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Max Amyotte’s days as a member of the Thunder are over

Ed Kapp
Sports Writer

Even though it was a decade ago, Regina Thunder defensive lineman Max Amyotte remembers his introduction to the game of football as clearly as if it were yesterday.

“Halfway through the football season when I was in Grade 9, [Sheldon-Williams head coach Ron] Cherkas came up to me in the hall – I was bigger than everyone my age, I guess,” Amyotte explained with a laugh. “And he told me that I was going to be a football player. I had never thought about playing football before, but I thought I’d check it out.”

While he was admittedly indifferent to the game before he first took to the gridiron – “I’d go to Rider games with my dad, but I was never an avid fan,” – after experiencing football first hand it didn’t take long for Amyotte to fall in love with the sport.

“I was absolutely passionate about the game from the very beginning,” Amyotte said. “As soon as I put the pads on and went onto the field.”

On the one hand, it didn’t take long for Amyotte to excel on the gridiron.

An anchor for the Sheldon-Williams Spartans for the better part of four years, Amyotte was regarded as one of the city’s best defensive linemen and helped his squad become both city and provincial champions in his senior year of high school.

After graduating in 2007, Amyotte tried out for the University of Regina Rams. However, with only a few years of playing experience on his resume, the Rams coaching staff concluded that he would be better suited for the junior football ranks at the time.

After parting ways with the U of R, Amyotte successfully tried out for the Regina Thunder of the Prairie Football Conference.

Since signing with the Thunder, Amyotte has spent the last five years with the team, which have been “five years that have passed way too quickly.”

For the last three seasons, Amyotte has served as a captain for his squad and has led the Thunder’s defensive line – a unit that included Zach Evans, who has spent the majority of this season on the Saskatchewan Roughriders practice squad -– defensive points.

“I’ve worked very hard and put in a lot of hours to get to where I am today,” Amyotte said. “Before the season, I go to Level 10 twice a week and we train as a team twice a week. I train on my own six days a week, too.

“A great player is someone that gives that extra effort – whether it’s staying in the gym a half-an-hour longer than your teammates, or going home and watching film, I have worked very hard to get where I am today.”

As much as Amyotte has given to succeed in the sport – “I haven’t always had this body,” he laughs – he firmly believes that what he has attained from football far out-weighs what he has put into the game.

“Football has really taught me a lot,” Amyotte noted. “It’s really strengthened my work ethic and taught me a lot about perseverance.

“I’ve learnt a lot of self-control over the years, too, because you can’t let your emotions take over on the field. I was an aggressive kid and flew off of the handle every once in a while [laughs], but football has really taught me how to harness that aggression and how to put it towards something productive. It’s really meant a lot to me.”

Because the game has played such an important role in Amyotte’s life, he’s hoping that his last game, a heart-breaking 55-6 loss at the hands of the Calgary Colts in the conference semifinals, isn’t his last.

“Our last game was very disappointing,” Amyotte said. “It just seemed to slip away minute by minute.”

“My football career isn’t over, though. I do still have two years of eligibility left to play in the CIS. I’m going to get a highlight tape together in the next couple weeks and send it to universities across the country and see what opportunities are still available.”

Although Amyotte aspires to play a few more years of football, preferably with a high-level university squad, he is nevertheless pragmatic in his approach to a professional career.

“I’ve got a lot to offer a university program at this point,” Amyotte said. “I think if I worked hard enough I could make it to the next level. I would have to work very hard to get there, but a career in professional football isn’t really something that I have my sights set on. I would just like to finish off my eligibility and get the most out of it that I can.”

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