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July 1, 2022

Canadian Content

They are the foundation of every Canadian Football League roster and especially here in Winnipeg with the two-time defending Grey Cup champion Blue Bombers.

They are products of right here in Winnipeg, from the East coast and West coast and points in between. And while Canada Day celebrations are understandably muted in some places across the country, the Blue Bombers’ homegrown talent should still be appreciated and applauded. With that in mind, here’s a quick look at the club’s Canadian content with the hometowns and universities listed of each player:

CANADIAN CONTENT BY PROVINCE

B.C.

Jesse Briggs – Kelowna, McGill University
Michael Couture – Burnaby, Simon Fraser University

Saskatchewan

Patrick Neufeld – Regina, University of Saskatchewan

Manitoba

LS Mike Benson – Winnipeg, Acadia University
SB Nic Demski – Winnipeg, University of Manitoba
OL Geoff Gray – Winnipeg, University of Manitoba
RB Brady Oliveira – Winnipeg, University of North Dakota

Ontario

RB Johnny Augustine – Welland, University of Guelph
FB Konner Burtenshaw – Amherstview, Queen’s University
OL Liam Dobson – Ottawa, University of Maine/Texas State
DB Tyrell Ford – Niagara Falls, University of Waterloo
LB Tanner Cadwallader – Georgetown, ON., Wilfrid Laurier University
DB Nick Hallett – London, University of Toronto
DB Noah Hallett – London, McMaster University
OL Chris Kolankowski – Etobicoke, York University
DT Cameron Lawson – Caledon, Queen’s University
K Marc Liegghio – Woodbridge, Western University
WR Brendan O’Leary-Orange – Toronto, University of Nevada
DB Patrice Rene – Ottawa, Rutgers University/University of North Carolina
DB Malcolm Thompson, Windsor, Wilfrid Laurier University

Quebec

LB Shayne Gauthier – Dolbeau-Mistassini, Université Laval
LB/DB Redha Kramdi – Montreal, Université de Montreal
DB Cedrick Lavigne – Gatineau, Carleton University

New Brunswick

DT Jake Thomas – Douglas, Acadia University
FB Mike Miller – Riverview, Acadia University

Other

WR Drew Wolitarsky – Santa Clarita* (Qualifies as a Canadian as his mother was born in Montreal)


As well, here is a list – previously run during the pandemic – of our Top 10 Canadians in Blue Bombers history. This list is entirely debatable and is so deep that some outstanding candidates have been left off like Gerald Wilcox, Steve Patrick, Ken Nielsen, Jeff Nicklin and Eddie James… to name but a few.

  1. Chris Walby, (Winnipeg, Mb.) – A Canadian Football Hall of Famer, he was named to nine CFL all-star teams in his career – more than any other Bomber – and is arguably the greatest lineman in league history.
  2. Gerry James (Regina, SK.) – A graduate of Kelvin HS, James made the Bombers roster at age 17; was the inaugural winner of the CFL Most Outstanding Player Award in 1954 – he won again in 1957 – played in six Grey Cups, winning four. Oh, and he appeared in 164 games, including playoffs, with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
  3. Doug Brown (New Westminster, B.C.) – A tough, tough hombre who was a seven-time All-Star, the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian in 2001 and is in both the Canadian Football and Winnipeg Football Club Halls of Fame.
  4. Joe Poplawski (Edmonton, Alta.) – A five-time CFL All-Star, ‘Joe Pop’ was the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie in 1978, the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian in 1981 and 1986 and the Bombers nominee six times – all before retiring at the age of 29.
  5. Andrew Harris (Winnipeg, Mb.) – He spent the first chunk of his career in B.C. but piled up the awards when he returned home in 2016 with three straight rushing crowns, the CFL’s top Canadian award in 2017 and both the MVP and top Canadian honours from the 2019 Grey Cup. The Blue Bombers will face their old friend – sixth in club history in rushing – Monday in Toronto.
  6. Bob Cameron (Ancaster, Ont.) – Hall of fame punter played until he was 48 and holds the league iron-man streak at 353 consecutive games played. Four-time CFL All-Star and the top Canadian in the 1988 Grey Cup.
  7. John Bonk (Stoney Creek, Ont.) – He was steady for so long for the Bombers. A Canadian Football Hall of Famer, he was the CFL’s top O-lineman in 1984 and a four-time All-Star.
  8. Troy Westwood (Dauphin, Mb.) – The franchise’s all-time leading scorer, a WFC Hall of Famer and the inspiration behind the Banjo Bowl.
  9. Rick House (Burnaby, B.C.) – Served two tours with the Bombers, winning Grey Cups in ’84 and ’88, is a member of the club’s hall of fame and ranks fifth in all-time receiving yards.
  10. Cornel Piper (Ardmore, Alta.) – Bomber Hall of famer who won four Grey Cups over an 11-year career with the club and often raved about by the legendary Bud Grant.