Less than a day after being told they were traded, the two newest Roughriders were on the field at Mosaic Stadium practising with their new teammates.
Offensive lineman Philip Blake and fullback Patrick Lavoie came to Saskatchewan from Montreal in a trade that saw receiver Josh Stanford and a second-round pick head the other way.
It can be a frantic time when any player is traded, but complicating matters for the two former Alouettes is the team was on a bye week, and neither were in Montreal at the time.
“I was in Quebec City with my family. Packed my stuff, went to Montreal, packed other stuff in Montreal and caught a plane at eight (Wednesday) night,” laughed Lavoie, who said he hasn’t even had a chance to check out where he’ll be staying.
“My stuff is upstairs (at the stadium), my baggage is upstairs. I don’t even know where I’m going to sleep tonight,” he continued. “I mean, I know, but visually I don’t know where it is exactly.”
The move meant Lavoie had to have a conversation with his wife Angie about what the trade meant for his family. Lavoie has been in the league since 2012, but has played close to home – either in Montreal or Ottawa – for the entire time.
“That was my first thing to do, talk to my wife, talk to her about my family. My son is going to turn three soon and make sure she’s okay with it,” he explained.
Lavoie added that since he was traded so late in the season it made the move a lot easier to handle, but it will still his first time this far from home.
It was a familiar situation for receiver Brian Jones, who was traded to the Roughriders at the end of August from the Toronto Argonauts.
“There’s a lot of underlying issues that you don’t think about when you see a player get traded,” Jones said.
Jones had spent his entire career in Toronto after being drafted in 2016. He said he sensed something was coming, but it didn’t make the transition from Argo to Rider any less jarring.
“The day that I got the call I had a lot of mixed emotions, obviously. My girl (in Toronto), I had to pack up and leave her so that was tough … and I was on a flight at 9 o’clock that night. You just kind of move your life to a different place and then I was playing in Vancouver that week.”
Like Jones, Lavoie and Blake – who was in Toronto visiting his mom when he got the call – will also be slated right into the lineup as the Riders face off against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Saturday.
Head coach Chris Jones said both of his newest players look good out there.
“(Blake) seems to just already fit in with our group and the communication is outstanding. And we got Lavoie doing two or three special teams and he knew our terminology and our system so we look forward to seeing what both bring to our football team.”
It goes without saying that both men are excited to be in Saskatchewan with a shot at the playoffs instead of Montreal, whose season will end without a postseason berth.
“Seriously, I’m just glad to be here,” Lavoie grinned.
“Being on a winning team, being playoff bound, being everything the Saskatchewan Roughriders bring.”