Nigel Romick and Melissa Lamb are two of Ottawa’s notables, both in their own respective careers. Romick, a professional football player from Thunder Bay, is beginning his 9th season with the Ottawa Redblacks, and celebrated his 100th game with the team and in the CFL in 2022. Melissa Lamb is one of Ottawa’s own; born in Vanleek Hill but raised mainly in Orleans. Melissa spent almost 10 years as a familiar face on CTV News and CTV Morning Live, and now is a prominent brand ambassador, blogger and influencer in Ottawa. Nigel and Melissa are parents to two young children, and lead a busy life balancing their many hats, while remaining prominent members of Ottawa’s community on camera, on the field, and supporting many local events and charities throughout the year. We sat down with the couple to discuss their professional lives, their early dating years, and their newest title of ‘Mom & Dad’.
Do you remember your first-time playing football? What are some of your favourite memories as a young boy playing the sport?
I started playing high school football in grade 10 and I had no idea what I was doing, I couldn’t even throw a football correctly. Some of my favourite memories when I was younger was definitely on friday nights as we rode the school bus to the stadium with our full equipment on to play a game. Also the friendships I gained playing football… I still keep in touch with many of my good friends that I gained through football.
Did you play any other sports as a kid? At what point did you know you wanted to pursue a career in football?
My parents were big into us playing sports and got my sister, brother and myself involved in multiple sports at a young age. I grew up playing soccer, hockey, basketball, volleyball, and did some track and field. I would say I wanted to pursue a career in football after I attended the East-West game in my third year of University and knew I could play at the next level with all of the other players.
You were drafted by the Redblacks in the 3rd Round of the 2014 Draft. What your first professional training camp like. When did you find out that you made the team, and who was the first person you called when you found out?
Oh gosh my first training camp…at that point of time I honestly was second guessing myself about playing professional football. Everyone was so strong, fast, technical and I didn’t think I was good enough to play. I eventually got through the exhausting long days and at the end of camp I made the roster in the final team meeting. I was in the Carleton dorms and I called my mom right away.
Tell us what it felt like for your first professional game, to also be the first game in the history of the Ottawa Redblacks franchise. What did it feel like for you to have achieved your dream of making it to the CFL?
It was pretty surreal playing in my first professional game because it was actually the first CFL game I’ve attended at the same time. Looking back at the first game played at TD place, there have been so many great memories I’ve been a part of and shared with Ottawa.
When the Redblacks won the Grey Cup in 2016, you unfortunately were injured. How hard was it for you to miss the game?
That was a really hard year for me having two injuries that required surgery each time. Missing the playoff run and grey cup win was so hard to watch on the sidelines but I still enjoyed the entire week in Toronto. I’ve made sure to attend all the festivities during the Grey Cup week because as a player you never know which grey cup could be your last.
You are the franchise leader in Games Played, which is a great honour that I’m sure you will look fondly back on when you retire. What are you most proud of in your career to date?
Last year I played my 100th regular season game and that to me I can look back on and be immensely proud of. As a teammate and player I take pride in being as reliable as possible and knowing I am someone they can trust.
How and where did you meet Melissa? Was it love at first sight for both of you, did you have to do some work to win her over?
After a game I was out for dinner at Joey’s, Melissa and I had mutual friends and we were all going downtown together so I jumped into an Uber and sat beside this beautiful blonde I have never met before. Love at first sight…I would say no, but as the night went on I sure loved her dance moves. I asked her on a couple dates and she kept making up excuses until I broke my hand during a game and finally got a pity date out of it.
Where did you go on your first date? What do you remember liking the most about her that evening?
I bought a bottle of red wine and headed over to her condo then we walked over to the Andaz rooftop for a drink. Our conversation flowed so smoothly and I knew she was such a good person, after our first date I adored everything about her.
How has becoming a father changed your life? What is the best thing about being a dad? What have you learned about yourself since you became one?
Before we were parents we could make last minute plans to go out for dinner or travel to Tremblant, nowadays we have four different agendas and we have to plan everything around them. The best thing about being a dad is no matter how tired I am, their morning smiles just brighten my day. I learned that I have little patience, still working on that one.
What are some of your favourite restaurants and places to go to in Ottawa?
