Football

‘It’s going to be mind-boggling’: Retired CFL star Henry Burris will have fun Canada Day in England — with the Gray Cup

By Ted Wyman

WINNIPEG — Henry Burris is just not Canadian — not less than not but — however he couldn’t be extra proud to characterize his adopted homeland throughout the pond on a milestone birthday.

As a part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations, Burris will journey with the Gray Cup to London, England, to be a part of the Canada Day festivities at Trafalgar Sq..

The Canadian Soccer League, which employed Burris as a star quarterback for 18 years earlier than he retired in 2016 as a champion, was invited to take part within the Trafalgar Sq. celebration by the Canadian Excessive Fee.

“It means every thing to me,” Burris says. “Taking one among our most prized possessions — the Gray Cup — to Trafalgar Sq. on Saturday goes to be an ideal expertise. Simply being round Canadians and with the ability to characterize the nation and simply reminding individuals how nice of a rustic that is that we name house … for us, it’s going to be mind-boggling.”

What make this extra fascinating is the very fact Burris is definitely American. He got here to Canada in 1997 to play for the Calgary Stampeders, and suited up for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Ottawa Redblacks over his lengthy profession. 

He and his spouse Nicole, who will accompany him on the journey, started residing in Canada on a full-time foundation in 2005 and had been granted everlasting resident standing final April. The following step is Canadian citizenship.

“It’s one thing we’ve been trying ahead to creating occur,” Burris says. “Our youngsters are Canadians, they had been born in Calgary. That is all they know and we each like it right here, my spouse and I. In our minds, why not? Why depart Canada? It’s an ideal place, with nice individuals. When a spot feels prefer it’s house, it’s time to make it simply that.”

The Canada Day festivities in Trafalgar Sq., the place Canada Home is situated, are anticipated to draw 60,000 to 80,000 individuals this 12 months. Many Canadian organizations will probably be collaborating, with the CFL providing up a Gray Cup picture sales space and an impediment course for revellers to tackle.

Burris appeared like a sensible choice to hold the Cup, since he received the trophy with the Redblacks in an epic additional time sport in opposition to the Stampeders final November. He then retired, going out on high at age 41.

“It’s an honour for me to have the ability to carry the Gray Cup into this big celebration that’s going to be going down,” Burris says. “(The Cup) has really modified our lives. For us to have received it within the vogue that we did, and for me to stroll away from the sport at the moment after profitable, has meant a lot in our lives and now right here’s one other alternative of with the ability to carry it on the 150th. It’s going to be a reminiscence I’ll always remember.”

After the primary festivities conclude on Saturday, the CFL will host a “watch get together” for 200 individuals on the Carlsberg Sports activities Bar on the Empire On line casino, the place followers can view the Canada Day sport between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders at Regina’s new Mosaic Stadium. The sport received’t begin till 2 a.m. London time, however the league expects individuals to stay round for the sport and TSN will lower away to the get together now and again throughout breaks within the on-field motion.

Burris is most trying ahead to interacting with Canadians.

“One of many causes we moved from the U.S. and finally made this house is due to the individuals,” Burris says. “I’m actually trying ahead to it. That is going to be a deal with for us.”

***

CFL Energy Rankings

1. EDMONTON

A lot for the B.C. Lions bandwagon. Many observers had been anticipating the Lions to be a West Division powerhouse this season, and that state of affairs could but materialize. Nevertheless, the Eskimos marched into BC Place on Saturday and received 30-27 whereas using a relentless go rush. And the Eskimos’ quarterback, Mike Reilly, is among the greatest.

2. CALGARY 

The Stampeders had an opportunity to publish an opening-week win in Ottawa, solely to lament a 37-yard missed subject objective by the usually dependable Rene Paredes in additional time. The Stampeders are usually a protected wager, contemplating their perennial excellence. Give them the nod over Ottawa following a 31-31 tie, as a result of one level on the highway is a higher accomplishment than one at house.

3. OTTAWA 

The defending Gray Cup champions are lacking stalwarts akin to Henry Burris (retired) and Ernest Jackson (now with Montreal), however they’re nonetheless blessed with ample expertise. Any staff that may go toe-to-toe, or cleat-to-cleat, with Calgary belongs on the rostrum.

4. TORONTO 

The Argos, of whom little was anticipated outdoors the group, delivered a Week 1 stunner. They defeated Hamilton 32-15 and, actually, the rating flattered the Tiger-Cats. Toronto received handily regardless of two dropped landing passes. The affect of head coach Marc Trestman and normal supervisor Jim Popp is duly famous.

