#TBT: An Interview with Ken Evraire

By: Santino Filoso

In this week´s Throwback Thursday Interview, we sit down with Ken Evraire, a former SB (slotback) for the Ottawa Rough Riders. A star receiver with the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, Ken was drafted by Saskatchewan in the 1988 draft, but traded to Ottawa before the season started. After 9 seasons in the CFL with 4 different teams, Ken retired and started a broadcasting career in Ottawa.

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RR: Coming out of  Wildfrid Laurier University you were drafted by  Saskatchewan, how surprised were you to start the season with Ottawa?

KE:  I was quite surprised when I was traded to Ottawa. I was drafted by the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a DB despite my being a 2-time All-Canadian receiver at WLU. I learned a lot as a DB during my rookie training camp which was key to my success as a receiver in Ottawa. With that said, my agent and I had worked hard to be traded to the Toronto Argonauts. Roughrider GM Bill Baker called me into his office one day and told me to say hello to Wayne Giardino (GM of the Ottawa Rough Riders) and not Bob O’Billovich of the Toronto Argo as thought it would be.  In hindsight, everything worked out for me and becoming an Ottawa Rough Rider was a great highlight of my career.

Speaking of Wilfrid Laurier, can you walk us through that fabled 106 yard Yates Cup play?

We faced a very strong Western Mustangs team led by a boatload of all-stars, guys like Blake Marshall, Pierre Verscheval, Irv Daymond, Matt Janes, Kyle Hall, etc. Western made a concerted effort to take away our play action vertical passing game. I always played on the right side but the coach decided to move me to the left. Rather than facing Kyle Hall I lined up against Marius Locke. We called a 3 step pass play that hinged on a signal I relayed to QB Mike Wilson. I had a feeling Marius would be aggressive so I signaled for a slant and go. Locke bit on the slant and Wilson threw a perfect pass. I scored what was the go ahead TD but we lost thanks to a last second TD scored by Blake Marshall.

Growing up were you a Rough Rider fan and did you get a chance to see a lot of games at Lansdowne?

I was very much a Rough Rider fan thanks in large part to the time I spent at the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club. The Rough Rider players took time out to visit us at the club so I immediately identified with them. Then, thanks to the donation of Rough Rider tickets I was able to go to games with my family. My dad always made sure we arrived before the pre-game warm ups so we could watch the players prepare and watch how they carried themselves as they prepared.  Once the game ended, we would jump on to the field to meet the players. QB Rick Cassata gave me his chinstrap which was a very big deal for a kid back then.

Over your career you had the opportunity to play with a number of  talented QBs, I know it may be tough to say but who did you most enjoy catching passes from?

Damon Allen…there is no argument. Damon’s passes would land in your hands like he handed it to you. He was so athletic and thanks to his baseball background he had great touch. He always knew when to put some heat on the pass or when to drop it in over the top with a soft touch.

Did you have a favourite (or least favourite) stadium to play in?

I never enjoyed playing in Calgary. With the change of elevation you would feel great in warm ups and then your legs would just die when you came back out to play the game. Plus, you had to walk up this long ramp to get back to the locker room. Not fun! Winnipeg ranks a very close second.

Who was the biggest trash talker you ever played against?

The biggest trash talker that I played against was actually a group of players. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers had the best LB core (James West, Tyrone Hill, Paul Randolph, Greg Battle) and they talked trash from the first play right through to the end of the game. I had a lot of respect for them because they played hard. Intimidation was a big part of their game and they were good at it.

Looking back on your career what are you most proud of? 

When I look back on my career I´m most proud of the people I met (teammates and fans). When you are in the moment you compete to win and you are measured by your performance on the field. Yet the time spent with great teammates, laughing so hard you think your lungs are going to explode, growing up as a young man and experiencing the human connection that transcends the game on the field will always mean a lot to me.

When your cousin Chris Evraire entered the CFL, what kind of advice did you give him?

I simply told him that he was good enough to play pro ball. Yes, there are some great athletes and they come from some very significant football programs but at the end of the day it’s all about competing and about who wants to succeed more.

After your football career ended you settled in Ottawa and got  into broadcasting with A-Channel, what was the most difficult transition in going from playing sports to talking about them?