Favourite restaurants and places to go in Ottawa are Rosebowl Steakhouse, Eddy’s Diner for breakfast, obviously anywhere at TD place, Little Victories for a coffee, Ribfeast on Sparks, or heading down to the shops in Westboro.
If you could recommend one book, one movie and one album to people reading this, what would you choose?
The Champion’s mind by Jim Afremow, Tom Hardy is the man so Mad Max: Fury Road and Run Home Slow by The Teskey Brothers.
What piece of advice would you give to someone reading this who wants to follow in your footsteps and play in the CFL one day?
Always stay in the present and trust your abilities, you can accomplish so much by not worrying about the future or past.
You were born in Vankleek Hill and raised here in Orleans. Tell us about your life here growing up, where did you go to High School, what were some of your favourite places to go growing up, and favourite memories you had of time with your family?
I loved growing up here. I truly feel it’s the best city to raise a family. I grew up in the east end Orleans, where I went to St.Peter’s High School and have the fondest memories from my time there. A childhood highlight would have to be our annual summer visits to the Ex and winter trips to the Rideau canal.
Did you start cooking and baking when you were a kid? What was the first thing you baked all on your own? Do you still use that recipe?
I started baking with my grandmother as a little girl. It was always my bonding time with her. She was an incredible baker and would just whip up the most delicious recipes from her head and I remember thinking how cool that was. I have vivid memories of baking peach pies in her kitchen and I hold onto those memories tight. I’ve luckily inherited her baking skills and am definitely the resident baker amongst my friends and family…. but my specialty is cupcakes.
Tell us about how you ended up covering the Senators incredible run to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, what was that experience like for you?
This is still a top highlight in my career. I will never forget the buzz and the energy of the building when we hosted the Cup Finals. It was my first job in the media working for an Ottawa Senators TV Show on Rogers…I was still in school, so it was a pretty huge opportunity so early on in my career. My job was to get live one-on-one player interviews so there was a lot of pressure especially with the huge media presence and scrums after the game. It was insane. I remember being pumped with so much adrenaline and just loving the fast-paced environment. It was such a rush I knew at that moment it was the right career choice for me.
You worked for many years here both on CTV Morning Live and on CFRA as well. What did you enjoy most about broadcasting, and became part of the family to many viewers across the region. What is something you’re most proud of during your time on the morning shows?
I think my favorite memories from the show are always the unscripted ones. Since it’s a live 4 hour show that’s a lot of TV time to fill so there ends up being so many funny impromptu moments that happen organically. We were all friends, so I think there was just a lot of natural chemistry between the hosts. It was honestly a blast. I think I’m most proud of being able to wake up at 3:30 am for 8 years…lol those who know me know I’m not a morning person, my family placed bets on how long I’d last working those hours…I think they gave me a week….and I survived well past that. But when you love what you do, and who you’re doing it with it truly makes the hours not so bad.
Tell us about your career now, you seem to be doing a lot of work for different brands across the region. What services do you offer and what do you enjoy most about being a Brand Ambassador and Lifestyle Expert?
Growing up I always loved fashion so to be the face and brand ambassador of St.Laurent is a dream job. Not only is the work fun and rewarding but the people I’ve gotten to work with along the way make the job that much better. While my style has evolved over the years I still love my girlie chic fashions. Another passion of mine is luxury cars, so to work with Mark Motors was also another dream come true. Getting to drive some of the most incredible brands like Audi, Porsche, Land Rover and Maserati just to name a few, puts a smile on my face from ear to ear. Not only a dream to work with some of the most amazing brands, but the core values behind the business are incredible, they truly believe in giving back and helping our community which is so important to me as well.
We asked Nigel the same question, so it will be interesting to see if the answers match.. what was YOUR first impression of Nigel, how did you meet? Was it love at first sight for you, did you or he have to win the other over?
