Hamilton Tiger Cats

Leif Pettersen - Receiver - 1978-81 - Otterbein College


Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame

Born in Toronto in 1950, Leif Pettersen attended Northern Secondary School and captained a number of championship football and hockey teams from 1965 to 1969.

As football became his real love, he accepted a scholarship to Otterbein College in Columbus, Ohio where he lettered in both football and golf from 1970 to 1974. He was voted and received the male "senior athlete of the year" award and as a graduating senior was selected to play in the North South All Ohio Shrine Bowl All Star Game.

Pettersen was drafted by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1974 and played with such CFL legends as Ron Lancaster and George Reed for four years. In 1976, Saskatchewan lost one of the most memorable Grey Cups to the Ottawa Roughriders when Tony Gabriel caught a long touchdown pass in the last minute to win.

However, even in a losing cause, that game was a "breakout" game for Pettersen as he caught seven passes that day and received a game ball from then CFL commissioner Jake Gaudaur. Traded to Hamilton in 1978, he played for four more seasons and had another Grey Cup appearance in 1980.

Pettersen had his most productive year in 1979, when he led the Eastern Conference in pass receptions, was an all star and was runner up for the Schenley Award as Most Outstanding Canadian.

Pettersen retired after eight seasons in the CFL and moved directly to the broadcast booth where he was the analyst for the CFL telecasts on CTV and TSN for eighteen years.

Still active in television he has done Arena football for Sportsnet as well as various Grand Prix

Horse Show events and is a guest host on the Fan 590 radio morning show.

Pettersen is a founding Governor of the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame and has been a resident of The Kingsway area of Etobicoke with his wife Lee and their two daughters Kate and Ali, since 1978.


Pettersen passed away of a sudden heart attack in 2008 at the age of 57. Tributes and memories poured in for the talented broadcaster and former star athlete.

-- statistics --



Leif Pettersen   Otterbein
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1974 Ssk 15 237 15.8 31 3
1975 Ssk 13 204 15.7 33 1
1976 Ssk 10 161 16.1 37 3
1977 Ssk 12 134 11.2 17 0
1978 Ham 41 557 13.6 38 0
1979 Ham 56 838 15.0 52 4
1980 Ham 34 486 14.3 42 6
1981 Ham 27 415 15.4 48 7
Total 8 208 3,032 14.6 77 24