By Phil Hecken
It’s that time of year again — no, not the knockout stage of the World Cup, the nearing of MLB’s midsummer classic nor even the middle weekend of Wimbledon — it’s time for FOOTBALL again.
OK, not American football, but Canadian football — as the CFL has begun play for the 2014 season, kicking off their season this past Thursday with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers thrashing the Toronto Argonauts by a tally of 45-21. The rest of the league kicks off this weekend.
While still a fairly foreign game to Americans, the game has seen increased popularity and with greater USA television coverage, is now being seen by many more of us down in the lower 48.
I am once again joined by my buddy, Mike Styczen, whom I’ve asked to keep us up to date with the uni-happenings for the nine (that’s right — there’s a NEW team this year) teams who play their games up in Canada. He was reluctant…but I was able to
threaten him with detention when he visits New York in July convince him that hey, Canadian Football deserves to have its uniforms recognized down here, if only for one day.
So now, here’s Mike with your…
2014 CFL Preview
By Mike Styczen
When Phil asked me to write a preview of the 2014 CFL season (which started this week) I was a little reluctant as there’s not much new in the CFL this year.
Reebok took over the league-wide contract and redesigned the uniforms in 2004. The first set of redesigned uniforms were exactly what you would expect – lots of random patches of colour, bibs and stripes. Reebok redesigned the uniforms again in 2012 and many teams went to a better look with more traditional stripes, numbers and colours.
The only major uniform change planned for 2014 (other than the new Ottawa uniforms) is the announcement by the Commissioner that all teams will have “stunning new third uniforms” in 2014, rumoured to be similar to the “gunmetal” uniforms worn by the B.C. Lions in 2013.
The biggest CFL development continues to be the development of new stadiums. The last new stadium (prior to the current boom) was SkyDome in 1989; the development of five or six new stadiums starting in 2012 represents a significant refreshing of the league’s facilities [Click on any photos below to enlarge -- PH].
• The B.C. Lions home set remains orange jerseys / white pants, and the road set remains white jerseys / orange pants, with simple striping. Both road and home helmets are white. The Lions also wear the aforementioned gunmetal alternates.
• B.C. will host the 102nd Grey Cup on November 30th.
• B.C. was the first to get a “new” stadium. B.C. Place, was originally built in 1983 and was an air-supported facility similar to the Metrodome. After the 2010 Olympics, it got a complete overhaul to completely renovate the seating areas and concourses, and to remove the air-supported roof and replace it with an innovative retractable roof. It’s a beautiful facility, opened in 2012, that hosts the Lions as well as the MLS Whitecaps.
• Their uniforms are still a disaster of patches and stripes. The home jerseys are red with black pants and a red helmet. The road jerseys are white with a weird shoulder yoke, red pants and a black helmet.
• The team plays at McMahon Stadium, opened in 1960 on the University of Calgary campus. While there’s been talk of the need for a new stadium, there are no concrete plans.
• Edmonton has a traditional look at home, green over yellow with a yellow helmet. The road uniform is a mess like Calgary’s white over green with a green helmet.
• The team plays at Commonwealth Stadium, opened in 1978 and renovated in 2013 with new seats. Commonwealth isn’t going anywhere.
• The defending Grey Cup champion Roughriders home set are green over white, with a green helmet. The road set consists of white jerseys, white pants, and a white helmet.
• The Roughriders have been at Mosaic Stadium since 1936 (though with renovations there isn’t much of the original building left). They’ll move to a new 30,000 seat stadium expected to be ready in 2017.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
• The home set are blue over gold and the road set are gold over blue. The helmets are gold.
• The biggest change for the Blue Bombers for 2014 is that they’re back in the Western Conference with the return of the CFL to Ottawa.
• The Blue Bombers moved to Investors Group Field in 2013. The new stadium seats 33,422 and is on the University of Manitoba campus.
• This is Ottawa’s third try at a CFL team. After the Rough Riders sadly folded after 120 years in 1996, and the Renegades quietly faded away after five seasons in 2006, excitement is high for the new team.
• The new team has adopted the look and colours of its predecessors. The home uniform is monochrome black and the road uniform is monochrome white. The team’s primary logo evokes the iconic “R” logo of the old Rough Riders, as well as a buzzsaw (a nod to Ottawa’s past as a lumber town).