I think letting go of the game was the greatest challenge for me. In my heart, I wanted to play forever, but my body was telling me it was time to let the game go. With that said, I was quite fortunate in working with so many great people at A-Channel. They were the next great team I was honored to have been a part of.

Since retiring you’ve gotten into coaching. How would you describe yourself as a coach?

I coach athletes “up”. My focus is to prepare the athlete for success in the moment and prepare them for the next level of competition they will face once they move on. If you coach up then the winning takes care of itself. You may not win the championship but you play a key role in cultivating better athletes and even greater people.

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What are you currently doing for work?

I am a leadership and team building coach. I created the  “The I in Team” and the  “360 Degree Circle of Influence” programs which are based on my  “coaching up” approach to leadership and team building.

Will you be out at any Redblacks games this summer?

I will be at the Redblacks games with my wife and kids just as my dad had brought my mom, sisters and brother to games. We will show up early to watch warm ups and cheer the team on through thhick and thin.

What do think of the Redblacks new uniforms, do you prefer the home or away ones?

I like both uniforms but if I had to make a choice I think the black jerseys and black pants are intimidating! Kind of reminds me of the black jerseys the Rough Riders wore in the 90s.

Give me one reason why you think the Redblacks can be competitive in their inaugural season.

I think the team will be competitive thanks to their great coaching and scouting staff. Coach Campbell understands the value of the Canadian athlete and the need to find players (be they Canadian or American) who are up to the challenge of being competitive. Winning is a state of mind! What the team thinks and believes before the ball is kicked off will be important. The players will be able to draw on what is a great football legacy and a great fan base in Ottawa.

Thank you very much for your time Ken, and see you at Lansdowne!

@RedBlackGade

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TBT: The Face of the Renegades; An Interview with Kerry Joseph

By: Santino Filoso

Today we sit down with Kerry Joseph, a former QB for the Ottawa Renegades. Joseph, a former safety for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, broke into the CFL with the Renegades in 2003 and dazzled Ottawa with his talents until the team folded after the 2005 season. Currently a free agent, Joseph is the last QB to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, which he did for the Renegades in 2005, and holds the Ottawa pro football record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass (15) – a record previously held by Russ Jackson.

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RR: As an American coming to Canada, what was your initial impression of Ottawa?

KJ: I was really impressed with Ottawa, at first I thought it would be a really cold foreign country but it was actually a very beautiful place.

How difficult was it for you to make the transition from playing safety to quarterback?

It was actually a very easy transition for me because I grew up playing QB.

What do you feel was your best game as a Renegade?

I would have to say the game against Montreal in 2005, we were down big but came from behind to win in overtime.

The Gliebermans are often criticized for running the Renegades with a circus-like atmosphere. Did any of that trickle down to the players and do you feel they caused unnecessary distractions for the team?

They didn’t do everything perfectly but it was never a distraction for the players, we just wanted to win.

When the Renegades folded in 2006, did you have any idea where you would end up and what was the general mood of the players upon learning that Ottawa would be disbanded?

I didn’t know where I would end up and players were definitely worried as we all knew our careers would be changed.

Looking back on your time in Ottawa, what sticks with you?

The great community and the great time I had with my coaches and teammates.

What motivated you throughout your career? 

The quest to win a championship and to be a great QB.

What’s the best advice you ever received as a player?

The best advice I ever received was to stay humble, stay hungry and to stay focused.

The CFL is famous for it’s wild weather, how did you deal with the elements as QB?

I always just tried to prepare for it as best as possible and otherwise ignore it, we had to play in it anyways.

All QBs get sacked throughout their careers but is there one hit that you’ll always remember?

I got knocked out in Calgary by one of their Defensive Ends.

Which receiver that you played with had the best hands?

Yo Murphy, Andy Fantuz and Fred Stamps

What was your favourite play to run?

A pass play called Pearl, 3 seams to the wide side of the field.

You’ve played on a number of CFL teams, what stadium is the toughest to play at?

Mosaic Stadium.

Do you still keep in touch with any of the guys you played with on the Renegades?

Yes, I stay in touch with quite a few of them.

Looking back at your CFL career, what are you most proud of?

Being part of the 2007 Grey Cup Champs.

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When you first heard the name Redblacks, what was your reaction?

I was mainly wondering where the name came from.

Why do you think football in Ottawa will succeed this time around?

They’ve got a great local ownership group.

Do you think the Redblacks will be competitive in their inaugural season?

