2023 Canadian Football Hall of Fame Class announced

2023 Canadian Football Hall of Fame Class announced
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The 2023 Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductees have been announced. There are five players, and two builders in this years group.

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.

An amateur player can be voted in as with Tim Tindale in last years’ class. So can people in the ‘Builders’ category. The latter including those that make an impact off the field. This year’s class includes former coaching great Jacques Dussault and the eighth Commissioner of the Canadian Football League, Larry Smith in the builders class.

Most interesting for us though are probably the players who plied their trade in the CFL. Let’s take a look at them. The first two are into the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.

Solomon Elimimian – Linebacker

Solomon Elimimian was the only defensive MOP the CFL has seen. Image from Newmarkettoday.ca

BC Lions 2010-2018, Saskatchewan Roughriders 2019-2020

Back in 2014 Solomon Elimimian was named the CFL MOP (Most Outstanding Player). Elimimian was the first purely defensive player to win the league’s Most Outstanding Player Award. He remains the only purely defensive player to attain this feat too.

The year Elimimian won the MOP award he also won the Most Outstanding Defensive Player award. Having won the Most Outstanding Rookie in 2010, this made him the first player in league history to win three different individual CFL awards.

That season he broke the CFL’s all-time single season record for defensive tackles with 143, and went further, surpassing the total tackles tally with 151. (143 defensive tackles and 8 special teams tackles). He also notched 5 sacks, 1 interception and 2 forced fumbles.

He would go on to record 868 career tackles, (832 defensive & 36 on special teams). Plus 32 career sacks, 8 interceptions and 9 forced fumbles.

Elimimian would pick up a second Most Outstanding Defensive Player award in 2016. That year he again led the league in total tackles with 130 (129 defensive and 1 special teams).

For all the personal glory perhaps the greatest moment in his career came in 2011. As part of the last BC Lions team to lift the Grey Cup.

Solomon Elimimian was a six time Western All-Star (2011, 2013-14, 2016-17 & 2019), and a four time CFL All-Star (2011, 2014 & 2016-17).

John Bowman – Defensive End

John Bowman was a constant for the Alouettes. Image from thestar.com

Montreal Alouettes 2006-2020

Bowman is the current D-line coach of the BC Lions following a stellar 14 year career terrorising offences for the Montreal Alouettes.

A two-time CFL All-Star and nine-time East Division All-Star selection, Bowman is the Alouettes’ all-time leader with 134 sacks and sits seventh all-time in that category amongst CFL defenders. He also helped the Alouettes win back-to-back Grey Cups in 2009 and 2010.

Bowman played in 230 regular season games across 14 seasons with the Alouettes and led the CFL in sacks twice, including in 2015 when he posted a career-high of 19. He also notched 481 tackles, 32 forced fumbles and 15 fumble recoveries.

Josh Bourke Offensive Line

Josh Bourke was a rock on the O line for some very successful Als teams. Image from rds.ca

Montreal Alouettes 2007-2015, Toronto Argonauts 2016

Bourke spent the first nine seasons of his CFL career with the Alouettes, where he was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 2011. Bourke was also twice named the East Division’s Most Outstanding Lineman and was seven times an East Division All-Star with the Alouettes.

After being selected in the third round of the 2004 CFL Draft, he played 151 games in the league. He was a solid anchor on the O line of some very good Montreal teams. He played in three Grey Cup games, winning alongside Bowman in 2009 and 2010.

Lloyd Fairbanks – Offensive Line

Fairbanks began and edned his CFL career in Calgary. Image from beckett.com

1975-1982 Calgary Stampeders, 1983-1985 Montreal Concordes, 1986 Montreal Alouettes, 1987-1988 Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 1988-1991 Calgary Stampeders.

Durability. You either have it or you don’t. Lloyd Fairbanks had it in spades. Managing 17 seasons in the trenches is no mean feat. He totalled 257 games along the way too.

In his first stint with Calgary, (1975 to 1982), Fairbanks won three West All-Star awards at Offensive Tackle (1978, 1979 and 1982) and two CFL All-Star awards. (1979 and 1982). With Montreal from 1983-1986 he won three East All-Star awards, two at Offensive Guard in 1984 and 1985, and at Offensive Tackle in 1986.

