Peter Dalla Riva was just a young boy when he and his family emigrated from Treviso Italy to Hamilton in 1953. Little did he know he’d become a great Canadian Football League player and one of Canada’s most popular athletes.
Dalla Riva was groomed in the Canadian Senior Football League, playing for the Burlington Braves and the Oakville Black Knights.
He started his brilliant professional career with the Montreal Alouettes in 1968, as a tight end and would play for a franchise record 14 seasons with the ‘Als’ until 1981.
Dalla Riva often came up with clutch receptions and his tremendous blocking ability made him a key element in the great Montreal teams of the 1970’s.
He played 197 regular season games, catching 450 passes for 6,413 yards and 55 touchdowns.
Dalla Riva played six Grey Cup games, winning the CFL Championship in 1970, 1974 and 1977. He scored a touchdown in the ’77 game on a seven yard pass from quarterback Sonny Wade.
Dalla Riva was a CFL All-Canadian in 1972, ’73 and ’75 and was an East All-Star four times, including 1977.
He was the All-Star game MVP in 1973.
He was also Montreal’s nominee for the Outstanding Canadian award in 1975 and 1976, as well as their nominee for the Outstanding Player award in 1976.
The Alouettes retired his number 74 in 1981. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
In 2006, TSN named Dalla Riva to the ‘Honour Roll’ of the CFL’s ‘Top 50 Players’ of the league’s modern era.