Yes I think so, they’ve got the players to be competitive.

Now that you are a free agent, what are your future plans? Have you retired,  will you get into coaching, etc?

Actually I haven’t officially announced my retirement from Pro Football. Some people had taken it upon themselves to announce that for me, but I haven’t said that myself. That being said, at some point in time I definitely see coaching in my future.

Thank you very much for your time Kerry, best of luck in your future endeavours and we hope to see you at a Redblacks game sometime!

http://www.kerryjoseph.com/

@RedBlackGade

Recap of the Ottawa Redblacks 2014 Draft

By: Santino Filoso

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On Tuesday night the Redblacks threw the media and their fans a curveball half an hour before the draft when they traded their first ever 1st overall pick and the rights to recently retired OL Marwan Hage to the Calgary Stampeders for 28-year-old divisional all star OL Jon Gott. Last season, Gott played 15 games for the Stamps, 14 at guard and one at centre. Redblacks GM Desjardins justified the move saying:

“Trading for Jon Gott was by far a better option for us than making the first overall selection. Our coaching staff is familiar with Jon as a player and as a person, so we know he’ll be a strong performer and a good teammate. Jon has proven himself to be a reliable, responsible and durable CFL player and we’re happy to have him in the REDBLACKS organization.”

Some people were a bit miffed by the move, but as noted by one of the funniest CFL accounts on twitter:

In all seriousness though, while it would’ve been fun to watch Lavertu blossom into a starter and pancake guys for the next decade, Gott addresses an immediate need and will start from Day One. He’s an experienced all-star with a number of playoff games (including a Grey Cup win) under his belt. Not to mention he’s got the best beard in the league.

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Also for those worried about Hage getting traded back to the Ticats and suddenly unretiring, we’d at least get a conditional pick from the Stamps.

It’s interesting to note that Gott was in Ottawa during the draft, which may mean that this deal was done days ago.

While R-Nation was settling in to wait for the second round Desjardins got rid of a major headache and traded back into the 1st round by dealing QB Kevin Glenn to BC for the Lions’ #5 overall pick.

That pick and the 10th overall selection were promptly flipped to the Montréal Alouettes for the 4th (and 13th) pick, which was used to select DB Antoine Pruneau. Pruneau was the top ranked DB in the draft and thought by some to be the best all-around football player available. He immediately improves Ottawa’s secondary as he’s an effective player who can play safety or corner.

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Managing to trade back into the 1st round at the cost of a disgruntled backup QB can’t be seen as anything other than a coup by Desjardins. I can’t wait to hear R-Nation give Glenn the welcome he deserves when the Lions visit TD Place.

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See ya soon Glenn! At least we’ll always have the expansion draft!

Best of the rest:

– With the 13th pick, the Redblacks selected WR Scott MacDonell, a 6 foot 5 inch 230 pound playmaker. He figures to be a depth player at this point but could blossom into a serious threat.

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– At 23rd overall the Redblacks took DL Nigel Romick. At 6’5″, weighing 242 pounds and running a 4.72 in the 40 yard dash he figures to be a key special teamer.

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– The 28th player picked in the draft was 6’5″, 295 pounder OL Aaron Wheaton 

– Redblacks finally drafted a Laval OL at 37, only he was named Hugo Desmarais (6’6″, 305 pounds) and not Lavertu. 

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– DL Stephon Miller from Windsor came off the board at 46

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– Laval DL Vincent Desloges, McGill LB Alexandre Bernard and McMaster LS Kevin Malcolm were taken in the 7th round

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To sum up, the Redblacks made a real splash in their first-ever CFL Canadian Draft, with three trades in the first round, adding an all-star in Gott and a blue-chip prospect in Pruneau who can step in and play meaningful snaps right away. At the same time Desjardins was able to flip depreciating assets Hage and Glenn for a positive return. The Redblacks draft focused on the trenches as they needed to build Canadian depth. And while they can’t sit comfortably yet, they’ve put in place a solid foundation.

CLASS OF 2013

In addition to today’s trades and picks, it’s worth remembering that the Redblacks participated in the CFL’s 2013 draft, selecting four Canadian NCAA redshirt juniors (i.e. players still having a year of NCAA eligibility remaining) at the end of each of the first four rounds. With those picks the Redblacks selected Nolan MacMillan (OL), Connor “The Barbarian” Williams (DE), Kalonji Kashama (DE) and Tyler Digby (TE). These players are now all available to join the Redblacks for their inaugural training camp at the start of next month, though they may not all be there.

