November 27, 2013, EDMONTON (ISN) – Eight former Canada West football student-athletes will have their names engraved on the Canada’s oldest professional sports trophy after a win by the hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League’s 101st Grey Cup championship on Sunday at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.
At the head of the class is Chris Getzlaf, who played two seasons with the Regina Rams, named Top Canadian in the championship game that was seen live on TSN by 4.5 million people.
In addition to the eight active players, four other conference graduates on injured reserve for the Riders will also receive a ring.
Sunday’s performance was the conclusion to an outstanding year by many former Canada West football players that included two major CFL awards, team year-end honours and the induction of former University of Alberta Golden Bears receiver Brian Fryer to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in early October.
Fryer played with the Golden Bears from 1972 to 1975 and went on to become the first CIAU graduate in the National Football League before winning five Grey Cups with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos, 1978-82.
In his sixth CFL season and second with Saskatchewan, 2013 CFL Lineman of the Year and University of Regina product Brendon LaBatte had a terrific season. A first-round Draft pick in 2008, he paid dividends with the Riders after four previous season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers en route to a 14-4 record and first place in the Western Division. Also from Canada West, offensive lineman Brett Jones of the Calgary Stampeders was named Outstanding Rookie of the Year. Jones, a two-time CIS All-Canadian for the Regina Rams, was first centre to win Most Outstanding Rookie honours in the CFL and the first Canadian to win the award since 2002.
Earning team award nominations were Getzlaf (Top Canadian), Levi Steinhauer (Rookie) and Calgary Dinos grad Mike Edem, who was the Montreal Alouettes’ choice as Rookie of the Year and Top Canadian.
Meanwhile, down south, five former Canada West standouts remain on National Football League rosters. Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan (Regina), who turned 32 on Tuesday, is in his eighth pro season, while veteran DL Israel Idonije (Manitoba Bisons) is in his first with the Detroit Lions after a long career with the Chicago Bears. Defensive end Akiem Hicks (Regina) is making a name for himself in only his second season with the New Orelans Saints and defensive tackle Stefan Charles (Regina), who recently signed with the Buffalo Bills, is seeing increased playing time for his new team.
Having three active former University of Regina Rams on NFL rosters in a signle season is believed to be a record among Canadian universities.
CFL 2013 #1 overall Draft pick, defensive lineman Linden Gaydosh, starred for the University Calgary Dinos and decided to accept an offer from the Carolina Panthers. Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending injury in training camp and his pro debut will have to wait. The East Division champion Hamilton-Tiger-Cats hold his Canadian rights.
Hall of Fame
- Brian Fryer, WR, Edmonton Eskimos, inducted October 2013 (Alberta Golden Bears 1972-75)
2013 Grey Cup Champions
(Saskatchewan Roughriders, 42-man Gameday Active)
- Chris Getzlaf, WR (Regina Rams, 2005-06)
- Ben Heenan, OL (Saskatchewan Huskies, 2008-11)
- Cory Huclack, LB (Manitoba, 2003-06)
- Neal Hughes, RB (Regina, 1999-2003)
- Brendon LaBatte, OL (Regina, 2005-07)
- Scott McHenry, SB (Saskatchewan, 2005-09)
- Levi Steinhauer, DL (Saskatchewan, 2010-12)
- *Paul Woldu, CB (Saskatchewan, 2006-07)
*3rd Grey Cup victory, two previous with Montreal (2009, 2010)
101st Grey Cup – Top Canadian
- Chris Getzlaf
(receive Grey Cup rings, but name not engraved on trophy)
- Graeme Bell, RB (Saskatchewan, 1999–2004)
- Aaron Hargreaves, WR (Simon Fraser, 2004-07)
- Sam Hurl, LB (Calgary Dinos, 2009-11)
- Jordan Sisco, WR (Regina, 2006-09)
2013 CFL Top Lineman
- Brendon LaBatte
Rookie of the Year
- Brett Jones, Calgary Stampeders (Regina, 2009-12)
2013 CFL Team Award Nominees
- Rookie: Brett Jones
- Canadian: Mike Edem (Calgary Dinos 2011-12)
- Rookie: Mike Edem
- Canadian: Chris Getzlaf
- Offensive Lineman: Brendon Labatte
- Rookie: Levi Steinhauer