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Rob Maver retires after 10 seasons with Stampeders

On the rare occasions when Rob Maver was called upon to do anything other than punt a football, you could see the joy it brought him.

Maver spent 10 seasons kicking balls for the Calgary Stampeders, most of them as the team’s punter. He was as good as it gets at punting the ball, too.

Occasionally, though, he got to do more when the Stamps chose to run a fake instead of punting on third down.

It was in those moments that you would see how much he loved the game of football.

“Nobody had more fun (on fakes),” Maver said Thursday from McMahon Stadium at a press conference to announce his retirement. “I was asking for them all the time. I probably spent more time throwing the ball than I did kicking it.”

To be clear, Maver’s accomplishments as a punter stand on their own. His ability to find the coffin corner pinned countless opponents deep in their own zone, and even when he didn’t have the big numbers that some other CFL punters did, he was always considered to be one of the very best directional punters in the league.

That’s what made him a three-time West Division all-star and a two-time CFL all-star, while also earning the Stampeders’ Most Outstanding Special Teams Player award in 2014.

With Maver punting and Rene Paredes taking care of field goals, the Stampers fielded one of the most reliable kicking tandems in CFL history since 2011.

“Training camp next year is going to be very, very different,” Paredes said. “I’m super happy for him. I’ve known him for a long time and not one time did I try to convince him otherwise. Super happy for him. Not only going to lose a teammate but a very good friend in the locker-room.”

Maver’s time with the Stampeders happened to coincide with one of the most dominant runs in franchise history. Between 2010, when he arrived in Calgary, and 2019, when he called it a career, no team won more CFL games than the Stampeders.

They also played in five Grey Cups, winning two — in 2014 and ’18.

While Maver might never have been the superstar or the biggest name on any of those teams, he still contributed in a major way. That was part of why so many teammates, both past and present, showed up for his retirement announcement on Thursday morning.

It was a group that included Paredes, as well as long-snapper Pierre-Luc Caron, receiver Kamar Jorden and former fullback Rob Cote.

Maver’s teammates saw the work they put in, and while your average fan might not understand the specific challenges that come with being a punter, guys like special teams coordinator Mark Kilam certainly did.

“It looks easy in the sense that you’re kicking a ball, but there’s a lot that goes into it,” Kilam said. “A lot of things can happen fast and depending on how you kick it, good things or bad things can happen. Everyone is looking at you. It’s a position that demands the spotlight and demands someone who is consistent each and every time.

“If there’s one compliment you want to give a player, it’s that they’re consistent. It means you’re a good professional, and that’s what Rob was.”

Maver’s legacy in Calgary — where he will remain after retirement, despite growing up in Ontario — goes far beyond the football field, though.

Maver was a tireless advocate for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, and won the team’s Herm Harrison Memorial Award for service to the community on two separate occasions. Just last week, he was named as the winner of the Canadian Football Players’ Association’s Tom Pate Memorial Award for sportsmanship and contributions to one’s team, community and the CFLPA.

The on-field stuff was pretty impressive too, though.

In 163 regular-season games, Maver punted 921 times for 41,429 yards, including 85 career punts inside the opponents’ 10-yard line.

He also completed five of seven passes for 99 yards and had one career carry for 24 yards.

“One of the things people need to realize about Rob is he was one of the hardest workers on his team at his craft,” said Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson. “I didn’t find any other kicker or punter in my career that worked as hard as Rob. He took it serious, he wanted to be the best, he did what it took to win.

“Sometimes punters want to get their numbers up, but Rob, in my opinion, was one of the best directional punters ever. So that doesn’t always translate into the biggest numbers, but did a great job on fakes. A consummate pro.”
Twitter: @DannyAustin_9