While Kashama, MacMillan and Williams all went undrafted during last week’s NFL Draft, it looks like Kashama has received an invite to Detroit Lions rookie mini-camp and the others may yet get camp invites of their own. Redblacks GM Desjardins has indicated that he is willing to be patient with his 2013 picks, saying:

“It’s the NFL dream, you can’t force your will on them. We anticipate if the process has run its course, they’ll probably be relatively eager to sign with us. We haven’t gotten into any serious dollar discussions with anybody. It’s not to that point yet.

The true wildcard of this group though is Vancouver Stealth’s lacrosse forward Tyler Digby. Since being drafted by the Redblacks, Digby was selected 20th overall in the National Lacrosse League draft and has enjoyed an impressive rookie season, scoring 22 goals and 58 points in 18 games. The Stealth are expecting Digby back next year and it’s not known if the Redblacks would be willing to let him be to a two-sport athlete. Things get even more complicated when you factor in that Digby’s natural position is TE, one rarely used by most CFL teams.

As training camp draws near, the Redblacks are better now than they were yesterday and if they can get one or two of their 2013 picks signed in time for camp it would be the cherry on top of a successful 2014 draft.

@RedblackGade

#TBT: Rough Riding Renegade; An Interview with Darren Joseph

By: Santino Filoso

Today we sit down with Ottawa native and former Rough Rider and Renegade RB Darren Joseph. Joseph’s distinguished career spanned six teams and thirteen seasons (1992-2004) and he still holds the CFL record for most special teams tackles in a game (7).

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RR: During your career you had two stints in Ottawa, one with the Rough Riders and one with the Renegades, was one more enjoyable than the other?

DJ: Absolutely, though both were memorable. I was 22 years old during my rookie season in ’92 and I was playing in my hometown for my dream team the Ottawa Rough Riders. That was HUGE for me and especially for my mom who had been a Rider fan since the early 60’s when she first came to Canada from St. Lucia. Because of that I’d have to say my first tour of duty was the best!

While you were an Ottawa Rough Rider the team changed it’s uniforms a few times, which one did you prefer?

My favourite uniform was the first one I ever wore for the Rough Riders, with the flaming double R’s on the helmet. The complete opposite of that was the gold red and blue uniform of ’94-95, easily the WORST uniform I ever wore in any sport, at any level. Don’t even get me started on that ridiculous Captain Crunch logo….

What advice would you give to the Redblacks players who have never been to Ottawa before?

My advice to new players would be to try to stay focused here during the season. Ottawa is a beautiful city with lots if distractions for a young football player. I’ve seen several careers disintegrate, especially in the “Hull” days. Have fun and enjoy your time here but stay focused.

What was the hardest hit you ever took?

Hardest hit HANDS DOWN was by Alondra Johnson in Calgary in ’98. I’d been having some success a few games in a row on a search play where I would cut back on the defence for long gains. AJ was watching film and decided that wasn’t going to happen to him. He hit me so hard my chinstrap unbuckled and flew 5 yards in the opposite direction, my body went through a complete change in momentum. He was a the hammer that day.

Did you have a favourite (or least favourite) stadium to play in?

I didn’t like playing at Ivor Wynne. The visitors locker room was old and beat up, the turf was like concrete and the tiger at centre field was hard dried paint. If you got tackled on it you left several layers of skin behind when you got up. The fans were relentless, the stands were almost field level and they were right on top of you in that “dugout” of a sideline and they chirped you from kickoff to the last whistle without let up. Also you had to pray that it didn’t snow late in the season because if it did you could expect a few snowballs in the face. They were great fans, just not when you played for the opposition!

Tell me about your favourite Lansdowne memory

Favourite Lansdowne memory has to be a 2003 game against the Argos when I had 7 special teams tackles and we won the game. I tied a CFL record and I was 36 yrs old at the time so for me that was a big deal.

Looking back on your career, what are you most proud of?

