The Bombers announced this morning that they would be unveiling a brand new Ring of Honour at Investors Group Field over the course of the 2016 regular season. A new name will be added each game and fans will have the opportunity to vote for the players they feel deserve to be recognised.
I wrote a piece just over a year ago detailing the lack of effort the Winnipeg Football Club has put into celebrating its all-time greats. At that time, the Blue Bomber Hall of Fame was nothing more than a list of names on the team website. There was no physical list anywhere (to mine or anyone else’s knowledge) recognising the best players, coaches, and front office staff to ever don the blue and gold.
This was a problem that was recently fixed when a series of placards were installed at the main entrance to Investors Group Field listing the names of every Blue Bomber Hall of Fame inductee. Some of these names — Ron Latourelle, Bob Swift, Bud Tinsley, and Roger Savoie, to name a few — are unlikely to register with young Bomber fans. This is why the creation of these placards was so important, as they will serve as the first step for younger fans to learn about the club’s legends.
To use myself as an example, I’m not old enough to remember the playing days of Joe Poplawski, Chris Walby, Tyrone Jones, Leo Lewis, Dieter Brock, Kenny Ploen, Greg Battle or John Bonk. These are all players I learned about through watching vintage CFL games, reading books, chatting with older fans and members of the media, and taking advantage of online resources.
Hopefully the new Ring of Honour will inspire future generations of fans to learn about and appreciate Bomber legends who came before their time. It is imperative for professional sports franchises to celebrate past greatness and between new Ring of Honour, Investors Group Field’s new Hall of Fame placards, IGF’s gate names, and the statue of Bud Grant, the Blue Bombers are properly honouring their past for the first time in far too long.
The Bombers have announced that Chris Walby will be the first name to appear on the Ring of Honour, a well-deserved honour for an all-time great who should have seen his name attached to one of IGF’s four stadium entrances. While the remaining eight Ring of Honour inductees have yet to be selected, don’t be surprised if Milt Stegall, Ken Ploen, Bud Grant, Doug Brown, Dieter Brock, Bob Cameron, Leo Lewis, and Joe Poplawski all make the cut in year one.