Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 5/4/2011 (2361 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Wade MILLER is not your typical Hall of Famer. Ditto
A pair of special teams aces, however, along with two of the club's finest builders in Ted Bartman and the late Bruce Robinson, will highlight the 2011 Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame class.
A kicker and a backup fullback is the easy way to describe Westwood and Miller but a deeper look into the pair reveals two Blue Bomber legends who left their own special marks.
Miller spent 11 seasons with the club and was considered one of the league's best special team players, leaving the CFL as the all-time leader in special teams tackles and holding the league record for most special teams tackles in a single season.
"To me this shows how football has evolved and all three components of a team, offence, defence and special teams, are respected," said Miller.
Miller was not blessed with great physical attributes but there was no questioning his football mind.
"I showed up at every training camp expecting to be cut. I still can't believe I played for 11 years. It's an honour to play that long for any team let alone the team in your hometown," said Miller, who filled the role of special teams coach for a season while still playing. "I spent a year working with my teammates as a coach. It's very unique for a 25-year-old to be a leader within an organization like that. It was a great learning experience for life."
Westwood kicked for 18 seasons with the Bombers and was a polarizing figure across the nation. Fans loved to hate him and detractors took great joy when he stumbled.
The Dauphin native spent his entire career with the Blue Bombers and left the league holding numerous records. Westwood came out of retirement during the 2009 season and has never been comfortable admitting he was done.
"I guess this means it's officially over," laughed Westwood at a press conference on Tuesday.
"Let it go," chimed in Miller, as the two laughed and enjoyed another moment in the spotlight.
Westwood was a three-time all-star and holds a number of club records and one league record.
"This is the cherry on top. It was such a great run. Living a dream every single day," said Westwood.
At times the public could be hard on Westwood but he remembers the high points.
"At the end, there were some well-documented internal struggles but the fans and the people of Winnipeg have always treated me exceptionally well. There was a blip on the screen after the 2001 Grey Cup but that's to be expected when you don't play well in a huge game. But on the whole there were just so many great memories."
Westwood had some infamous moments, including a feud with Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Ed Phillion and his "inbred bango picking" comments about the fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Bartman served on the club's board of directors for many years along with Robinson and he was thrilled to be entering the Hall of Fame at the same time as his dear friend.
"It's an honour to go into the Hall with all of these people but in particular with Bruce. He was such a great friend to me and to the football club," said Bartman.
Robinson's children, Brett and Leigh, were present on Tuesday.
"We used to always say to our dad, 'Someday when you go into the Hall of Fame,' and he would just shrug," said Brett. "It's not why he did it. But he would be proud to go in. Just like we're proud to represent him."
Special teamers, past presidents honoured
FOUR inductees will be honoured at the annual Legacy Dinner on July 5 at Canad Inns Polo Park:
Westwood (right) spent 18 years with the Blue Bombers and left as the club's all-time leading scorer with 2,748 points. He holds numerous team records, including most career field goals (617) and most career converts (732). His 657 consecutive converts is a league record. Westwood played in 293 games and was named a divisional all-star three times ('92, '93, 94) and a CFL all-star in 1992. He was also the team's Most Outstanding Canadian in '92 and '03.
Miller played for the Blue Bombers for 11 seasons from 1995-2005 and finished his career as the league's all-time leader in special teams tackles with 184. He also holds the league record for most special teams tackles in a single season, with 37. Miller was named a divisional all-star and the team's nominee for Most Outstanding Canadian in 1999.
Bartman served as president of the Winnipeg Football Club from 1990-91. He joined the board of directors in 1980 and was appointed to the executive committee in 1982. The club won a Grey Cup and hosted one as well during his presidency.
Robinson was president of the Winnipeg Football Club from 1992-93. He joined the board of directors in 1983 and served in various capacities until 2009. Robinson died last year.