'Played and Stayed' documentary tells story of black Roughriders in Regina

The Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum has started a project to tell the stories of black players who chose to live in Regina after their football careers were over.

Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum will air preview of film Saturday afternoon

Former Riders defensive back Phil Price and the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum's Carol Lafayette-Boyd. (Submitted photo)

When former Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive back Phil Price ended his football career, he could have moved anywhere in the world.

Instead, Price, who was born in Providence, R.I., decided to stay in Regina after leaving the field.

"I liked the small city," he told CBC Radio's Morning Edition host Stefani Langenegger. "It was a beautiful place to raise my three daughters, and build the painting business I have. It just worked out very nicely."

Price wasn't alone. Over the years, many African American players for the Riders ended up staying in Regina on a permanent basis.

Now, the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum has started a project to tell their stories.

The museum is currently putting together a documentary called Played and Stayed, telling the stories of more than 20 former Riders who decided to call the Queen City home.

"The Roughriders are so important to Saskatchewan," said the museum's Carol Lafayette-Boyd. "We felt that the contribution that they made should be known."

Hard times

While Price said he never had any serious problems with racism in Regina, that wasn't the case for everyone.

When legendary running back George Reed arrived in the city in 1963, he wasn't able to find a place that would rent to him.

"He had to stay in a hotel because of his race," said Lafayette-Boyd.

Price, who arrived in the city in 1978, said race relations had since improved.

"It has come a long way," he said. "I was raised up in the civil rights movement in the Martin Luther King Jr. days, and right now, it's changed a lot. And there's still a lot more that needs to be done."

The documentary will hopefully be finished this fall.

A trailer for Played and Stayed will screen at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum at 2 p.m. CST Saturday afternoon, with many Riders in attendance.

They will also be present for Measha Brueggergosman's Songs of Freedom performance for Black History Month at the Conexus Arts Centre Tuesday night. 

With files from CBC Radio's Morning Edition