April 22, 2023

O’Leary: Lake Korte-Moore’s unique path to the CFL Draft

Christian Bender/CFL.ca

Once he committed to football, Lake Korte-Moore’s dream wasn’t that different than the other players around him on the field. He wanted to play professionally.

While it’s a common dream, his reasons for getting to the pro level are quite personal.

“My grandfather played for the Blue Bombers,” the UBC defensive lineman said while in Edmonton for the CFL Combine presented by New Era. George Moore played his college football at North Dakota and while he wasn’t a part of the Bombers’ Grey Cup three-peat of the 1950s, he did play for a few seasons under legendary coach Bud Grant.

“My first-ever CFL game, I went to a Bombers game with him,” Korte-Moore said. “Ever since then, I just fell in love with football.”

Growing up in Ottawa, Korte-Moore was at TD Place when the REDBLACKS first took to the field in 2014. He was in the stands in 2017 for the 105th Grey Cup and saw Ricky Ray and the Toronto Argonauts stun the Calgary Stampeders for the win. As he’s grown into a CFL-calibre player over four seasons at UBC, racking up 110 total tackles (63 solo), 10 sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble and three pass knockdowns through 34 games, he’s thought about those CFL games. On May 2, he’ll officially make the leap to the pros when a team chooses him in the CFL Draft.

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While Korte-Moore has that CFL connection in his family, his path to the draft hasn’t been a simple A-to-B journey. He started playing football at age five, he said, but he also got heavily involved in ski racing as a kid. That’s the sport that seemed to consume his immediate family. Both of his sisters skied at a high level and their mother was a Division I skier at Washington State.

He showed promise in the sport and travelled internationally to compete. It proved to be an expensive and time-consuming endeavour, though. With his grades suffering, he let the slopes go when he was in grade 12 and that brought his focus back to the gridiron as he went into his grade 13 year in Ottawa.

With his grandparents living in Vancouver, it made the move west to suit up for the Thunderbirds a little easier for him in 2018. A challenging 2019 season felt like it served up a speedbagging of obstacles. The team had a bad year and Korte-Moore wasn’t happy with his play on the field. On top of that, he lost his grandfather. Then of course, COVID-19 walloped Canadian football at all levels in 2020. The U SPORTS season was cancelled and Korte-Moore, like so many other athletes across the country, was forced to get creative with his training. Working as a full-time carpenter in Whistler, BC, he found a reset that he may not have realized he needed at the time.

“For some people, it may have destroyed them. For me, it kind of rebuilt me,” Korte-Moore recalled.

“I got to really push myself to be a better person. That time to reflect by being by myself up in Whistler…I needed it personally. It was awesome. Then of course being in Whistler, you’re away from everyone and the gyms were closed…me and my buddies decided to make concrete weights and we used those and we just worked out outside all summer. It was awesome.”


When he got back on the field for the 2021 season, the T-Birds started to see that better version of their athletic defensive end. Last year, they got the full product. Beefed up to over 260 pounds for the 2022 season, Korte-Moore had fully transformed himself from the 227-pound freshman that arrived in 2018. His total tackles jumped from 27 in 2021 to 48 and he had a career-best six sacks, up from two the year before. Those numbers earned him a Canada West All-Star selection.

In his first edition of his mock draft on CFL.ca, Marshall Ferguson has Korte-Moore pegged as the eighth overall selection, going to the Bombers. The CFL’s Scouting Bureau ranked Korte-Moore 13th in its spring edition on Friday.

On May 2, Korte-Moore will wait to see where his unconventional football journey takes him next. He spoke of his grandfather a few times to media while he was in Edmonton and he’ll no doubt be thinking of him when he finds out where he’ll be taking part in training camp later in the month.

“I’ll be thinking about him, for sure and I’ll be thinking about my entire family the entire time,” Korte-Moore said.

“Luckily, I think I’ll have some of my family with me on draft night. It will definitely be a dream come true, if I get drafted, of course.”

At UBC, his grandfather went to watch him play until he couldn’t anymore and his grandmother started going in his place. Even though she’s since moved to Winnipeg, she plans on seeing him play at IG Field whenever he gets there.

“She’s seen me throughout my entire career,” he said.

“I hope that she gets to watch a lot more games.”

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