Grey Cup champion McCullough to speak in Prince Albert

Andrew Schopp
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Saskatchewan Roughriders linebacker Mike McCullough will be the guest speaker at the 9th Annual SaskPower Training for Life Power Breakfast on March 18 at the Art Hauser Centre. The two-time Grey Cup champion has spent his entire 11-year CFL career with the Riders, posting a career total of 186 tackles and 11 sacks. Photo courtesy of the Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club 

Two-time Grey Cup Champion Mike McCullough will pay a visit to Prince Albert as the guest speaker at the 9th Annual SaskPower Training for Life Power Breakfast on March 18. 

McCullough, a linebacker for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, said he is looking forward to speaking at the event that will donate all proceeds to Special Olympics Saskatchewan and the Prince Albert Raiders Education Fund.

“Every athlete talks about having to overcome obstacles and deal with hardships but for Special Olympians it’s especially true,” McCullough, who has spent his entire 11-year CFL career with the Riders, said of the breakfast’s cause.

Following his college football career with St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., the 33-year-old Kingston, Ont., native was selected by the Riders in the third round of the 2003 CFL Draft. 

In his rookie season, he led the Rider’s special teams unit in tackles.

Last season, McCullough recovered from a torn bicep muscle suffered in training camp, bouncing back to become a starter for the 2013 Grey Cup champion team.  

By telling some great football stories and drawing from personal experience, he hopes to convey his sports philosophy at the breakfast in the Ches Leach Lounge at the Art Hauser Centre.

“My biggest thing was fighting for 11 years to win a Grey Cup; I was lucky enough to win two but we lost in the Western Finals three of my first four years,” he explained. “You can definitely get down on yourself and be negative but it’s about bouncing back. I truly believe you can’t win until you learn how to lose.”

After missing the first nine games of the 2013 regular season due to his injury, McCullough rebounded in the second half, starting all three playoff games as a middle linebacker en route to capturing his second title. 

In 2007, McCullough dressed in all 18 regular season games, both playoff tilts and the Grey Cup as the Riders triumphed 23-19 over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to clinch the franchise’s third championship.

Heavily active in charitable efforts, in 2009 McCullough received the Mosaic Community Award presented annually to the Roughrider who contributes the most to his community.

The community-owned Roughriders are arguably the most rabid fan base in the league and McCullough understands the teams importance to the province.

“We’re the only professional team Saskatchewan so we are kind of the face of the province,” he said. “It’s important for us to set a good example and be role models by giving back. We do what we can to help out and let the community know we are athlete but we are also normal people as well.” 

McCullough will follow the lead of the breakfast’s previous speakers including “Jungle” Jim Hunter, George Reed and Mark Tewsbury, who have helped to raise more than $40,000 in the event’s eight year run.

The breakfast kicks off at 7 a.m. and tickets are on sale now priced at $225 for a table of eight and $30 for individuals.

Tickets are available from committee members and at the Prince Albert Raiders box office.

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