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December 5, 2017

Number 66

NUMBER SIXTY-SIX
NAME POSITION YEAR
John Brown (also 24, 41, 60) C 1950-53
Stanley Bryant OL 2015-
Orlando Bobo OL 2004
Alexandre Gauthier OL 2007-08
Wayne Giesbrecht DT 1970-71
Miles Gorrell OT 1992-95
Calvin Jones G 1956
Garrick Jones OT 2002, 2006
John Kaiser (also 54) LB 1989
Dan Knapp OL 2013-14
Rob Lazeo G 2000-01
Les Lear (also 4, 36, 41) G 1937-43
Mario Mariani DE 1965
Willie Martin T 1982
Mike Mihelic OL 1997-99
Butch Norman (also 65) OL 1974-80
Paul Palma T 1984
Steve Patrick (also 53, 63) G, MG 1952-64
Russ Rebholz (also 8) HB, K 1933-38
Steve Rodehutskors (also 66) OL 1987-91
Jordan Taormina OL 2012
R.P. (Buddy) Tinsley (also 41, 64) T, DT 1950-60
Peter Vandenbois OL 1983-84
Ray Watrin G, T 1970-74
Bill Whisler DE 1962-69

 

Canadian Football Hall of Famers:

  • Russ Rebholz (1963)
  • Les Lear (1974)
  • Buddy Tinsley (1982)
  • Miles Gorrell (2013)

 

Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Famers:

  • Les Lear (1984)
  • Russ Rebholz (1984)
  • Buddy Tinsley (1984)
  • Steve Patrick (1985)
  • Butch Norman (1994)
  • Bill Whisler (2000)

 

CFL All-Stars:

  • Butch Norman (1976, 1980)
  • Stanley Bryant (2017)

 

CFL Award Winners

  • Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman — Stanley Bryant, 2017
  • DeMarco-Beckett Trophy (Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman, West Division) — Stanley Bryant , 2017

 

Division All-Stars:

  • Les Lear (1941)
  • Buddy Tinsley (1950, 1951, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958)
  • Steve Patrick (1958, 1959)
  • Bill Whisler (1964, 1967, 1968, 1969)
  • Butch Norman (1976, 1979, 1980)
  • Stanley Bryant (2017)

 

Bomber Team Awards:

  • Most Outstanding Canadian – Steve Patrick, 1959
  • Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman – Stanley Bryant, 2015
  • Most Outstanding Lineman – Steve Patrick, 1958; Bill Whisler, 1964, 1967
  • Most Outstanding Rookie — Mike Mihelic, 1997
  • Ed Kotowich Good Guy Award – Miles Gorrell, 1995

 

He Wore It Well: Les Lear, G, 1937-43/Russ Rebholz, HB, K, 1933-38

Lear was born in North Dakota, but grew up in Winnipeg, learning the game with the Deer Lodge Juniors and then the University of Manitoba before joining the Bombers in 1937. He was part of two Grey Cup championship teams and, after serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II, returned to the United States and signed with the Cleveland Rams in 1944, making him the first Canadian-trained player to play in the NFL.

He stayed in football after his playing days and was the head coach of the 1948 Calgary Stampeders, who went unbeaten en route to the Grey Cup.

Lear was also involved in thoroughbred horse racing as a trainer and owner, winning six U.S. and four Canadian stakes races in the 1960s and 1970s.


Rebholz came to Winnipeg as one of Canada’s first import players after playing in Japan and starring at the University of Wisconsin in both football and basketball. He first joined the St. John’s Rugby Club in 1932 before signing with the Winnipeg Football Club. Nicknamed ‘The Wisconsin Wraith’ while with the Bombers, he was both a player and coach and was known for his abilities to kick and pass and threw two TD passes in Winnipeg’s 1935 Grey Cup championship.

He returned to Wisconsin after his playing days and, like Lear, turned to coaching but in basketball. He had a .539 winning percentage at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee between 1952 and 1963.

Notable:

Calvin Jones played just one year with the Bombers, in 1956, but was so talented – he was the first African-American to win the Outland Trophy (top interior lineman) with Iowa in 1955 – that he was invited to play in the CFL All-Star game after his lone season.

Sadly, after the game he and four other CFL’ers were killed in a plane crash while on the way to watch the 1957 Rose Bowl.

His story was told wonderfully by Infield Productions and TSN in this documentary.

Count Bill Whisler among the many from Iowa who found a home with the Bombers. A draft pick of the Washington Redskins, Whisler came to Winnipeg in 1962 and was part of a Grey Cup championship team in his first year. He spent eight years in Winnipeg, earning four divisional all-star team berths, before wrapping up his career in 1971 after stints with B.C. and Montreal.

FYI:

We saluted Steve Patrick at the Number 63, Buddy Tinsley at Number 64 and Butch Norman at Number 65.