Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Are you Ready for some REDBLACKS Football

Are you Ready for some REDBLACKS Football?


There will be excitement in Ottawa this coming Friday night. For the first time in several years, there will be professional football in our capitol city. The Ottawa REDBLACKS will take the field at 7:00pm, Eastern Standard Time, to play the Toronto Argonauts. It is actually the team’s fifth game of the season, the third in the regular season.



There is a long and storied history of football in Ottawa. The first professional team suited up in 1876. Until the collapse in 1996, the franchise won an impressive nine Grey Cups. Many great football players passed through the doors of Landsdowne Park. The team will play in the same location, but you would not recognize the area if you haven’t cast a glance there in the last ten years.



The owner of the Ottawa 67’s, Jeff Hunt, has really been the mastermind of the rebirth of the REDBLACKS. He has combined all sorts of his personal interests into one jumbo package, similar to the Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment world. He is a local boy, and he knows the markets, for all of his ventures. Hopefully, the Ottawa folk will avoid the horrible mistakes suffered under the leadership of the Gliebermans and a man named Chen.



The REDBLACKS will play a 18 game schedule, finishing against Toronto on November 7th. That is a rivalry that goes back many decades. The other main rival of the REDBLACKS is the Montreal Alouettes. Follow the route of the Voyageurs down the Ottawa River, and you will end up near McGill Stadium, where the Alouettes will test your mettle.



Many former Rough Rider players came from Ottawa, and stayed there following their football careers. Such is not the case today. There are rules limiting the number of American imports one can dress for each game. Once the season ends, they head south to the warmer climes. They are not stupid.



Moe Racine played more games (201) for the Rough Riders than anyone else. Second on the list is Gerry Organ, followed by Bob Simpson, Ron Stewart, and Russ Jackson. For those of us who grew up on CFL football in Canada, that should stir some memories. Organ scored more points than any other Rider (1462). In 1959, Dave Thelan scored 24 points in one game, as did Ron Stewart against the Alouettes.




Names appearing on the list of most touchdowns for the team include Tony Gabriel, Jackson, Stewart, Simpson, and Whit Tucker. Jackson passed the ball for more than 24 000 yards during his career. Damon Allen recorded 4 275 yards, but added a considerable number to the total when he was with the Argos.



On the other side of the ball, Rider fans will not forget Joe Poirier and Jerry “Soupy” Campbell. They led the team in career interceptions. Many other great characters also wore the Rider uniform, including Tom “The Emperor” Jones.



Belleville’s Terry Wellesley played his high school football at Quinte Secondary School. Following that stint, he had an impressive career in Ottawa. Another Bellevillian, Gary Schreider spent his college days at Queen’s, then worked the backfield with Stewart. George Brancato stayed in the country, coaching aqnd managing for many years.



Ah, the “Glory Days”. The REDBLACKS have dropped their first two games, sputtering in the second half. They are tied with Hamilton for third place, also called the basement. There will be growing pains, but a playoff spot is not out of reach.



TSN brings it to you Friday night. The game is sold out; howver, there are plenty of tickets for upcoming games. Be there.


James Hurst

July 15, 2014   




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