky Ray jersey. A couple years later I was running routes for him and Jason Maas. Now I'm playing in a Grey Cup with Ricky. And Jason is one of our assistant coaches. It's a dream come true."

Maas, who lived in Sherwood Park during his years with the Eskimos, said Rempel was an off-season go-to guy.

"We always needed guys to throw to and he was a hard-working guy."

The traded-away Ricky Ray, of course, is the big story of this Grey Cup in the Edmonton market. And there are others in the Toronto bathhouse, receivers Jason Barnes and Mo Mann, defensive back Jordan Younger, punter Noel Prefontaine, kicker Swayze Waters and assistant coaches Jason Maas and Kez McCorvey.

But Chad Rempel?

If the name doesn't really ring a bell, it's because he's the other Chad, the one who doesn't quite have as the profile this week as Chad Owens or Chad Kackert.

He's the Argos' long snapper.

Back in high school in Sherwood Park, after playing peewee and bantam with the North Stars program, Rempel led the Sabres to two provincial championship finals.

"Lost both times to Raymond," he said.

Moving to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, Rempel made his first career change in terms of position.

He decided if he had any chance to become a professional football player it wasn't going to be at quarterback.

"I decided to become a receiver."

Twice he made it to the Vanier Cup final with the U of S. Both times the Huskies lost.

"I've lost two provincial finals in high school and two Vanier Cup games. Now I'm in the Grey Cup. You can probably understand how much I want to win this one."

Originally drafted by the Eskimos in 2004, Rempel was a training camp cut.

"I was very disappointed. I had an Achilles tear, only had two or three practices and they sent me back to university. I was totally crushed. Coming from Sherwood Park, it was my life-long dream to play for the Eskimos."

A Hamilton cut the following year, he caught on with Winnipeg in 2005 and signed with Toronto after the Bombers cut him at camp the following year. After two years with the Argos, he was cut and ended up playing 11 games in 2008 with the Tiger-Cats. A training camp cut in Montreal in 2009 he returned to Toronto where he's remained to this day.

Rempel just couldn't get his career launched the way he was hoping until he returned to the Argos.

"I just kept getting hurt," he said.

"Then one day Randy Srochenski retired as long snapper and they were having trouble finding a replacement.

"I'd never done it. But one day I just decided to see if I could do it. A month later, I was the Argos long snapper.

"It was really crazy. The guy they had in the game had two really bad snaps. The coach lost it. 'REMPEL!' he screamed. You're in!" Been in ever since.

Rempel also has the unusual claim to fame of being winner of 2009 Canadian bobsleigh four-man title as a member of Lyndon Rush's team.

"I just had too much on my plate to keep that up. But it was pretty crazy. It was an amazing experience."

Today, in addition to being in his eighth season of the pro football career he always wanted to have, Rempel is also the owner of a Booster Juice franchise in Saskatoon.

Anyone who lives in Sherwood Park knows that the company which, at last count, boasted 285 locations in Canada, 24 in India, six in the United States, five in Mexico and two in the Netherlands began with a store on Baseline Road in Sherwood Park.

"I walked in there during the grand opening," said Rempel. "I got to know founder and CEO Dale Wishewan and I've had that franchise in Saskatoon 11 years."

At the Grey Cup, everyone is a story. And it turns out Chad Rempel is a pretty good one.


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