The 2020 Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductees have been announced. There are six members of the class of 2020. Four players (three from the CFL and one amateur), and two in the ‘builders’ categoury (one from the CFL and one from college football).
This is the Canadian Football Hall of Fame so it has categories UK fans may not be used to seeing. Because we have grown used to the way the Pro Football Hall of Fame works we may find some things odd.
The Class of 2020 sees Larry Uteck go in as a builder with a background in university football. Alongside him Greg Vara goes into the Hall for recognition of a great amateur career with the Calgary Dinos. But what about the people with a CFL connection? Let’s take a look.
Clyde Brock – Offensive Tackle
Brock, a 6 foot 5 268 lb lineman was big for his day. He would anchor the the Saskatchewan Roughriders offensive line for 12 years from 1964 to 1975.
Excelling in his position, he appeared in 169 regular season games, 27 playoff matches and four Grey Cups. That included being part of the team that delivered Saskatchewan’s first Grey Cup win in 1966.
Brock was a five time West All-Star at offensive tackle in consecutive years from 1965-1969. He also won four CFL All-Star nods in four of those five years, from 1966 to 1969.
He was part of an offensive line which included three other Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductees – Jack Abendschan, Al Benecick and Ted Urness. They were the offensive foundations stones of one of the most successful periods in the teams history.
In 1995 he was inducted into the Roughriders Plaza of Honour.
Henry Burris – Quarterback
Smiling Hank is a name extremely familiar to CFL fans. He has had an exceptional on the field career and has a strong media presence off it.
Burris had an 18 year playing career in the league, appearing for four different teams. He played for the Calgary Stampeders from 1997 to 1999 and again from 2005 to 2011, the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2000, 2003 and 2004, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2012 and 2013, and finished up his career with the Ottawa RedBlacks from 2014 to 2016.
We have only had the CFL on TV here for the past half decade or so. Because of this his most memorable moment on this side of the pond will be leading the RedBlacks to their first Grey Cup win.
He also won the Grey Cup in 1998 & 2008 with the Stampeders, taking home MVP honours for the wins in 2008 with Calgary & 2016 with Ottawa.
Burris started 229 games compiling a record of 118-108-3 over his 18 years in the CFL. He completed 4,648 of 7,452 passses (62.4%) for 63,369 yards and 373 touchdowns.
A two time CFL East All Star, and 3 time CFL West All Star, Burris was recognized as the league’s Most Outstanding Player in 2010 and 2015.
Freddie Childress – Offensive Lineman
Childress found his way into the league as part of the fabled US expansion of the mid 1990’s. That 3 season experiment did bring some great American players into the CFL and Childress was certainly one of them.
Appearing in 185 regular season games, 14 playoff games and three Grey Cups, Childress was on the winning side for two of them.
Childress played 12 games in his rookie season with the Pirates. In 1995 whilst playing for the Barracudas he won his first Division All-Star Award in the South Division.
Following the 1995 season, Childress signed with the Calgary Stampeders as a free agent. It was in Calgary that he found most success. Appearing for the Stamps from 1996-2003 he gained all but one of his All-Star nods.
He was part of a squad that delivered six consecutive playoff runs from 1996-2001 off the back of a 67-40-1 record. They appeared in 4 straight Western Finals, three Grey Cups, and won two of them in 1998 & 2001.
Freddie Childress finished his career with 6 Division All-Star and 3 CFL All-Star nods. He was also named the Outstanding Offensive Lineman in the CFL in 1998, after being the runner-up to Mike Kiselak in 1997.
Childress received the DeMarco-Becket Memorial Trophy as Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in the Western Division in 1997 and 1998.
John Hufnagel – QB/Coach/GM (builder categoury)
John Hufnagel has had the golden touch in the CFL. He spent 12 years as a player in the league. Turning out for the Stampeders (1976-79), Roughriders (1980-83,’87) & Winnipeg Blue Bombers. (1984-6). He picked up a Grey Cup ring backing up Tom Clements as part of the 1984 Bombers team.
His best passing season came in 1986 when he threw for a career high 3394 yards with a 59.0% completion percentage, and tying his career high with 21 TD passes.
But it’s really off the field that he is known best. His coaching career began as a player/coach with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1987, then an assistant coach with the Calgary Stampeders from 1990 to 1996 before going on to be Head Coach with Calgary from 2008 to 2015.
During that time Hufnagel compiled a 102-41-1 record. This gives him the best winning percentage of any CFL coaches who have coached a 100 games or more.
A 2 time CFL Coach of the Year (2008 & 2014), he led the Stamps to the playoffs every year from 2008-2015. He led the Stamps to 4 West Division Championships, 3 Grey Cup appearances, and 2 Grey Cup titles (2008 & 2014).
John Hufnagel has also been the Stamps GM from 2008 to the present day. From the 2016 step down from coaching he has retained his GM position with the team.
Hufnagel’s teams have never missed the playoffs in every season he has been GM. Further his teams have finished first or second in all but one season he has led the franchise. That tenure has also seen six championship appearances, and 3 titles.
He has won the Grey Cup five times, including once as a player (1984), once as an Assistant Coach (1992), twice as a Head Coach (2008 and 2014) and three times as a GM (2008, 2014 and 2018).