• The Argonauts home set are traditional blue over white, while the road set are white over blue. Helmets are blue.
• The team has a lease at Rogers Centre through 2017, but after that the Blue Jays (which own the building) have stated that they intend to convert the building into a baseball-only facility with natural grass. The leading candidate for a new home for the Argos seems to be BMO Field (home of Toronto FC), which sits on the site of old Exhibition Stadium.
Hamilton Tiger Cats
• The Ticats primary home set is black over gold and their primary road set is white over black. Helmets are black.
• The Als home set are red with blue and silver trim, worn with silver pants, and the road set are white with red and silver trim, blue pants. Helmets are silver.
• The team continues to play at charming Percival Molson Stadium on the McGill University campus. In the past the team has played playoff games at Olympic Stadium, but that practice may have come to an end because of the condition of the stadium.
TSN in Canada has exclusive CFL rights and airs every game. In the United States, games air on NBCSN, ESPN2 and ESPN 3. The 2014 broadcast schedule doesn’t seem to be posted yet, but check here for updates.
Thanks Mike! Great job with the uniform/stadium rundown. So, for all of you jonesing for some football before the real football season starts, make sure you get your fill of the game played up north, where the fields are too big, the downs are too few, the players too many…and you can score a rouge.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
I have a couple today, all from Bruce Menard (who’s probably better known to Uni Watch for his wonderful wire service photo finds, but who is amazingly talented!). Click on any photos to enlarge:
I noticed that you saw my Babe Ruth colorization today via Twitter (sliding into 3rd). So I attached the one I posted and a before/after comparison.
I also made a colorization last week for a Father’s Day posting. It’s of The Babe kissing his daughter Dorothy before a game c.1927. I’m attaching that, plus a before/after as well.
Maybe you could use them for Uni Watch this week…
Thanks Bruce. Those are wonderful colorizations. OK, colorizers — love for you guys to have your latest work featured on here. Keep ‘em coming!
U.W.F.F.L. Spring League
UWFFL Developmental League – Week 15
by Rob Holecko
The UWFFL gets back into action, and today we have a full slate of eleven games for you to vote on. Among those games is a key match between two 4-1 teams, Memphis and Missouri, who trail only the 6-0 Little Rock Diamondbacks atop the Group C standings. This will be a key game as these teams battle for promotion into the UWFFL Fall season.
In other games, Little Rock debuts it’s ‘Midnight Russet’ uniform set,
Harlem debuts their yellow alt jersey and Boston adds the UWFFL patch to their uniform. Be sure to head over to uwfantasyfootballleague.com to vote on the other ten games this week, and we’ll see you next weekend.
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Is there “something odd” about the Reds road uniforms? Dan Wohl writes, “Maybe this has already been documented, but I’m watching the Giants play the Reds and noticing that the team’s road gray jersey is inconsistent as to whether it says CINCI NNATI or CINC INNATI. Some players have one style, and some have the other. I googled a bit and found pictures of Brandon Phillips, for instance, in either configuration: CINCI NNATI vs CINC INNATI.” … We may have seen this before, but it’s totally worth another view. Check out this vintage photo website (which submitter Ray Barrington thinks might also make a good catch of the day), which back in February featured a female NY Giants baseball team. “Hope you like them,” says Ray. … On Thursday night, the Tacoma Rainiers/El Paso Chihuahua’s game was postponed because the airline lost the Rainiers’ luggage — which of course meant their unis were missing. … The Toledo Mud Hens have unveiled their Christmas in July Day/Night Doubleheader Jerseys — they’ll wear them on July 19th (thanks to @MiLBPromos). … Minor League Baseball thrives on (oftentimes horrible) alternate gimmick jerseys to bring fans to the park, but could this be the worst matchup of all time? (h/t Zach Cronrath). … MLB.com is doing a flash sale on some Cooperstown throw back jerseys. “They are selling a Diamondbacks 1998 Road Grey that never existed,” notes Jay Heiple. “It displays the home jersey logo on a grey non-pinstripe jersey. It’s look plain awful to a purist. The road logo actually displayed “Arizona” as highlighted by a great Dbacks jersey website below. Seriously looks like they made it in some back alley in China knowing abstractly what they think it looked like.” … Here’s some cool Pete Rose stuff from 1969 in this video from Brice Wallace: Crosley Field shots start at 11:12, Spring