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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

The Ploen truth: new name for stadium road fitting tribute

Ken Ploen Way a nod to legendary Blue QB

Posted: 10/18/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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Ken Ploen (right), with acting CEO Wade Miller, won four Grey Cups in the 11 years he suited up in Blue and Gold.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Ken Ploen (right), with acting CEO Wade Miller, won four Grey Cups in the 11 years he suited up in Blue and Gold. Photo Store

IF the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have learned anything over the last 50 years it's this: Attaching Ken Ploen's name to anything, be it something temporary or concrete, brings both instant credibility and respect and connects the franchise to its glory years.

Honour

On Thursday the club announced the main roadway into Investors Group Field will now be called 'Ken Ploen Way' and they couldn't have picked a more iconic member of their alumni to honour.

Ploen played 11 years for the Bombers and was part of four Grey Cup championships.

Considered by many to be the greatest quarterback in franchise history, he is a member of the Canadian Football and Blue Bomber Hall of Fame.

Asked to say a few words during Thursday's ceremony, Ploen -- to no surprise to those who played with him or know him at all -- was quick to deflect the attention.

"It's a great honour, that's for sure," said Ploen.

"I played 11 years, from '57 to '67 and we won a number of Grey Cups. But I had a bunch of great teammates. You don't win, whether you're a quarterback or anybody else, without good teammates. We still get together today at lunch, we still reminisce a lot.

"In my time, I don't think I've had a more enjoyable time than when I played with the Winnipeg Football Club and the teammates I had. We had a lot of fun, we won a lot of championships, I married my good wife, we had three children and we still live up here in Canada and enjoy every minute of it."

Still the personification of class, Ploen was later asked about the woes of the current Bombers.

"You've just got to be patient. They're coming together. They'll be all right."

QUICK HEALER: Jovon Johnson has showcased many skills during a seven-year Canadian Football League career but the most impressive might be this: he's as durable as granite and as tough as they come.

Injured in Monday's win over Montreal and sporting a walking boot earlier in the week, the Bomber cornerback was back at his starting position at practice on Thursday.

"As a football player I was always told pain is weakness leaving the body," Johnson said. "If I feel like I can move and be productive then I feel like I can go no matter if I'm dealing with a little pain or not. I can fight through it."

Johnson has appeared in 92 consecutive games dating back to the 2008 season when he missed a contest because of the death of his half brother, and said his foot actually feels better now than in recent weeks.

"Actually, it seems that when I hurt it again it actually might have put it back in place," said Johnson with a grin. "It feels much better than it did in the past couple of weeks."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 18, 2013 C5

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