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July 26, 2016

Chris Walby first named to Ring of Honour

He walked loudly and he carried a big stick. He could be ornery and he could be hilarious all at once.

And he was as passionate about winning as much as he despised losing.

As one of the most dominant offensive linemen in Canadian Football League history, Chris Walby would pancake would-be blockers and, once they found their bearings, do it all over again on the next snap.

He could talk a good game, too, both in the trenches and later as an analyst for both CBC and TSN radio.

But when he first found out he was to be the first of the many Winnipeg Blue Bombers legends to be added to a new Ring of Honour at Investors Group Field, this massive and loquacious man was left speechless.

“It’s hard to know what to say when you are honoured like this,” said Walby. “I just have a tremendous sense of pride. And I just feel so lucky.

“It’s one of those things you really don’t expect. I had heard some rumblings and wasn’t sure they were going to do something like this. And it wasn’t until the Winnipeg Rifles dinner in one of the rooms when (Bombers President & CEO) Wade (Miller) made the announcement.

Chris Walby smiles before CFL action between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Montreal Alouettes in Winnipeg Saturday, November 3, 2012. (CFL PHOTO - Marianne Helm)

“I was totally caught off guard.”

 

Walby is enshrined in both the Blue Bombers and Canadian Football Hall of Fame, is a nine-time CFL All-Star, a three-time Grey Cup champion and was twice named the CFL Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman.

Originally drafted by the Montreal Alouettes as a defensive lineman, he was shrewdly brought to Winnipeg by then-Bombers GM Paul Robson and carved out a superb career.

Walby’s name will be the first to be added to the new Ring of Honour presented by the Insurance Brokers of Manitoba at the club’s season opener June 24th at IGF against the Montreal Alouettes.

Eight other additions will be added to the Ring of Honour at each home game this season, their selections made through and on-line voting system at bombersfanzone.com along with guidance from the Bomber history and recognition committee.


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After the first class of nine, one more alumni will be added to the Ring of Honour each season.

“I feel tremendously honoured,” said Walby. “I look at it like it’s not just for me, it’s for my kids. Every time my kids or grandkids go to the stadium they’ll be able to say, ‘Hey there’s dad or granddad up on the ring of honour.’ That’s the coolest thing in the world, man. That’s a legacy for when I’m not around anymore. And to be the first guy going in is a really special thing.

“Being inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame was an honour. But when you do a Ring of Honour it’s a very select group and to be a part of that in your hometown where your family and friends live is just the greatest thing.”

 

2o RING OF HONOUR NOMINEES

Chris Walby

Ken Ploen

Milt Stegall

Leo Lewis

Fritz Hanson

Bud Grant

Gerry James

Jack Jacobs

Herb Gray

Greg Battle

Dieter Brock

Tom Casey

Bud Tinsley

Frank Rigney

Joe Poplawski

Bob Cameron

James Murphy

Tyrone Jones

Charles Roberts

Doug Brown