Shayne Gauthier and Redha Kramdi may not have the chance to play for the Montreal Alouettes, their local team, but they have the privilege of playing for the CFL’s current benchmark.
Danny Maciocia walks the talk of his commitment to rely heavily on local talent. The 2023 edition of the Alouettes deployed this sought-after flavor thanks to a dozen players from Quebec.
The Alouettes general manager didn’t have a chance to add Gauthier and Kramdi to this picture, but these two athletes certainly can’t complain as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers make it to the Gray Cup game for the fourth time in a row.
“In the draft, my family definitely hoped I would stay home. I grew up watching Chip Cox and Anthony Calvillo. It would have been special. But I’m honored to be a part of a legendary organization that in an amazing rise. No matter where I play, my parents will support me and they became supporters of the Blue Bombers when I was drafted,” said Kramdi, who was selected 16th overall in 2021 when the Alouettes used in their choice before this position to return to Pier-Olivier Lestage.
“I am proud to have been part of the Bombers since 2016. I want to finish my career with this team if possible. With all the success we’ve had, I don’t take the time to look back, but I will when I’m done. All these years will represent something special in my life,” said Gauthier who experienced his fourth last game against three for Kramdi.
This 110th edition of the Gray Cup has a more interesting nature for Kramdi.
“The difference this year is that I started from the fifth or sixth week so I have a bigger role. I was surrounded by a lot of future Hall of Famers — Adam Bighill, Willie Jefferson — so I tried not to overdo it,” said the 26-year-old athlete.
For his part, Gauthier may find himself on the field more often in defense if Bighill is unable to fill his “big” shoes for the final.
“It could happen. We have a pretty old group of linebackers, we’ve been together for years. So, whatever happens, we are confident in the team players. We will be able to get the job done,” answered Gauthier, sounding like a player who should contribute more than just special teams.
It’s always special to face great friends like Cibasu and Dequoy
It goes without saying that facing the Alouettes won’t be the best season for them.
“Danny recruited me when I left CEGEP. He is a bit of a godfather to me. He knows my family, he knows my brother who died (in 2021). We messaged each other, we congratulated each other. I’m happy, I have a lot of friends with the Alouettes like Dequoy. We started with the Carabins, he played on the same side of the field as me,” said Kramdi, who did not need to give advice on his attack to be careful of the bandit with his hair flying in the wind during his attack. -interception.
“Everyone knows now. Last year, he became one of the best defenses in the CFL and one of the best players in the CFL overall,” he continued.
Kramdi also has a great story to tell about the interception returned 101 yards by Dequoy in the Eastern final.
“I was at home with my two roommates. They know I know Dequoy and a lot of players in Montreal. I was in my room watching videos and talking to my mother when one of them knocked on my door. He shouted because Dequoy had just made the interception. I know after our match that the Alouettes had won,” Kramdi testified.
“In social networks, we have a group of former Carabins where we exchange messages and flow with each other. We congratulated each other there,” said number 17 of the Bombers.
His best “friend” still remains Regis Cibasu.
“I grew up with Regis, he was in the same class as my older brother in elementary school. We are neighbors, so I have known him since I was a child. Kevin Kaya is another, like Pier-Olivier Lestage,” Kramdi said.
Gauthier finished his university career at the Rouge et Or.
“I was recruited at the same time as Philippe Gagnon, I played with him and Vincent Desjardins. I don’t know David Dallaire, but I know who he is. Regis, I’m playing. In short, I know French speakers. David Côté has a bit of the same background as me, he played with the Beauce-Appalaches Condors and then at Laval University. I didn’t play with him, but I followed his journey,” Gauthier explained.
Kramdi and Gauthier expected questions about the Alouettes’ “overlooked” status. They made sure no one fell into this trap with the Bombers who, after all, lost last year’s Gray Cup against Toronto.
“I have the impression that the players put in the necessary work. They attack the week in the right way. You try not to make it routine. I know several players who never had the opportunity to participate in this match,” added Gauthier. part of it.
When not playing in Montreal, Gauthier and Kramdi each had fine careers in the CFL. Gauthier, who works as an electrician during the off season, lives there year-round with his wife. But he cannot forget his roots.
“I’m a full-blooded Jeannois and I’m trying to represent the Lac-St-Jean region as much as I can across Canada,” he said.
We’ll have to see if Kramdi re-establishes himself long term in Winnipeg. Maciocia might not mind adding him to his squad.