Joffrey Reynolds, 33, will serve his time on weekends and faces two years of probation once he has completed his sentence.
He was found guilty earlier this year of assault causing bodily harm, common assault and unlawfully being in a dwelling after trying to choke and smother his former girlfriend when she came home and found him in her bed in July 2012.
Crown prosecutor Hyatt Mograbee had asked that Reynolds be given two to three years in prison. Reynolds's defence lawyer told court that his client had already lost his reputation and career and shouldn't have to spend time behind bars.
"He stands before you today contrite, respectful of this court and remorseful for what happened," said Bjorn Harsanji.
"This was a person who was an MVP a few years ago and then he was released. He has lost a lot. His public reputation is gone. I think the message is out. There's a general deterrence that no one is above the law.
"Mr. Reynolds is certainly not above the law."
Reynolds is from Texas and played college football at the University of Houston. He played eight years for the Calgary Stampeders and was the team's all-time leading rusher with 9,213 yards.
He was named a CFL all-star four times and won a Grey Cup championship with the Stampeders in 2008 before his release in 2012.
Since his conviction, he has been working on a construction site.
Kaitlin Ward, 27, had dated Reynolds for six years before ending their relationship in December 2011 upon discovering he had been cheating on her.
Ward testified at the trial that she and Reynolds were trying to determine if they could "salvage'' their relationship when she allowed him to stay with her for a couple of days after his house went into foreclosure.
Ward testified she told Reynolds at a party that he had to get out. She said Reynolds got angry and kicked her in the back of the leg and was waiting for her later when she got home.
"I was shocked,'' she said. "I went by the front door to shoo him out. That's when he kind of tackled me."
Ward said Reynolds was sitting on top of her.
"He's smothering my mouth and choking me. Shoving his chin into my neck,'' she said. "I was gasping for air at that point."
Justice Brian Stevenson imposed strict curfews on Reynolds, told him he cannot drink alcohol and ordered him to undergo counselling if required.
He also ordered Reynolds to write a letter of apology to Ward and to donate $5,000 to the Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter.
The Crown read a victim impact statement on behalf of Ward who said even a year later she remains fearful.
"I still think about the crime when entering my home alone at night and I'm still scared," she said in the statement.
"I was very worried after he was found guilty, and not sentenced immediately, that he would attack me again. This is a person who has an extreme temper that (he) can't control and this was not his first time assaulting me."
Reynolds's lawyer said it was "highly likely" that his client would be removed from Canada and sent home to the United States once his sentence is complete.