I would have to say I’m most proud of the fact that I survived 13 yrs as a RB/FB. I was able to attend 14 training camps and no matter how many guys they brought in to compete with me for a spot on the roster, I always made the team. I’m also proud that 2 of my 3 kids got to see me play. Lastly the biggest thing I’m proud of is that I made my mom proud. She was my biggest fan and she taped EVERY game I played during my 13-year career, seriously, she didn’t miss one!

What was your initial reaction when you heard the name of the new team?

Honestly, I wasn’t crazy about the name at first. Keep in mind I played for the other two Ottawa franchises so this is a 3rd name change but it works for me now. I’m just happy that we have CFL football back in Ottawa, the wait is finally OVER!!!!

Will you be going to any Redblacks games this season?

Yes I plan to get to as many games as I can and I’m excited for my kids who haven’t been able to experience having a team of their own like I did growing up.

Why do you think the Redblacks will be successful where the Rough Riders and Renegades have failed?

For me, it’s simple, it comes down to ownership. Jeff Hunt and the OSEG group have shown a commitment to the city, not just football fans. They have committed to ALL OF US and we haven’t had that since the Russ Jackson days. No more fair-weather owners, hit and run people with no proven track record, these guys understand that this is a marathon, not a sprint. They have also started by building around not one but THREE quality QB’s, which is a great start. I also like how they understand that bringing local talent home like John Delahunt will bond the team with the community, like they do in Regina, that’s huge.

Maybe the most important question of them all, North Side or South Side?

South Side, I’m old school.

What are you doing for work nowadays?

I have been an Ottawa Police Officer for 10 years now.

Have you ever given any thought to coaching?

I started coaching in 2002 with the Ottawa Sooners and still coach today with the GS Raiders as a position coach. I also still do football camps with the Elite Performance Academy founded by former CFL players Pat Woodcock and Donnie Ruiz. Any young aspiring athletes looking for a place to train with former pros who can help them get to the next level should give EPA a look.

In terms of coaching in the CFL, I am so busy as a police officer doing shift work that it would be tough to be 100% committed to coaching at that level. CFL coaches work hard and put in very long days and unfortunately at this stage in my career, I just couldn’t make that kind of commitment.

Do you still keep in touch with any of your old teammates? 

I do keep in touch with several of my former teammates and ironically, many players from opposing teams, the CFL is like a fraternity and we’re all family. It’s nice to see guys that played for $30k a year prosper after their careers and see their families grow. The list is too many to name but I still talk to Reggie Barnes, Patrick Wayne, Brian Bonner, Daved Bennefield, Glen Kulka and Ken Evraire, I also work with DeWayne Knight, Brad Tierney, Jason Mallett and Sammie Brennan….I guess that is kind of a list isn’t it? I’ve also got a special place for Kelly Wiltshire, Andre Kirwan and Andrew Henry, who were the first ones to attend my mother’s funeral in December. When Kirwan heard that my mom passed and he was on a plane from Tampa 30 min later, that’s a true friend.

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Thank you very much for sharing such a fantastic view into your career and hope to see you soon…..at a Redblacks game, of course, and not while you’re on duty 😉

@RedBlackGade

READER’S TAKE: Why I don’t like the new Redblacks jerseys

While the large majority are giving the Ottawa Redblacks two enthusiastic thumbs up for their new uniforms, even some of the most loyal Ottawa CFL fans have their gripes. The following comes from Nevill Carney, he of some great Redblacks jerseys concepts and one of the dudes behind the Redblacks Theme Song. Nevill left the following in the comment section of this post and allowed us to re-post here, for your consideration.

Our comments are captured in bold.

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I was looking forward to this unveiling since the name and logo were unveiled a year ago. I cannot describe how bland these look! My heart literally sank as the first pics of the road jersey were released. My first thought: “where is the RED?!” Then, when the home jerseys came out, I was at least happy about them being black.

No doubt the lack of red was surprising. More on that later.

NEGATIVES

– Take away the numbers and logos from the jersey and you have a very dull looking shirt. Very much like the BC Lions home/away set. Fans will have to get numbers put on them to complete the look. (I can say now that Toronto and Edmonton have the best look in the CFL as their arm striping is sharp and creates a sense of movement when on the field)

Pretty common for a football jersey, since the number is such a prominent part of the design.

– Lack of arm striping. For OSEG, who wanted to link to the past Rough Rider teams, I really thought they would have some striping on the arms. The concepts that I had designed a while back were my hopes of what to see.

