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Bombers lose alumni legend Rigney

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The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have lost one of their alumni legends with the passing of Frank Rigney.

A member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and the Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame Rigney, 74, died Tuesday night from an apparent heart attack while in hospital in Vancouver. Ironically, the football club is holding its Legacy Dinner this evening, a night to celebrate some of the great players and coaches of the past 80 years. And Rigney was certainly one of them.

"Frank was a tremendous football player during his time in Winnipeg," said Blue Bomber President Jim Bell. "He will always be remembered as a champion throughout the province of Manitoba."

Selected in the fourth round of the 1958 NFL Draft, Rigney came north to the Bombers and spent a decade along the offensive line, protecting the likes of Ken Ploen while opening holes for Leo Lewis all under the tutelage of Bud Grant. A three-time CFL All-Star, Rigney played in five Grey Cups, winning four. He was also named the West Division's Most Outstanding Lineman in 1960 and 1961.

After his playing career Rigney was a popular colour commentator both the CBC and CTV telecasts of CFL games. He had resided in West Vancouver until his passing.

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

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