With the jerseys of 13 Blue Bomber legends hanging in the Sun Centre on Maroons Road, the club announced on Thursday that its 80th anniversary season will begin with a trip down memory lane.
Two nights before Winnipeg plays host to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in its season opener and Hall of Fame Game, 10 all-time great Bomber players and three coaches will be honoured at the annual Legacy Dinner, Wednesday, June 30 at Canad Inns Polo Park.
Spanning the 1950s through to the 2000s, the players are Buddy Tinsley, Leo Lewis, Ken Ploen, Don Jonas, Dieter Brock, Joe Poplawski, Chris Walby, James Murphy, Bob Cameron and Milt Stegall. They’ll be joined by Grey Cup winning coaches Bud Grant, Cal Murphy and Mike Riley.
President Jim Bell says all 13 Bomber legends, who will also be recognized at the Hall of Fame Game, are expected to be in town for the celebration.
“The fact that it’s 80 years, it’s eight decades, we just thought it was very fitting that we had an opportunity to say to the fans, ‘look, we want to connect with decades gone by and really make this a celebration,’ ” said Bell.
The group was chosen by the Bomber Hall-of-Fame selection committee.
“The ones that I speak to, I must say the common bond is they understand the community, they understand the tradition of Blue Bomber football,” said Bell. “So regardless of the era that they played, I think they share that connection.”
Brock, the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 1980 and 1981, said being chosen among the 13 Bomber greats meant a lot to him.
“I was really honoured to have been selected as part of this group,” said Brock on conference call from Birmingham, Ala., “It’s just hard to put into words how much it means.”
Reflecting on his 10-year career as a Bombers quarterback, Brock said his fondest memories are of the groups he suited up with.
“The best thing is being with all these wonderful players that I had an opportunity to play with, and the coaches,” he said. “It was the best time of my career, there’s no doubt about that.”
Cameron, who has at the Sun Centre for the announcement, said listening to Brock brought back a lot of memories for him.
“The first year I started in 1980 he was the super star on the team, and with a few bits of luck going our way we could have won a couple of Grey Cups with him,” said Cameron, the CFL all-time leader in yards punted.
“I can just remember, looking out on the field here behind us, catching passes from him. He used to throw the ball after practice to us, and catching some of those 70-yard bombs, all those memories come flooding back to you.”
Cameron says the Legacy Dinner will be a special night for him.
“Very humbled and pretty excited to part of this night,” he said.
“I can remember, believe it or not, when they had the 50th anniversary and that was my first year in 1980,” said Cameron. “They made a bit of a deal out of it but nothing like this, and I think it’s just a really smart way to get some excitement with the team.”
NOTES: Former Bomber offensive lineman Matt Sheridan has signed with the Calgary Stampeders ... The Winnipeg Football Club is looking for volunteers to be par of the “Big Blue Flight Crew.” Volunteers are needed on game days, concerts and amateur events. Positions include ticket scanners, parking attendants, customer service personnel and ushering. Those interested can contact Kelly Seifert at 784-7423 or email@example.com.