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Above is Nevill’s last concept. Really sharp, I thought. Great vintage look.

I was also surprised at the lack of striping, although the white jersey does have the more modern take on striping with the black trim on the shoulders & extending all the way down the sides.

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– Away uniform is depressing. It looks like a recoloring of Saskatchewan’s current road whites. Weren’t we trying to get as far away from what the GreenRiders were doing? I despise the white helmet. Stick with ONE black helmet for both uniforms. Establishing your brand in year one is VITAL. Look at the NFL teams; how many have multiple helmets?

In fairness, there are only so many jersey templates a team can use and those are likely determined by Reebok.

As for multiple helmets, I personally love it as a concept and love how the Redblacks white helmet looks.

I have heard the ‘stick with one helmet’ argument a couple times over the last few days, but don’t really get it. If a team can have 3 jerseys, no reason you can’t have multiple helmets. Baseball teams have different home/away/alternate hats, hockey teams often have different home/away helmets. Why not football?

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Odd side note: last year, every West team in the CFL had an alternate helmet (SSK actually had 2). None of the East teams did.

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Weird, eh?

– REDBLACKS plastered under the collar and above the front numbers. For OSEG, a business that has claimed to be supportive of both official languages since Day 1, this was a huge mistake. It now makes the English name of the team dominant over the French. I realize that they have “Rouge et Noir” on the front bumper of the helmet, but fans will not be buying the helmet. In order to offset this, they should have replaced it with “Ottawa.” The Renegades did this and it looked great.

Good point. Could have gone with OTTAWA on the front of both jerseys, or otherwise have REDBLACKS on one and ROUGE ET NOIR on the other. The bumper is a neat feature but also seems like a bit of an afterthought.

POSITIVES

– Sawblade logo on both arms. Nailed it. I was hoping for this and bam. Likely the main reason why I will be buying a home jersey rather than settling on a t-shirt to wear to games.

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– Black home jersey/black helmet. Traditional; enough said.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

– I would have really liked it if the Redblacks took a page from Fury FC and presented options of uniforms for the fans to vote on. This would have made the fans feel included (unlike the choosing of the team name fiasco from last year) and important enough to have a say with where the franchise is headed.

In fairness to OSEG, the ‘Name Our Teams’ campaign wasn’t actually a contest.

I am on the fence with getting one of these but I will for the sake of supporting the team (the home not the terrible away jersey).

C’mon now!

We have a so-so name, a terrific logo and now a “meh” set of uniforms. 1.5/3 for overall branding at this stage from this season ticket holder’s opinion. I can only hope that we have a retro design come to pass and become our regular set.

Not sure if it will be retro, but it sounds like we will definitely have a red third jersey later this summer. In this Ottawa Sun piece writer Aedan Helmer and OSEG president Jeff Hunt tell us:

A red third jersey will be unveiled later in the summer, and while Hunt said they went for the classic look for the home and away duds, “that (third jersey) is going to be different.”

So, that answers the lack of red in the home & away set. But how ‘different’, exactly? We shall see…

Regardless, I’m stoked for kickoff and to have Ottawa return to the CFL regardless of what they are wearing. Go Ottawa!

Thanks Nevill!

@OTTRoughRiders

A closer look at the new Ottawa Redblacks jerseys

For an expansion franchise, the uniform unveiling is pretty much the last major milestone before the games begin. And the Ottawa Redblacks did their unveiling in style, in front of 1,200 season ticket holders at the Ottawa Conference And Event Centre on Tuesday night. We weren’t able to be there in person, but #RNation did a great job bringing us there. Thanks to everyone for the providing the photos below. Hope to eventually source them all properly.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at each uniform:

HOME UNIFORM

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ROAD UNIFORM

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That was fun!

My thoughts:

– Very cool that we have different home & away helmets. The traditional black looks great, but I love the white!

– Jersey number font is the same style as we saw at mini-camp, but with an outline. The outline looks fine, but I think I could have worked just as well without a stroke.

– Interesting choice to have red numbers with a white stroke on the home jersey, rather than the opposite. Makes for an overall darker look. Not a bad thing.

– Interesting choice of font for player names. Again, thought they would go with something simpler to balance off the buzz saw-style numbering. But it isn’t too much either. Not my first choice, but it works.

– Would have thought red socks and some red shoulder striping for the home uniform, but again, I don’t mind the ‘black out’ look either.

