Great rea'son' to show pride

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:14 PM ET

Of all the football memories in Harry Kruger's life, this one will really stand out.

And he's not even going to be on the field.

He will be in the stands at McMahon Stadium when son Blaine Kruger suits up for the Calgary Stampeders, the same team he played with from 1981-83.

"Wow," Harry Kruger said about tomorrow's Stamps outing against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. "You compare it to your first game playing yourself, and then your kid doing it ... It's tied for No. 1 moment, I will tell you that.

"You aren't going to beat this."

With Ryan Thelwell (hamstring) sidelined after replacing Ken-Yon Rambo (knee), the Stamps are turning to the 23-year-old rookie Kruger, who signed a practice-roster deal a few weeks ago.

Once Blaine plays receiver for the team, it will mark only the second father-son combination in Stampeders' history behind Wayne Harris and Wayne Harris Jr.*

Blaine was born after his father stopped playing defensive back for the Stamps, but he's heard more stories than you can count, including how Harry, who now calls Cochrane home, used to defend against current head coach John Hufnagel during off-season workouts.

Harry played for the University of Calgary Dinos at the time and lived across from the stadium. He would try to blanket Hall-of-Fame receiver Tom Forzani while Hufnagel threw the passes.

"You get pretty good against those guys," Harry said. "When I went back to university ball, it was like slow motion. That's where I got my break because it took me to the next level."

Hufnagel remembers it well, and said Blaine has the will to compete his father had.

"The best way to describe Harry is a scrappy defender," Hufnagel said.

"We used to come out in the off-season with receivers and he would be tackling them just to get in shape."

Although Blaine calls it a dream to play with the Stamps, he certainly didn't plan it this way. Growing up in Cochrane, he was involved in all sports but really didn't take to football until going to play junior ball with the Victoria Rebels. This opportunity was supposed to come a year ago with the Stamps, but Blaine suffered a high-ankle sprain before he could cash in on a camp invite.

Instead, he went to UBC, where he was the Thunderbirds' leading receiver.

As for managing his anxiety this week, Blaine said he's having no troubles so far, but to check back with him on game day. There is a lot to digest while learning all the special-teams coverage units he is getting assigned, but the rookie feels comfortable.

"Obviously, there are meetings to go to and it's pretty in-depth," Blaine said. "It's not rocket science, it's football. I've done it all my life.

"Football is more mental than other sports, but all you have to do is prepare and be ready."

Growing up, Blaine went to more games than he can remember as the Krugers has season tickets. Blaine is still a fan, albeit from closer range.

"My favourite Stampeder of all-time was Allen Pitts ... and Harry Kruger."

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* Updated at 1 p.m. EDT

The local media was racking its collective small brains trying to find father-son combinations who played with the Stampeders.

We missed one.

The pending activation of Blaine Kruger, whose father Harry Kruger played for the Stampeders in 1981-83 will be the third, not the second as was reported this morning.

There was Wayne Harris and Wayne Harris Jr. as previously mentioned but we missed Hal and Tom Krebs.

Hal Krebs was an offensive guard and tackle who played from 1962 to 1967, while Tom Krebs manned the centre position from 1979 to 1983. Tom Krebs was actually a teammate of Harry Kruger for three seasons, and both players didn't miss a game dueing the 1981 and 1982 seasons.

We thank Bill Krebs for the note and apologize for the omission.


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