SSHoF logoJohn Konihowski

Athlete (2004)


John KonihowskiJohn Konihowski enjoyed a brilliant career as a runner, hurdler and long jumper at the University of Saskatchewan before shifting to football where, in nine Canadian Football League seasons, he played on Grey Cup-winning teams four times with the Edmonton Eskimos.

John was born in Moose Jaw where he played football and competed in track and field, catching the eyes of scouts from Brigham Young University who awarded him a scholarship based on his talent as a long jumper. He was an NCAA indoor finalist in the triple jump at Brigham Young in 1970, while at the same time, returning to Canada for summer time where he was twice Canadian junior triple jump champion and twice the national junior champion.

John joined the University of Saskatchewan track team in 1972 and one of his first trips to the podium was as 300-metre champion in Western Canada finals. He was also a regular at the Saskatchewan indoor meets at the old downtown arena. He dominated the Western Canada Interuniversity Games for two more years, winning 50 metre hurdles, long jump and 300 metres in 1973 and the 300 metres, 400 metre hurdles and long jump in 1974.

John was the Canadian 400 metre hurdle champion and won the Olympic trials in 1972 but he missed the Canadian Olympic team because his time was .3 seconds short of the standard. His coach at the University of Saskatchewan was Lyle Sanderson, who remembers that in 1974, John won 17 finals in seven of the meets in which he competed.

His other inspiration was Diane Jones, whom he met through track and field and whom he married in April 1977. John took his speed and his catching ability onto the football field with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, where one of his best seasons was 1973 when he had 46 receptions for 793 yards.

He was drafted by the Calgary Stampeders in 1972, was released and turned up with the Edmonton Eskimos in 1974 where he played seven seasons. His best statistics were produced in 1975 when he had 828 yards and eight touchdowns from 45 receptions. He tasted his first Grey Cup victory with the Eskimos in 1975 and, then his victory with this 1978 team, was the first of three more in succession that the Eskimos won. He was traded to Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where he played two seasons, and like he had done in Edmonton, was active in working with special needs children.

He closed out his CFL after the 1982 season, with 136 catches for 14 touchdowns and 2,232 yards. His commitment to community has always been strong and he's been a teacher and coach with a number of organizations. John has been honored by the Saskatoon Kinsmen Club for athletic skills and inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and the University of Saskatchewan Wall of Fame.