He’s an icon of Calgary football.
Greg Peterson has seen and done it all on the gridiron. The Calgarian was a star athlete at Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School, an Academic All-American at Brigham Young University (BYU), a Canadian Football League (CFL) All-Star with the Calgary Stampeders and a Grey Cup Champion.
When his playing days came to an end, his involvement in football did not. He remained active in the city’s minor football community and served as the president of both the Greater Calgary Amateur Football Association and the Calgary Spring Football Association. Greg was also integral in spearheading the multi-million-dollar construction of three artificial turf fields, stands, locker rooms and amenities at Shouldice Athletic Park. The indoor dome provides vital access to facilities in Calgary’s winter months.
In addition, Greg is a senior partner at the Gowling WLG law firm and a colour commentator/analyst for Calgary Stampeders radio broadcasts on QR Calgary.
After being named the 2023 Sportsperson of the Year by the Calgary Booster Club, Greg answered a few questions from reporters about the prestigious honour and what it means to him.
Here’s what he had to say:
Q: What does it mean to you to be named the Calgary Booster Club’s Sportsperson of the Year?
A: You don’t do it for these reasons but it is really nice to be recognized and I have a lot of people to thank. There are many people that influenced me and it is a great honour to be the recipient of this award. A lot of people came along on the sports journey with me and I have to really thank them for that.
I’ve been recognized by the Booster Club, this is the third time. In 1978, I won the Harry Hood Award as Calgary’s outstanding high school football player and that’s when I first came in contact with the Booster Club and it was something else. Then, when I was an All-Star in 1990 I was recognized again. This is a big thing, to be the Sportsperson of the Year is quite the honour.
Q: When you consider your sporting legacy in Calgary, what goes through your mind?
A: I played pro football, I won the Harry Hood Award, I won many awards and was a CFL All-Star, but I think the most gratification and satisfaction I have gotten on my sports journey is building Shouldice fields and building the dome because that’s something that was needed in the city, it’s something that the minor football players and other sports are all benefiting from now. I really get a lot of joy and satisfaction every time I go down there and you see the field is full and you see in the dome and people are coming up and saying, ‘This is great!’ It was something that we needed and it brings me a lot of joy just to see the achievement of building Shouldice, building the dome, getting it done and seeing how it’s so needed in this city.
Q: How did you find out that you were the Sportsperson of the Year?
A: Carol (Hermansen, president of the Calgary Booster Club) called me and I was in Denver with my law firm doing some legal matters and had a pretty tough day. Being a lawyer some days is pretty tough, all you do is argue all day, so it was a good way to end my day.
Q: You are passionate about amateur athletics in Calgary. What’s your message to amateur athletes in the city who are chasing their dreams and goals in life?
A: Just keep at it. It is tough, I understand that but you have to have people along the way to help you out, which I did. My dad and my mom were great people, they supported me. I got married young, my wife was a support all through my college football days at BYU, same with the Stampeders. You can’t really do it alone. Help others and draw upon the assistance of others because you really need that help. It’s not just you, it’s not an individual-type thing, it’s a team thing with many people.
Q: What has football meant to you?
A: Football has been my life. When I go around in my law practice, I’m recognized as a football player. When I’m in my church, I’m the lawyer football player. It tags you for recognition, but I think the biggest thing is the life skills that you learn in the game of football are huge. I love the game. It’s got strategy, it’s got a position for the big guys, for the medium-sized guys, for the little guys like me that were running fast or whatever. It teaches you life skills. It teaches you determination. It teaches you self discipline. All sports do but I really love football for that reason. Then, if you can learn those skills while you’re a younger athlete and use them to build a profession, and the networking that you get, that’s defined my life and it’s been my life in many ways.
Q: You’re a Calgarian, this is a Calgary Booster Club award – what does this community mean to you?
A: A lot … I was born and raised in Calgary, I got a football scholarship down at BYU in the States, but I love Calgary. I’m here to try and make Calgary a better place. I think we have a great city. I’m now on the Calgary Chamber of Commerce board and I want businesses to thrive. I just think we’ve got the best city in the world. We do lack, I think, sports facilities right now, so we can do better in that regard, but as far as the people, the city, the beauty of the city by the mountains, there isn’t a better city in the world.
Congratulations to Greg Peterson and all the other award winners who were recognized recently at the Calgary Booster Club’s 69th annual gala at the Glenmore Inn & Convention Centre on April 23rd.