training stuff starts at 16:20 and at least some of the spring training shots feature the pinstriped uniform. … The Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, who’ve made their bacon this year with pig-themed unis, will bust out “patriotic” uniforms on July 3. … Oooohhh, check out this photo of Ron Santo with some of his fan club members (via @CubsHistory). … This comes from our Pacific Rim Correspondent, Jeremy Brahm: “The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks had a throwback night to the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (Thursday) night against the Seibu Lions. So much so that they even busted out the Hawk’s Head helmets. Picture from the game. In August they will even give out some paper ones.” … On Sunday, the Marlins are giving away this soccer-style jersey (h/t @gacanefanblog). Those blue jerseys seem to be quite popular — No word on whether Jim Vilk will be on a Greyhound for Miami yet. … Last evening, “more than a couple” of the Lakeshore Chinooks busted out these gorgeous stirrups (thanks to Nicole Haase). … Also last evening, the Cedar Rapids Kernels wore these Autism Awareness jerseys (via Joey). … Josh Donaldson of the A’s has worn a camouflage elbow pad for at least a couple games this season (nice find by Joanna Zwiep)
College Football News: Joining the all black (is it even BFBS anymore?) trend is Ball State, who now have all black uniforms and helmets. Not surprisingly, the players are excited about the matte black helmets, which, along with the new black pants, were paid for by donor funds. Ball State has had a black alt top for two years, but the pants and helmets now “complete” the all-black look. This link has some video.
Basketball News: “I’m sure (I hope) you’ve heard about Filipino’s passion for basketball,” writes Monark Buhain. And Nike has unveiled new Gilas Pilipinas team kits. “Just want to share this bit with you. By the way, Andray Blatche who is now a Filipino will be suiting up for the team in the FIBA World Cup this August.” … Looks like number 2 draft pick Jabari Parker will wear #12 for the Milwaukee Bucks (h/t Adam Vitcavage). … Also from Adam, number one draft pick Andrew Wiggins will wear #21 for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Hockey News: A Swedish hockey team, Kiruna IF, has announced its intention to wear rainbow uniforms to stand up for LGBT rights. According to the team, the switch to rainbow colors is “one motivated by the desire to honour, commend and respect individual uniqueness, the promotion of acceptance and equality regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.” … The Anaheim Ducks have unveiled their new uniforms for 2014-15. And here’s another look at the road sweater. … Here’s a look at the new Arizona Coyotes patch, seen at last night’s draft (via Jeff Anderson). … “Interesting the see the Lightning had their 1st round pick a 47 Brand hat instead of a NHL standard Reebok lid,” says Jason Reid. … According to RJ Meyers, this is the best Brett Hull pic ever.
Soccer News: The World Cup knockout round starts today. Here’s the bracket going forward. … Those of you who are Game of Thrones‘ fans will be more than thrilled to learn that there are now Game of Thrones-inspired uniforms (supposedly from Nike). Actually, some of them aren’t too bad (thanks to Ira Creasman). … Here’s “The Amazing Soccer Ball That’s Virtually Indestructible,” with thanks to Steve Cook.
Grab Bag: Randolph-Macon College, located in Ashland, Virginia, has unveiled new logo (thanks to TommyTheCPA). … Oops, an Apostrophe Catastrophe from MSNBC (thanks to Joseph NguyenJosh Jacobs found this website that tracks who is getting new rugby kits. Joe reminds us, “We are a few days away from the USA National team getting new uniforms.” … “[Yester]day’s ticker mentioned that every World Cup ball has game-specific information printed on them,” says Matt Fedorka. “When I was in France during the 2007 Rugby World Cup, they had displays of game-used balls from that year’s tournament. I went back and checked my pictures and sure enough, the round of the tournament, date, and city are all listed on the ball, although the specific teams are not listed.” … Singer Mike Edel has an album called The Closer, which has some baseball-related artwork on the cover. It is also available for free at the following link through July 3 (nice find by Joanna Zwiep).
And that’s all for today — thanks to Mike for the great look at the CFL’s upcoming unis and the new stadia, and to Bruce for the wonderful colorizaitons. Got a big World Cup piece coming tomorrow, including dueling 5 & 1’s — from an old hand and a new man — so that should be very interesting (and likely will be diametrically opposed). You won’t want to miss that.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“It’s not just you. This World Cup is indeed lacking.”