He slid into my Uber. Hahaha well we actually met very briefly outside Joey’s before he slid into my Uber but he definitely hoped in. We just happened to both be at Joeys on the same night at totally different tables with different people…I was on the patio and he was inside then somehow through mutual friends he joined our group as we were leaving to go somewhere else. I wouldn’t say love at first sight….after that night he asked for my number then I spent the next few weeks trying to dodge a date…Lol….I was totally judging a book by its cover…I just thought this guy is NOT what you’re looking for….he’s younger….he’s hot….he’s an athlete…No Missy No….don’t go there you know how this story goes and it never ends well for you. But then after a couple of lame excuses I remember he got hurt and needed surgery and was texting me from the OR…I can’t remember what exactly he said but I remember it was cute and so I said I would go on one date….but I didn’t want to go out so he could come over and have a glass of wine…Well the moment he walked into my house I remember thinking to myself “you’re in trouble” because not only was he physically appealing on the eyes he was so kind, sweet and our conversation just flowed naturally. I remember telling my mom very early on when we were dating that the girl who marries Nigel is a lucky lady…and here I am…although we still technically have to get married.
What makes Nigel a great father, what do you admire most about him as a person?
Nigel is the most incredible father. Luca absolutely admires and adores Nigel. He’s incredibly hands-on and engaged in their lives. He’s kind, warm and patient with them, he takes Luca outside in the pouring rain, snowstorms, wind chills…he never lets the outdoor elements stop him… He also builds him some pretty incredible snow forts which are the envy of the neighbourhood. There is a lot I admire about Nigel as a person he is so kind and has the warmest heart. He’s incredibly hardworking, committed, loyal and humble.
How has being a mother changed your life? Has it changed you as a person, was there a moment that you will never forget that made you look at life differently?
Being a mom has changed every aspect of my life. I sometimes feel like I’ve lived 2 lives, before motherhood and after. I would need a thousand pages to write how much it truly changed me, but I think the biggest thing is the emotions. I was already an emotional person and now I’m just even more sensitive to things. I see all children in a different light and I want to protect them all. It’s made me a powerhouse of protection. You would do anything to keep your babies safe. I also feel a sense of purpose greater than I ever have. Until I became a mom, I had no idea it was possible to love someone else so deeply and so profoundly that I’ll never be the same again. Most of the time I feel like maybe I’m a little crazy because I’m just so obsessed with them…like is this normal…is this obsession healthy…lol but it is. I also understand and appreciate my own mom in a whole new light.
Tell us about your own Mother and Father, what do you admire about them the most?
I have the most incredible parents. They’re selfless and do anything and everything for us and their grandkids. They’re so involved in all of our lives, we joke that they’re pretty much full-time babysitters now trying to juggle all of our schedules. They usually have a few of their 7 grandchildren each day. My dad is an engineer, retired now but has taught us about ambition and work ethics, he always worked hard to provide for us. He’s a car buff so my love of cars stems from him. My mom stayed home with us and I realize now more than ever the huge sacrifice she made to be there for us growing up…motherhood is one of the most rewarding but challenging jobs. We were always involved in so many extracurricular activities from figure skating, to dance, skiing on weekends and so many more…I honestly don’t know how they did it.
What do you never leave your house without?
My phone and water.
What is the funniest movie you’ve ever seen?
I don’t even remember the last movie I’ve seen other than kids movies…lol
How would you describe your personal style? Do you have favourite brands?
I would say girly chic. I love feminine touches like ruffles, bows, frills. I have so many favourite brands and designers, but I always love anything Chanel…so classic and feminine…not that I own much Chanel but it’s nice to look at and dream.
When you are home with the family, what is on your TV the most?
Blippi, Cocomelon or Paw Patrol….lol
What is your favourite children’s book or TV show, and what is one that you can’t wait to never have to read again or watch (when they get a little older)
Love you Forever…although I still can’t read it to my kids without crying…that book gets me feeling all the feels.
I mean I’ll be happy to retire Cocomelon when they get a little older.
Where is the most romantic spot in Ottawa?
Where is the spot in Ottawa you think of that makes you happy every time you think of it?
Nordik Spa and TD Place
What are some of your favourite restaurants?
Riviera, Zoe’s, Rosebowl, we don’t get out much…so we have a long list of places we’re dying to try…
What patios would you recommend this summer to someone new to the city?
La Terrasse, Tavern on the Hill/Falls/Gallery, Mati, Joey’s
What is your favourite drink in the summer?
When you look back at your life to date, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
Becoming a mom, truly the best.
Is there a piece of advice you could give to readers about what has really helped you find happiness in life?
A motto I stand by is dream big, work hard but above all else be a good person. I think I truly find happiness in the little things in life…even something as simple as a hot coffee.