Fairbanks played 1987 and 1988 with the Tiger-Cats before returning to Calgary to see out his CFL career. There he won his seventh division All-Star award with a West All-Star nod at Offensive Tackle in 1990.

Fairbanks was the Stampeders nominee for Oustanding Offensive Lineman 7 times, in 1976 and then for five consecutive years from 1978 to 1982. He was also Montreal’s, nominee three times for Outstanding Offensive Linman (1984, 1985 and 1986).

Larry Crawford – Defensive Back

Larry Crawford was one of the premier Db’s of his generation. Image from cfl.ca

BC Lions 1981-1989, Toronto Argonauts 1989

Larry Crawford ranks up there with the top defensive backs in CFL history. His career spanned nine seasons and 134 games for the BC Lions and Argonauts.

During that time he had 52 career interceptions. Crawford signed as a free agent with the BC Lions prior to the 1981 season and played almost his entire nine year career with the Lions. In his final season, Crawford was traded by the Lions to Toronto for future considerations. 

Crawford won five West All-Star Selections (1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, and 1988) and four CFL All-Star nods (1983, 1984, 1986 and 1987).  Crawford made an impression right away with 8 interceptions in his rookie season. His career high was 12 picks in his  first All-Star year in 1983. This remains the fourth-highest single-season total in CFL history.  Besides playing defensive back, Crawford was also an excellent kickoff and punt returner.  In 1987, Crawford returned three punts for touchdowns.

At the time of his retirement he had made totals of 4,159 punt return yards to rank second and 52 interceptions to rank fifth.

The Media Wing of the Hall of Fame

Nominees for the media wing are recommended by the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) before being presented to the CFHOF Selection Committee for approval.

These bios are taken directly from the CFL press site here:



After a short stint writing news at her hometown newspaper, the Regina Leader-Post, Hall ventured to Alberta to begin her sports-writing career at the Edmonton Journal. From 2001 to 2008, she served as the paper’s CFL beat writer. Hall joined the Calgary Herald in 2009 as an NHL writer, while also serving as the CFL backup reporter, before taking over the Stampeders beat from 2013-15. In 2015, she became the first female president of the Football Reporters of Canada, and then the first woman on the Canadian Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. She is the first woman inducted into the Hall. She spent three years as Postmedia’s national amateur sportswriter, winning a National Newspaper Award in 2015, before freelancing for CBC and teaching journalism at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.


​Hynes has been the lead producer for more than 800 CFL telecasts on TSN, including 28 playoff games and the past 14 Grey Cups. He joined the network in 1989 and five years later, he was assigned to CFL games as an associate producer and isolation director. Hynes helped launch the ‘CFL on TSN’ and ultimately became TSN’s senior producer of live events. He has gained an unmatched, encyclopedic knowledge of the league, while winning two Canadian Screen Awards and earning 10 nominations for best live sporting event, including the 100th Grey Cup in 2012. A native of Hamilton, Hynes also won two Gemini Awards for TSN’s coverage of the world junior hockey championships. Along with Olympic assignments in 2010 and 2012, he also produced broadcasts of the NBA, NHL and CHL.


​Schultz played college football at Arizona, before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and playing three NFL seasons. He then joined the Toronto Argonauts for nine seasons, winning a championship in 1991. Following his playing career, Schultz joined the media as an influential football analyst. On The Fan 590, he co-hosted football shows from 1995-2010 and served as a CFL and NFL analyst. In 1998, Schultz joined TSN, where he was a CFL on TSN panelist, while contributing analysis to SportsCentre and TSN.ca until 2017. From 2018-19, he served as the colour analyst for Argonauts’ games on TSN 1050 radio broadcasts. During his broadcasting career, he proudly championed Purolator’s Tackle Hunger campaign as its Canadian spokesperson. He is a member of the Ontario and Burlington (his hometown) Sports Halls of Fame. Schultz died in 2021.

Arguably Scultz, the All-time Argonaut, could make it in as a player too.

Banner Image: Inducted in his first year fo eligibility, Solomon Elimimian with the BC Lions. Image from sportsnet.ca

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