A Grey Cup champion a CFL East All-Star, a Vanier Cup winner, a financial planner and a business owner… And to top all that off, Jeff Avery is known as the voice of football in Ottawa.
Avery first tryst with popularity came when he was playing as a wide receiver for the
University of Ottawa, He played with them for four seasons, from 1972 to 1975, in what has been claimed to be the best-ever edition of Gees-Gees football. In his third season, Avery entered the record books for the third most reception yards in a season (860). His exploits earned him a spot on the All-Canadian team, a feat he was able to repeat the next year when he would go on to guide the Gees-Gees to a memorable Vanier Cup triumph.
Avery’s standout performances saw him being drafted by the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1976 and he justified his selection when he helped the team win the Grey Cup the same year. His stint with the Rough Riders lasted for seven seasons during which he was named the CFL East All-Star in 1977 and 1978. It was in 1978 that Avery delivered his career best performance – 50 catches for 767 yards and also punted 54 times for a 39.4 yard average. He ended up with a career total of 169 passes for 2619 yards with 15 receiving touchdowns.
After retiring from the game in 1982, he became a financial planner and business owner but the lure of the game was too strong and he joined the media as a radio analyst. That was way back in 1988 and now, in 2018 – 30 years later, he is the undisputed voice of CFL football in Ottawa.
Avery has also gone the extra mile when it comes to giving back to the sport. He has been the president of the CFL Ottawa Alumni Association (CFLOAA) for the last 16 years. He was one of the founding members of the CFL Alumni Association (CFLAA) 10 years ago. He played a key role in setting up the CFLAA Support Fund, which offers financial support to alumni and families who are experiencing a financial hardship because of a medical condition or sudden loss of income.
From the rise and fall of the Rough Riders, the demise of the Renegades and the success of the new kids on the block – Redblacks, Avery has covered all three avatars of CFL in Ottawa.
A 30-year career covering CFL in Ottawa and Avery is still going strong, raking up the radio yards with the same passion with which he started out.