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Sam Hurl Reflects on His CFL Career and its Greatest Takeaways

Sam Hurl | Linebacker | Saskatchewan Roughriders/Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Always believe in yourself and your abilities. It’s easy to lose faith in yourself from time to time but to remember what got you where you are and to just keep working hard.

Sam Hurl

Linebacker

Saskatchewan Roughriders/Winnipeg Blue Bombers

× The interview with Sam Hurl was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

You were drafted by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2012 after playing for your hometown Calgary Dinos and stepped into another successful locker room. What did being a member of the 2013 Roughriders teach you as a player starting to build his career?

The biggest thing I probably learned from being on the 2013 riders was leadership. The locker room was very close and had a lot of vets that had played for 5 or more years.

The vets ran the team and they were without a doubt the reason that team won the championship. The vets had a way of conducting themselves that taught me early in my career what it took to be a pro and how a championship team operates.

It all starts with strong leadership. The most senior of the vets were all very hard working guys and did a good job to make sure everyone was held accountable and further to that, included and apart of the team.

Who were the most impactful members of the team on your development during your first stint in Saskatchewan?

Mike McCollough who was a teammate of mine and also a linebacker. He took me under his wing and really helped teach me what it means to be a true pro in the CFL, the work that is required on and off the field in order to be successful.

I was fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of vets that were all super helpful but Mike was always very supportive and really wanted to see me do well.

You are one of a small list of players in recent years to have played multiple years for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. What was it like having been on both sides of the league’s biggest rivalry and what was the biggest plus of playing for each team?

I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to play for both teams. Getting to be a part of all the Labour Day and Banjo Bowl games for the last 8 years was spectacular and without a doubt my favorite time of the year.

The fan bases from both teams is pretty unique and I feel pretty lucky to have been able to experience both sides.

Winnipeg was great because I loved the team; we had a great time in Winnipeg and enjoyed ourselves both on and off the field. Regina was great because I really had developed a close network of people who lived in Saskatchewan.

 

You played for three different head coaches during your career, two in Saskatchewan and one in Winnipeg. What was the most important takeaway you received from each of these men?

O’Shea was without a doubt my favorite coach. He understood the importance of the locker room and the benefits of having a close group. He worked extremely hard and expected the same from everyone around him. He was highly respected and had a good relationship with the players. He made it enjoyable to come to work.

Jones did things his own way and was a little more unorthodox, but it worked for him. He had complete control of his team and believed in his system. He made things simple and had a defensive system that allowed the players to have a lot of freedom.

Chamblin was a new Head Coach at the time and there were things he did that I liked but there were also a lot of things I didn’t like but that’s just the way it is sometimes. The team had a strong core of leaders and that is what made the team successful.

You officially announced your retirement from the CFL this year and are transitioning into another career. What is the most important lesson you learned over your 8 year career and what advice would you give to your younger rookie self?

To always believe in yourself and your abilities.

It’s easy to lose faith in yourself from time to time but to remember what got you where you are and to just keep working hard.

Matias Bueno Matias's Final Thoughts

It was very cool to speak with veteran CFL linebacker of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers/ and Saskatchewan Roughriders Sam Hurl about his reflection on the finale of his 8 year career. I was fortunate to meet Sam in between off-season workouts when I was with the Calgary Dinos, which is Sam’s alma mater and hometown. I have also been able to watch the entirety of his career since his first few years to his return to Saskatchewan last year. Having played for both sides of the most intense rivalry in the CFL at a time where both teams’ rosters were frequently changing, Sam made a name for himself on special teams and then at middle linebacker.The lessons he learned from seasoned veterans of both teams, his Head Coaches and his own play can be beneficial for all who aspire to achieve their dreams. Best wishes to Sam in his next career!

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