5. WINNIPEG 

The Blue Bombers, who had a Week 1 bye, have but to win or lose — so let’s put them proper within the center. Clearly, that is a precise science. The Bombers, after a breakout 12 months in 2016, ought to subject a aggressive staff once more this 12 months. They’re blessed with an opportunistic defence, an incredible placekicker (Justin Medlock) and the steadying hand of Matt Nichols at quarterback. So long as head coach Mike O’Shea doesn’t name for any 61-yard field-goal makes an attempt, the Bombers must be okay. 

6. B.C. 

Anybody who glances on the first few decisions could also be questioning the place the Lions are. After so many pre-season accolades, Wally Buono’s crew suffered a Week 1 loss at house. The offensive line was a sieve and the secondary was susceptible excessive.

7. MONTREAL

Courting again to final season, Jacques Chapdelaine now has a 5-2 document because the Alouettes’ head coach. Many of the victories, nonetheless, have been in opposition to weaker groups. Which brings us to… 

8. SASKATCHEWAN 

A gap-week loss in Montreal leaves the Roughriders with a 1-18 document in June/July/August since 2015. Don’t label them the boys of summer time simply but. On a brighter be aware, the Roughriders are coming off a one-point loss after lamenting quite a lot of blowouts in recent times. Progress?

9. HAMILTON

How can a Kent Austin-coached staff look so ragged? Sure, the Tiger-Cats are battling accidents — so what else is new? — however they had been a whole and utter mess in opposition to Toronto. The Tiger-Cats have the bye in Week 2, so there’s something to be mentioned for consistency. In any case, lots of the Hamilton gamers took off Week 1 as properly.

— Rob Vanstone

***

Week 2 Picks

THURSDAY, 9 P.M. ET 
Ottawa (+7.5) at Calgary

This can be a rematch of Thursday’s Gray Cup rematch, wherein the groups performed to a wild 31-31 additional time tie in Ottawa. Their championship-game assembly of 2016, received 39-33 by Ottawa, additionally went into OT. May a 3rd consecutive Redblacks-Stampeders matchup require further time?

The damage bug has already bitten the Stampeders, however they’ve an uncanny skill to deal with any voids which will emerge. It helps significantly that their quarterback, Bo Levi Mitchell, is the CFL’s reigning most excellent participant. Ottawa QB Trevor Harris can also be able to amassing eye-popping totals. Watch for an additional thriller-diller (forgive the cheesy 1960s lingo). Stampeders by 4 — in additional time, after all.

FRIDAY, 5 P.M. ET 
B.C. (-1.5) at Toronto

The Lions should discover a approach to shield quarterback Jonathon Jennings, and shortly, or they might be in a large number of bother. B.C.’s alleged go safety was porous throughout Saturday’s 30-27 loss to the visiting Edmonton Eskimos.

It doesn’t get any simpler for the Lions, who will face a Toronto staff that exerted constant strain on Hamilton quarterback Zach Collaros en path to profitable 32-15 on Sunday. Most impressively, Argos quarterback Ricky Ray threw for a career-high 506 yards in that sport. Ray, 37, may very properly be having fun with a renaissance underneath Argos subject boss Marc Trestman. Let’s go along with the recent hand and see how that works out. Argos by 4.

FRIDAY, 10 P.M. ET 
Montreal (+8.5) at Edmonton

Because the Saskatchewan quarterback, Darian Durant had loads of powerful outings at Commonwealth Stadium. Now with the Alouettes, he’ll face an Eskimos staff that loved a robust Week 1 efficiency. Montreal, in the meantime, is coming off Thursday’s 17-16 victory over Saskatchewan. The Roughriders had an opportunity to win, however Tyler Crapigna missed a 45-yard subject objective on the ultimate play.

The Eskimos’ opener additionally got here right down to the final play: Sean Whyte’s game-winning nine-yard subject objective. Edmonton’s opening-week opponent was significantly harder than Montreal’s, so let’s go along with the house facet. Eskimos by 9. 

SATURDAY, 9 P.M. ET
Winnipeg (even) at Saskatchewan

There’s a new aspect to this long-standing rivalry: the stadium. The Roughriders are making ready for his or her first regular-season sport on the $278-million Mosaic Stadium, which replaces a crumbling edifice of the identical identify.

Saskatchewan had a Week 1 bye final 12 months. This 12 months, it was Winnipeg’s flip to be idle. Count on some imprecision by the Bombers within the early phases, whereas the Roughriders ought to feed off the vitality their fervent followers present. Failing that, there might be a really bitter setting in Riderville. Saskatchewan is lengthy overdue. Roughriders by two.

— Rob Vanstone

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