Charitable efforts keep Smilin' Hank on the run

Stampeders quarterback during a preseason game.  (Al Charest/Sun Media)

Stampeders quarterback during a preseason game. (Al Charest/Sun Media)

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:07 AM ET

This a huge week in the life of Henry Burris.

On Tuesday, the Calgary Stampeders will officially hand their quarterback the Presidents' Ring for his dedication and leadership -- the highest honour bestowed to a player on the CFL team.

On Thursday, special guests start arriving to kick off the Henry Burris All-Star Weekend, which includes a golf tourney, celebrity softball game and evening gala to finish it off Saturday.

It's all about Burris, but he doesn't mind if he can help somebody else.

The All-Star Weekend is in support of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Calgary, one of the causes that's close to the star player's heart.

"It's a good outreach, something that affects kids' lives," said Burris, who focused on inviting fellow CFLers this season instead of NFL players.

"We wanted to get more of the CFL players involved. The fans have asked for more CFL involvement in the past couple years.

"Calgary is a melting pot, so there are Bomber fans, Roughrider fans and some Eskimo fans. This is a chance for them to come out and meet some players from across the league."

Getting the Presidents' Ring is a huge honour to Burris. It's the first time he received the award, and it comes on the heels of one of his best individual seasons statistically but also tough personally because he missed time with injury.

The fact the ring is handed out for leadership makes it that much more rewarding.

"It's not only what you do on the field but the dedication you show off the field, not only your teammates but to the beautiful community of Calgary," Burris said. "But I wouldn't be able to do it without my family and teammates."

Special guests for this year's event include Fred Perry, Jesse Lumsden, Jarious Jackson, Damon Allen, John Avery and CFL legend George Reed. For the first time, the softball game will be at Seaman Stadium in Okotoks.

Several current and former Stampeders players are also involved in the third annual event, which has become an unofficial preview to the upcoming season.

"Calgary is a great football city, and people are starting to get into football mood. They are ready to digest and breath football," the Stamps quarterback said.

"It's put everything all into one event, and it gears us up for the Stampeders season when all the players aren't in business mode."


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