He was in the starting line-up for the Stettler Lightning for the game against the Red Deer Vipers at 7.30 p.m on Friday, Nov. 12. The game ended a little later than 10 p.m..
Some 12 hours later, on Saturday, Nov. 13, he was on the Wm. E Hay football field, warming up for the Wildcats’ provincial qualifier for the Northern Division finals against Cold Lake Royals, he scored two touchdowns. The game ended at about 3.30 p.m.
Less than four hours later, he was again skating on the ice at the Stettler Recreation Centre, warming up for the Stettler Lightning game against Mountainview Colts, taking his place in the starting line-up and scoring one of the two goals that the Lightning put on the scoreboard that night.
That kind of energy is hard to find in an athlete, but it is even more difficult to find the kind of dedication and commitment that Landon Potter of Stettler puts into his game.
“I just don’t know,” Potter says when he is asked where he finds that inexhaustible energy to play with so much devotion.
“I have been playing sports all my life. I started hockey when I was about eight years old and football, I started two years ago,” Potter says in reference to his involvement in his two favourite sports.
But he says football has taken priority over hockey over the last few months as the Wildcats continued with their provincial campaign seeking a Tier III title.
“But hockey is just getting started,” he adds.
Preparing to graduate from Wm. E Hay at the end of this academic year, Potter admits that his involvement with both of Stettler’s leading teams in hockey and football has made a dent in his academic performance and his marks have been a little less solid as compared to previous years.
But he doesn’t think that graduation is jeopardized in any way by his athletic engagements. And after graduation, seeking a professional career in athletics is high on the agenda.
“I have already been to tryouts with (Heritage) Junior A teams and there I could not do much,” Potter said. But professional football is a quite realistic option for the young athlete to pursue.
Potter plans to take a year off after graduation to make up his mind on the avenue he is going to advance. But even if he doesn’t go ahead with a career as a professional football or hockey player, he still wants to stay engaged with athletic activity, as a gym teacher, if nothing else.
There is also the family business of construction, but Potter appears determined to pursue all the athletic options first before adopting the family business.
Potter says he finds a welcome support from the family behind his athletic ambitions as it was his father who inspired him to take up football two years ago.
Potter’s dedication to his game is appreciated by both of his coaches who praise his extraordinary effort to contribute to team work.
Wildcats’ head coach Norbert Baharally described Potter as an “outstanding student athlete”.
“Every time he gets on the field, he gives 110 per cent of effort and his commitment to his sport is commendable,” Baharally said.
“We often sit back as coaches and say ‘we need more players like this’ and Landon is one of those players we see as one of the leaders in our team, both on and off the field.”
“He is not a huge player but what he lacks in size, he makes up with a huge heart and courage.”
Stettler Lightning head coach Doug Smith echoed Baharally’s views.
“He is a very hard working guy, not the most talented or the biggest star you will ever see, but he more than makes up for it with his work ethic,” Smith said.
“He is willing to go to the dirty places on the ice and he is willing to play in a way that could give him some bruises, he is always ready when he is needed for duty, and any kind of duty,” he added.
“He has a team-type attitude.”