Defensive tackle Rick Klassen wasn’t with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1989, but he did help that team win the Grey Cup.
Klassen had already won a Grey Cup with the B.C. Lions when he joined the Riders for one season in 1988. Riders’ general manager Bill Baker wanted to add a proven, winning veteran to his young squad. Klassen instantly became a favourite teammate during training camp in Saskatoon. Veteran players were allowed to bring their own vehicles, so Klassen brought a van, which he loaded with tired teammates for the short shuttle from the practice field to the dormitories.
Throughout the season, Klassen was a mature, reliable teammate. He practiced hard and faced all the tough questions. He showed the Riders how to be a pro. He returned home to B.C. the next season, but some of the lessons he taught resonated with teammates like Gary Lewis, Mike Anderson, Steve Crane and Dan Rashovich, who were key members of the Grey-Cup winning Riders in 1989.
Klassen died recently from cancer at the age of 57.