Five players who should be in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame

The Canadian Football League unveiled the 2018 Canadian Football Hall of Fame class at a Gala Event in Winnipeg on Mar. 21. The class of Scott Flory, Tommy Hugo, Hank Ilesic, Brent Johnson, Barron Miles, Frank Cosentino, and Paul Brule is a great group that’s fully deserving of induction.

The announcement caused me to reflect on some of the players who should be in the Hall of Fame, but aren’t. Here are five players who are worthy of induction to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Bryan Chiu

A seven-time league and nine-time divisional all-star, Chiu is one of the most well-decorated offensive linemen in CFL history. Chiu’s resume includes a Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman award in 2002 as well as three Grey Cup victories with Montreal over the course of his thirteen-year career (1997-2009).

Chiu entered the coaching ranks after his playing days were over, coaching the offensive line at Concordia for four seasons (2010-2013) before moving on to the Argonauts (2014) and Redblacks (2015-present).

Chiu is a slam dunk for the Hall of Fame — it’s only a matter of time before his induction becomes official. The fact that he’s been eligible for five years without being inducted is a surprise and, in many ways, a crime.

Kent Austin

Austin may not be Hall of Fame-worthy for his work as the head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2017, but there’s no question that he deserves to be enshrined for his career as a player.

Austin currently sits twelfth all-time in CFL passing with 36,030 yards over a ten-year playing career split between Saskatchewan (1987-1993), B.C. (1994), Toronto (1995), and Winnipeg (1996). Every player above Austin on the list is either already in the Hall of Fame (ie. Anthony Calvillo, Damon Allen, Ron Lancaster, etc.) or not yet eligible for enshrinement (Kevin Glenn, Ricky Ray, and Henry Burris).

Austin’s name is conspicuous in its absence from the Canadian Football Hall of Fame’s Eligible Candidates webpage; this raises the question of whether or not Austin has ever been formally nominated to be enshrined. If this is the case, someone should hook him up — there’s a nominations form on the webpage (seriously: it’s here and anyone can fill it out).

Jesse Lumsden

Lumsden’s CFL career was cut short due to injury, but people shouldn’t forget that he’s arguably the greatest Canadian university football player of all-time.

Lumsden spent his first two seasons at McMaster splitting time in the backfield with Kyle Pyear and Hec Crighton winner Kojo Aidoo. Once he became the Marauders’ featured offensive player as a junior, Lumsden exploded for 3,313 rushing yards and 41 touchdowns on just 356 carries (9.3 yards per carry) in his final two collegiate seasons.

Lumsden sits fifth all-time in USports rushing (4,138), achieving that mark having played just four seasons of collegiate football (and only starting for two). That’s remarkable. Somebody put that man in the Hall.

Hector Pothier

Pothier spent more than a decade anchoring the offensive line of the Edmonton Eskimos, earning four divisional and one league all-star nod. Pothier also won the prestigious Tom Pate Memorial Award in 1988.

What sets Pothier apart is his legacy of winning. The St. Catharines native won the Grey Cup with Edmonton six times (1978-1982, 1987) in twelve seasons, an almost unfathomable championship rate of fifty percent.

It’s up for debate whether or not individuals should be recognized for championships won in a team sport, but Grey Cup victories have always been taken into account when considering players for the Hall of Fame. Between dressing for 192 career games, earning four all-star nods, and winning six Cups in twelve years, Pothier deserves a call to the Hall.

Eddie Murray

Murray is far from a household name, but the fact that he’s not in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame is a crime.

Murray dressed for 250 NFL games from 1980-2000, a 21-year career that included a twelve-year stint (1980-1991) with the Detroit Lions. A two-time Pro Bowl selection (1980, 1989) and Super Bowl XXVIII champion, Murray converted on 352 of 466 career field goals attempts with seven different teams in the NFL.

The Canadian Football Hall of Fame is designed (on paper, at least) to celebrate the achievements of players within Canadian Football, a mandate which (obviously) excludes the NFL. Even so, I believe Murray deserves to be enshrined for his contributions to the game regardless. Only 42 men have appeared in more NFL games than Murray, a 175-pound man born in Halifax, Nova Scotia — if that’s not worth Hall of Fame consideration, I’m not sure what is.