My Tom Canada tribute

Well I guess the trip on the Blue Bomber bus has come to an end for fan favorite Tom Canada. The player who managed to get my name into the pages of the Winnipeg Free Press simply by being a good guy.

On Thursday, August 14th, 2008 the Winnipeg Blue Bombers managed to win an important (at the time) game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. One of the big plays of the game came from Tom Canada when he caught an interception and ran the ball back for a touchdown close to the end of the game putting the win decisively into the Bombers hands.

I was naturally on the opposite end of the field when he ran the ball in for the TD… I remember running down the sideline behind another photographer who was not moving as fast as I would have liked. I don’t think he realized there was jubilation taking place fairly close to the sideline in the endzone. By the time I got there I had just enough time to hold the button down on my camera to get the last of the celebration. Those photos sucked cause I had miscalculated the exposure. Then we all followed Tom into the players bench area where he was waving to the crowd and celebrating with other teammates.

After a few more plays I was walking behind the players bench again when I noticed that Tom was going through a bag looking for a football. He noticed I was looking and told me to stick close to him at the end of the game when all the players run onto the field.

I will let this quote from Ed Tait’s story tell the rest…

IT was just one small moment — a tiny blip in the marathon that is a Canadian Football League campaign — but it could ultimately be remembered as monumental if the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are to salvage their 2008 season.

And it was captured perfectly by Free Press photographer Mike Deal after the Bombers’ 37-24 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Friday night.

Just to repaint the picture, Bomber defensive end Tom Canada and head coach Doug Berry are seen leaving the field after the win, both with huge grins on their mugs and Berry with one hand on the player’s shoulder and the other gripping a football — the same one Canada picked off and returned for a touchdown in the game’s final score. That gesture — Canada giving his coach the TD ball — may just hint that this team isn’t as fractured as it’s been portrayed and there may be hope for this bunch after all.

Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to shoot a number of home games for the paper and have collected a small number of images of Tom Canada that I have put into a slide show. Enjoy!

Thanks Tom for giving me my 5 mins. of fame!