Bravo to the Canadian Football League and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats! Tim Hortons Field hosted Thursday evening's 2017 Canadian Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony honouring, from left: Kelvin Anderson, Mike O'Shea, Stan Schwartz, Geroy Simon, Brian Towriss and (missing) Anthony Calvillo.
Here are some notes from the evening:
|Rod Smith at the mic|
2 - TSN's Rod Smith served as the MC for the night and admitted it was one of the few times that he could actually be a "fan" and gush over his Canadian football heroes who were on hand for the evening.
3 - Commisioner Randy Ambrosie led off the speakers and joked that when he was a rookie in the CFL, he didn't envision being on the stage for a Hall of Fame induction in quite this fashion. He properly feted the inductees, and delivered a classy address.
5 - Stampeders great Kelvin Anderson reached 1,000 yards in each of his eight CFL seasons and credited Roy Shivers for getting him to the CFL. He had a ton of family on hand and thanked them all individually for supporting him on his road to greatness.
6 - Anthony Calvillo admitted that his intention was to miss the ceremony as his preference was to be in Montreal preparing for the Alouettes' Week 13 game against Ottawa but his team strongly encouraged him attend his induction. His speech was heavily focused on family, but he seemed distracted and it was clear his thoughts were with his current team. However he did acknowledge Bob Young's comment, and said it was a "much different atmosphere" when he toiled with the Ticats and congratulated Young on what he's accomplished with the franchise.
|Thursday Night Lights|
8 - Long-time Stampeders executive Stan Schwartz said the biggest reward of his front office career was watching boys come to the Stamps and leave as men. He also thanked his parents, and spoke of growing up in Medicine Hat and learning the traits of Respect, Responsibility and Discipline. He also thanked Graham Kelly of the Medicine Hat News which made me think that's the first time a member of the media was recognized at a Hall of Fame induction!
9 - Geroy Simon was, as expected, spectacular. He thanked every team who gave him a chance and also every coach who recruited him. He also thanked the Roughriders for giving him a chance to win a Grey Cup in his last-ever game. He broke down entirely when recognizing his late wife Tracey, and said it was her who encouraged him to give the B.C. Lions a try when he was cut by the NFL. For me, Geroy's was the best speech but I have a huge soft spot for him.
10 - U of S Huskies legend Brian Towriss mentioned that after losing two Vanier Cups on that very field, he never would've expected he'd be inducted into a Hall of Fame there. He mentioned that while he may not be monetarily rich, he's rich in experiences and family.
When one Hall of Famer strode across the stage to make his speech, Angie barked out "UGLY!" His wife reached over and angrily swatted him across the shoulder. Not many heard it, thankfully, but I did!
12 - Among those in attendance, Marc Trestman, Jim Popp, Craig Reynolds, Wayne Morsky and Rider board members, Bob O'Billovich, Russ Jackson, Pete Martin, Dave Naylor, Leo Ezerins, Miles Gorrell, James West, Peter Dalla Riva, Scott Mitchell, John Hufnagel, Wade Miller and a host of other CFL personalities.
13 - Again, I was blown away by the event and was so glad I went. Sitting in those seats on a warm fall evening, it was the very essence of football.
Thanks to Canadian Football Hall of Fame Executive Director Mark Denobile for extending the invitation to attend.
Well done Mark!