O’Leary: A Holiday Wish For Every CFL Team

Three years ago, I was on the couch, reunited with my family for the first time in too long, watching one of my mom’s favorite Christmas movies, Miracle on 34th Street.

We’ve all seen it dozens of times in our lifetime and at this point it’s something that almost always goes into the background during the holidays. This time around, however, something happened that changed the way I look at him forever.

With my phone in hand, I searched for careers for some of the actors with smaller roles in the film. When I got to whoever played Judge Henry X. Harper in the Saint Nick trial, I was shocked at what I had found out.

Born in London, Ontario. Gene Lockhart has had a long career as an actor on stage and on screen. Before moving to Hollywood, Lockhart was also an outstanding athlete and was part of the Toronto Argonauts during World War I, his daughter June told the Londoner in 2014.

Lockhart also played an important role in another classic Christmas movie. He played Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, which first aired in 1938.

Thinking of the Honorable Justice Harper and his athletic endeavors, my thoughts turned to a semi-related place: a Christmas wish for each of the nine CFL teams.

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BC Lions owner Amar Doman has big plans for the team he bought this season and we’d love to see them all come to fruition (Photo: BCLions.com)

British Columbia Lions
The stamp that the owner wants to put on this team

Amar Doman took possession of the Lions on August 18 and from the moment his name was attached to the team he has been saying the right things. He has a great vision for the Lions, creating a competitive team on the pitch and one that expands his role in the community and with that, increases his fan base. The club has been a listening ear and an as-appropriate leader https://www.bclions.com/2021/09/16/bringing-message-truth-reconciliation-football-field/ in its dealings with the indigenous peoples of the region this past year. An organization with its heart in the right place deserves to see the things its new owner is working towards.

Calgary Stampeders
Let’s make Bo back to Bo

Bo Levi Mitchell will be the first to admit he wasn’t himself this year. We would love to see him come out with a bang in 2022, with him and his teammates healthy and ready to fight to get back to the top of the rankings. When Mitchell is in the MOP form we’ve known him for most of his career, the league does better. Once we get that sorted out, we can move on to the next item on the Calgary to-do list: a facility to replace McMahon Stadium.

Edmonton Elks
A feeling of stability

Hiring Chris Jones last week was the first step in the Elks’ return to competitiveness. As losses accumulated last year in Edmonton, the team appeared to lose their identity, on and off the field. Commonwealth Stadium with around 30,000 people as a starting point makes it one of the best environments in the CFL. There’s no reason that with some stability on the list and a culture created around the organization, they couldn’t come back to this.

Saskatchewan Roughriders
A team that goes beyond the offensive hype

One of the most memorable things about the 2013 Riders – brace yourself, these host-winners comparisons are only just beginning – is that they hit their stride at the perfect time, pulling off a gigantic performance on offense during their Gray Cup victory. on Hamilton. Riders fans have spent most of the 2021 season waiting for Cody Fajardo, Duke Williams, Shaq Evans and local Kian Schaffer-Baker and Mitchell Picton to start racking up the yardage, big games and big wins. Despite nine out of 14 wins last year, the offensive knockout was not there for much of the year. We all want to see strong and successful football. Let’s see it right off the bat in 2022, with the playoffs, where the comfort of Mosaic Stadium will float away for Riders all year round.

The Bombers have won back-to-back Gray Cups and unless there are massive roster changes this winter, there’s no reason to think they couldn’t do it again in 2022 (Kevin Sousa / CFL.ca)

Winnipeg Blue Bombers
More of the same

Every holiday shopping list has that one person who has it all and is impossible to shop for. On this one, it’s the Bombers. The two-time defending champions really seem to have it all: they’ve got the coach in Mike O’Shea and the culture he’s helped build over years of consistency; they have MOP quarterback Zach Collaros; one of the greatest RBs of all time to Andrew Harris; Defensive Player of the Year in Adam Bighill. Oh, and that defense as a whole. This game-changing endless flow of pressure, you stop-in-your-march, get-your-points-in-front-of-the-fourth quarter defense. As long as this group stays together, there’s no reason to think they can’t bring it back.

Hamilton Tiger Cats
No more sorrow, please!

This is a time that I will think about for the rest of my life. Jeremiah Masoli of the Winnipeg six-yard line, down three, 16 seconds left, Jaelon Acklin in the end zone and a tension at Tim Hortons Field that for a moment made everyone forget that strong push. of wind in the face of the Ticates. A season on the line, a 21-year drought to a catch-up of late, choked up perhaps by Deatrick Nichols’ top right hand punch. Anguish escaped from the sold-out crowd like smoke from the chimneys surrounding the stadium. Seven years after Speedy Banks was called up for the Gray Cup-winning touchdown, the Ticates may have found greater heartache at home in front of their fans.

At one point, the Ticates deserve a storybook ending

Toronto Argonauts
Be like Mike (Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons)

He’s been at the head of the team as General Manager since late 2019. It’s not that Pinball isn’t in the squad now, but if you’ve heard of it, if you’ve already seated and had a conversation with him you know how much his personality shines and how he can uplift a room full of people. In 2022, we need more at Argos games. This year’s Argos squad was great, full of talent who learned on the fly as new faces mingled. It would be nice to see the joy that Pinball gives off make its way through the rest of the organization and in 2022, it just might.

Ottawa RED and BLACK
A QB for LaPo to plan with

Paul LaPolice worked with five different quarterbacks in 2021 and had no success with any of them. Free agency can mean the most for the REDBLACKS this winter, as they try to put back-to-back seasons with no playoffs behind them. It can start with focusing on a quarterback who can lead the offense out of the locker room and into the end zone on game day.

With Shawn Burke arriving in Ottawa this week, rumors have already spread that one of Jeremiah Masoli or Dane Evans will follow as free agents this winter.

We saw Edmonton go through something like this in 2012, after the wheels came loose for them following Ricky Ray’s trade. They started the 2013 season with Michael Reilly and three seasons later they were celebrating a Gray Cup victory. Change can happen quickly in the CFL if you have the most important pieces in place on your roster.

Montreal Alouettes
A healthy VA, more excitement

Vernon Adams Jr.’s season ended in a game against the REDBLACKS in Week 10, but his biggest moment came a week before, when he led his team to an exciting victory. back in overtime against Hamilton at Tim Hortons Field. These kinds of games have been his calling card since taking office in 2019. Adams takes you through ups and downs through a game and it’s surely something that Khari Jones will want him to work on there. next year, but there may not be. more entertaining player in the CFL than Adams, who considers no deficit too great and no time on the clock too short for the magic to work.

Atlantic schooners
Let’s make it exist

The pandemic has certainly slowed the momentum on the idea of ​​expansion, but the intention of the ownership group is still there and it’s still something many of us would like to see happen. The idea of ​​including the Maritimes in the CFL, making it a true coast-to-coast league that spans four (maybe five) time zones and can fully engage fans across the country. country is too beautiful to abandon it. We all need another reason to spend time in Halifax, eat seafood, be surrounded by the warmest people in Canada, and see what an East Coast flavor could add to the mix. LCF. Everyone has positive thoughts on this one.


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