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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


Mr. Electricity retires from football...

Posted 10/22/19 (Tue)

After 11 seasons in the Canadian Football League, Bismarck’s own Weston Dressler has retired from the CFL and has joined Sanford in Bismarck as a senior community relations specialist.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Dressler was an outstanding football player. Whether it was with Bismarck High School, the University of North Dakota, the Saskatchewan Roughriders or the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Dressler excelled as a wide receiver and special teams player.

The accolades he has piled up just since he joined the Roughriders in 2008, are amazing. In fact, following his first year in the CFL, he was named Rookie of the Year.

But it’s no wonder. He picked up in the CFL right where he left off at UND.

Dressler wasn’t the biggest or the meanest football player on the field, but he had a finesse about him, kind of like Wayne Gretzky, that made him valuable to the Roughriders organization.

Dressler played his high school football at Bismarck High School where he named Gatorade Player of the Year.

In college he excelled. As a senior, he caught 75 passes for 1,274 receiving yards while being named to the North Central Conference’s all-star team for the fourth season in a row. After four seasons at the University of North Dakota, Dressler set 19 school records.

He was such a prolific player in college, TV sports commentator Pat Murphy started calling him “Mr. Electricity,” because he always charged up the crowd in the Alerus, as well as in many road venues.

Following his four-year college career with the Fighting Sioux, he was picked up by the Saskatchewan Roughriders and made Rookie of the Year in his first season.

He would play for the Roughriders for seven additional years before moving over to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers where he played his last three years as a professional football player.

In 2013, Dressler was instrumental in the Roughriders winning the Grey Cup over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

In 2014, he joined the Kansas City Chiefs for a short time, but returned to Regina where he felt at home.

By the end of 2018, Dressler had become only the 17th player in Canadian Football League history to amass more than 10,000 yards receiving.

He’s been in some interesting situations and usually came out with the football and a touchdown or a big gain in yardage.

This North Dakota native was often the subject of sports segments on Friday nights on TV stations, not only in Saskatchewan, but all across Canada, especially in those cities that have CFL franchises.

Dressler has had long runs, he’s had a number of circus catches, he’s returned punts and kick offs for touchdowns and he’s even thrown passes.

How do you replace somebody like that? You really don’t. Weston Dressler is not the kind of athlete who just comes to the team each year. This is a special player, one who is unique to the game in spite of the thousands of people who play football.

Unfortunately, the Blue Bombers chose not to renew his contract for 2019. He was actually offered contracts once again with the Roughriders as well as the Ottawa Redblacks and Calgary Stampeders, but chose to retire at 34 years old instead.

Regina Leader-Post sports columnist Rob Vanstone wrote that Dressler should have signed with the Rolughriders just for a day so that he could retire as a Saskatchewan Roughrider.

That didn’t happen and now he’s back in his hometown working for the hospital. And don’t be surprised if he becomes a coach at Bismarck High School.

Dressler was one of the most popular players in the CFL and it showed. Walk around Regina or Saskatoon and you’ll still see a number of people wearing his No. 7 jersey.

That’s the same thing that happened in Edmonton when Wayne Gretzky left that organization in 1988 for the Los Angeles Kings.

So how do you think Weston Dressler stacks up all time against other professional athletes from North Dakota?

That could be hard to determine because we don’t often think about it, but North Dakota has churned out some outstanding athletes: Roger Maris, Virgil Hill, Carson Wentz, Phil Jackson, Darin Erstad, Dave Osborne and many others.

Sports Illustrated has named the top 50 athletes from North Dakota and although Dressler is not currently on that list, he will be in the near future.