Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bomber greats to adorn gates

Main entries named for Blue legends

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Investor's Group Field.  May 21, 2013 - (Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press)

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Investor's Group Field. May 21, 2013 - (Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press)

Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans won't have to remember any numbers when making plans to meet friends at halftime -- just the names of a quartet of gridiron legends.

The four main gates of Investors Group Field will be named in honour of receivers Milt Stegall and Joe Poplawski, defensive lineman Doug Brown and the patriarch of them all, quarterback Ken Ploen.

The grand unveiling, to be attended by all four greats, will take place at noon on June 6. That will be followed by a meet-and-greet session at the new Bombers Store, where a variety of merchandise signed by all four will be for sale.

"Our fans related to these four players on and off the field. They're great players but they're also great people. When you look back on the history, pride and tradition of the football club, it has been built on heroes. Thousands of others have paved the way," said Jeffrey Bannon, the team's director of marketing.

"We've been blessed with character people who have worn the blue and gold. Not just today, but 15 years from now, people will know who Milt Stegall and Kenny Pleon are."

The team started out with 40 names of potential honourees and fans chose the final four in the spring of 2012, in advance of the expected grand opening of Investors Group Field last summer.

The honours won't stop with the gates, however. There will be eight double-sided "way-finding" signs inside the stadium that will feature 16 more Bomber greats, including running backs Willard Reaves and Charles Roberts. Nine first-down markers on the stadium's east side will pay homage to another 18 players, too.

"Our mandate is to show we're proud of our history. We want to showcase our alumni so everybody realizes the rich history and tradition we've had with the Blue Bombers," he said.

The pictures honouring the other 34 players will be unveiled prior to the exhibition game against the Toronto Argonauts on June 12.

Check out the 48-page Blue Bomber supplement -- Your Guide To Investors Group Field -- in today's Free Press for Winnipeg home delivery and Saturday for rural subscribers.

The supplement can also be found in single-copy sales of the Free Press on Saturday.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 31, 2013 B2

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