Move to Win­nipeg gives Bombers’ Har­ris chance to be a full-time dad

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY JUDY OWEN

Lit­tle girls of­ten don’t like to share daddy-daugh­ter time, but that’s not the case when An­drew Har­ris is out with nineyear-old Hazel.

When fans come up to the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers run­ning back to say hello or get his au­to­graph, his daugh­ter gets a kick out of the at­ten­tion.

“She en­joys it. She thinks I’m the big­gest star in the world, which is amaz­ing,” Har­ris said re­cently with a chuckle.

“It’s a great feel­ing to have your daugh­ter look up to you like that and know you’ve done some­thing in your life.”

Har­ris is at a good place in his pro­fes­sional and per­sonal life. For the first time in a decade, he got to spend a full year in his home­town af­ter signing as a free agent with the Bombers last year.

What the run­ning back has ap­pre­ci­ated the most is more time with Hazel, whom he co­par­ents with his former girl­friend.

“My daugh­ter has def­i­nitely been the big­gest in­flu­ence on where I’m at to­day and who I am to­day,” said Har­ris, who’s get­ting ready to re­port for train­ing camp on May 26.

“I don’t know where I would be or if I would have even made it if I didn’t have her in my life at such a young age.”

Har­ris, 30, left Win­nipeg af­ter high school to play for the Van­cou­ver Is­land Raiders of the Cana­dian Ju­nior Foot­ball League.

Hazel was born in 2008 and the young fam­ily lived in Nanaimo while Har­ris played foot­ball and worked. The cou­ple split up the fol­low­ing year and Hazel and her mom moved back to Win­nipeg.

Af­ter start­ing his CFL ca­reer with the B.C. Lions in 2010, Har­ris was de­ter­mined to pro­vide for Hazel fi­nan­cially and emo­tion­ally. He al­ways re­turned to Win­nipeg in the off-sea­son to be with her.

That de­sire to be a sup­port­ive par­ent was in­flu­enced by his up­bring­ing. His fa­ther wasn’t part of his life grow­ing up and he and his mother some­times strug­gled fi­nan­cially. It was one of the rea­sons he gave up play­ing hockey and fo­cused on foot­ball.

CP PHOTO

Win­nipeg Blue Bombers’ An­drew Har­ris and his daugh­ter Hazel fly a kite at Assini­boine Park in Win­nipeg on May 13.

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