"Heenan grew into football but he'll always be a SK farm boy"

May 4, 2012 - 6:28am Updated: May 4, 2012 - 7:00am
Ben Heenan puts on his Roughriders jersey after being picked 1st overall in the draft. Jamie Nye/News Talk Radio
Ben Heenan puts on his Roughriders jersey after being picked 1st overall in the draft. Jamie Nye/News Talk Radio

You could say it's the dream of any parent in Saskatchewan - watching their son play professional football at home.

Dale and Deb Heenan were in the audience yesterday morning, when the Roughriders announced their son Ben as the first overall draft pick.

Dale said he didn't expect to be in the room to hear the announcement.  He thought he would be at home, watching it on TSN.

He and Deb agree that football is their son's sport. They explained that Ben has always been an athlete.

"He did other sports and then when he was in high school a couple guys took a look at him and said hey why don't you try it," Dale commented.

Dale said it seemed like Ben was always destined for football.  Even when he was a kid, a hockey coach suggested football would be a good fit.

"He kind of just grew into football," Dale described how he got his start at Sheldon William's Collegiate in Regina.

Following his high school years Ben moved to Saskatoon to play for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. His mother Deb said Ben has been working for years to become a Roughrider.

"We've watched Ben all these years and he's always been rather focussed and it's been wonderful to watch him follow this dream and work hard towards making it come true for him," she said.

Now they will be able to cheer their son on the hometown team.

They also pointed out that playing in Saskatchewan will allow him to keep up his other passion - working on the family farm in Grand Coulee near Regina.

"He and his brother have farmed here for a number of years together and it's always been one of his other dreams," Deb explained. "It's wonderful that he is so close and able to possibly do both," she said.

Edited by News Talk Radio's Adriana Christianson

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