– The ‘Redblacks’ word mark on the front of the jersey looks a little bigger than what we normally see on a football jersey (though not Montreal big). Also, I would have liked to see one of the jerseys with the ‘Ottawa’ word mark.

– While I’m really not a fan of the ‘flashes’ under the arm on the Sens home & away jerseys, I like the black trim on the Redblacks whites. Especially that it extends to the shoulders. Works very well. Strong look.

– As expected, the entire saw blade Redblacks logo was used on the helmets, as opposed to the R on its own. It looks really good. Perhaps we’ll see the R on its own after a few years?

– Nice looking black striping down the side of the white pant. Completes the white jersey nicely.

– Do we think the black jersey with white pants will work well? Not sure, given the striping on the pants. TBD.

– Hard to see at first, but the Rouge et Noir word mark is actually used on the front ‘bumper’ of the helmet, as pointed out on SportsLogos.net. Here’s a closer look:

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Overall, a great first set of jerseys. Folks worried about plaid design can rest easy. While OSEG opted for a more modern style, they also kept things generally simple. A happy median.

For those who we’re hoping for a red jersey, don’t forget what owner Jeff Hunt had to say a few weeks ago. Don’t think we’ll be waiting too long.

An exciting day, filled with anticipation. As much fun as it was to speculate these last several months, the final product did not disappoint. A great looking uniform. Looking forward to picking up one of each jersey in the very near future.

One final thought: Props to the Redblacks for keeping the new uniform designs completely under wraps. Not a single leak, none of the rumours out there about plaid accents were even close to true and not a single jersey concept was really close to the final product. Nicely done!

@OTTRoughRiders

Redblacks jerseys coming May 6th + a few more concepts

5/5 UPDATE: The Redblacks posted the following teasers on Sunday and Monday prior to the unveiling. Didn’t give up much, but here’s what we got:

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Appears to be the R in the Redblacks wordmark, which most teams place below the CFL crest on the front of the jersey. Also, seems likely that this is the road jersey, as the background is white.

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Appears to be another shot of the road (white) jersey. This time, showing the CFL crest stitched into the base of a black collar.

Based on the limited amount we see here, it doesn’t look like OSEG have overdone it, opting for a simpler, more traditional look that fans seem to be clamouring for. I guess we will know for sure on Tuesday evening.

That reminds me: if you are attending tomorrow night’s unveiling, please tweet us lots of photos.

Thanks in advance!

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Redblacks fans and jersey geeks: the wait is almost over. After months of anticipation, the Ottawa Redblacks have scheduled their jersey (entire uniform, actually) unveiling for May 6th at the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre. The event, open only to season ticket holders that reserve a (free) ticket, will begin at 7:00PM ET. According to an email sent to STHs on April 29th, Henry Burris and several other Redblacks players and coaches will be on hand “for the Ottawa football fashion event of the decade.” (Their quote, not mine, I assure you). No word yet on whether the event will be televised or streamed online. (UPDATE: no stream)

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So we have a date and a time. #RNation is pumped. So is WR Kierrie Johnson. Now all that’s left is to wait… and check out a few more concepts!

Here’s a solid concept update from @mediumguts incorporating the new numbering:

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And here are a couple of great updates from @NevillCarney:

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Really like the striping on that black Gabriel jersey. Here’s Nevill’s take:

I wanted to create a look that I would want to wear and be proud to wear.

I based them off of what he have seen on various Redblacks merchandise, like the hat that Henry Burris is wearing for the home opener ticket pack, was the inspiration for the arm stripes on the black home jersey.

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The numbers were based off the ones that were worn by the players for the mini-camp in Virginia. I included two versions with the numbers on the jerseys: one color number and one with an outline. Depending on which era of Ottawa football history you are looking at, the numbers varied in design after the 80s with a red outline included and that continued through to the end of the Renegades.

Finally, this great hand-drawn take by @Sports_Drawings of soon-to-be fan-favourite Jordan Roberts:

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Be sure to check out the other concepts we’ve come across here and here. And here‘s a reminder of what the mini-camp jerseys looked like.

So, will they go with red or black for the home jersey? A traditional look or something original? And what about the helmet – classic black or break with tradition and go with red? We’ll know in just a few days, but what are you hoping for?

@OTTRoughRiders