Walking into the Riverview Community Centre, it is quiet on a Wednesday afternoon. After asking for Ryan Karhut there’s sniffing, grunting, and pawing from the other side of an office door.
The door opens and a giant dog named Duncan emerges with his owner, Karhut, gripping the leash firmly. Duncan’s friendly but he’s slobbery.
Karhut has been on the job as the community centre’s new general manager since April 1. Since then, he said it has been a whirlwind.
"It’s been pretty crazy," said Karhut. "It started off kind of trying to get my feet a little wet, then it turned into being pulled into a million directions, and everything going on all at once."
Karhut isn’t a stranger to a whirlwind though, originally from Regina, Sask., he captained the 2007 University of Manitoba Bison’s football team when they won the Vanier Cup, was a fifth-round pick to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and was traded to the Montreal Alouettes for the 2008 season.
In between practises and games at the U of M, Karhut studied Recreation Management and Community Development. While playing in the CFL was also a dream come true, so was being named the community centre’s new GM.
"I was more than ecstatic going through the process of the prospects of maybe one day working here," said Karhut, who spent a couple of years in sales waiting for a job like this to open up. "After spending two years in that field I was pretty ecstatic about this opportunity."
Karhut said playing football was a pursuit of passion which complements his current role in community development.
"Playing in the CFL was also a dream of mine, but the two dreams always kind of went hand-in-hand," said Karhut. "When I grew up playing football I was involved in community development, and got involved in kids’ camps and working with inner-city youth. That’s where I developed this passion, it evolved out of that. This turned into my dream job while following that passion."
Though he’s going to take his time making changes and bringing new programs to the community centre, he definitely wants to bring football to the neighbourhood.
"There is no kind of football offered here at this time. I would like to, in an ideal world, have football camps here for kids, and start a flag football program," said Karhut. "With football being one of my passions in life, I’d kind of like to bring that into here too."