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Ottawa Redblacks

Ottawa Redblacks
Team helmet
Team logo
Founded 2010[1]
Based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Home field TD Place Stadium
Head coach Rick Campbell[2]
General manager Marcel Desjardins
Owner(s) Jeff Hunt
League Canadian Football League
Division East Division
Colours Black, white and red[3]
Mascot(s) Big Joe/Grand Jos
Grey Cup wins 0
Current uniform
Former Lansdowne Park before South side stands were demolished.

The Ottawa Redblacks (stylized by the Ottawa ownership group in all-caps as REDBLACKS)[4] (French: Le Rouge et Noir d'Ottawa)[5] are a professional Canadian football team based in Ottawa, Ontario. The team plays in the East Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL).

The Redblacks are the third CFL team to play in the city. The Ottawa Rough Riders, formed in 1876, were a founding member of the CFL in 1958 and played until 1996. A new Ottawa franchise was formed as the "Renegades" in 2002 and lasted until the end of the 2005 season.[6]


  • History 1
  • Team name 2
  • 2013 CFL Draft 3
  • Expansion Draft 4
  • Retired numbers 5
  • Roster 6
  • Staff 7
  • Mascot 8
  • Cheerleaders 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


The Ottawa Renegades abruptly ceased operations prior to the 2006 CFL season. The league liquidated the Renegades roster in a dispersal draft and placed the Ottawa CFL franchise up for sale, with the intent of eventually returning to the city.

On March 25, 2008, an ownership group led by Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt was awarded a franchise. The team planned to begin play in 2010, but cracks in the concrete structure in the south stands of Frank Clair Stadium led to the demolition of those stands and delayed the start of team operations. The league then set a new date of 2013 for the team's debut, but lawsuits forced the delay of reconstruction of the stadium to be pushed back even further.[7] The team and league then announced plans to play at a remodelled Frank Clair Stadium—now called TD Place Stadium—by 2014 if construction remained on schedule.[8][9][10] In 2008, the franchise was conditionally awarded the right to host the 2014 Grey Cup game,[11] but Jeff Hunt later indicated that he would like to postpone the game for a few years to give his franchise a better chance to play in the championship game.[8] In any event, after lawsuits and delays, the stadium renovations were not completed until 2014.[7] Hosting the Grey Cup is a condition included in the agreement giving Hunt control of the franchise.[12] A C$7-million franchise fee was reported to have been paid to the CFL.[6]

Concurrently, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk had announced plans to bid for a Major League Soccer franchise to play in Ottawa, it being his intention to build a new soccer-specific stadium near the Senators' Scotiabank Place (now Canadian Tire Centre) in support of that plan. Questions arose about the stadium's design in terms of whether or not it could be used by a CFL team in place of the aging Frank Clair Stadium. However, the CFL and MLS groups could not come to any agreement on coordinating their plans. Furthermore, municipal officials questioned whether the city could support both CFL and MLS franchises.[13]

In April 2009, the staff of the City of Ottawa presented a report to city council on the merits of the soccer stadium and Lansdowne Park proposals. The city held public hearings based on the report, which questioned the necessity of the spending but gave a slight edge to the Lansdowne proposal. Councillors attempted to find out whether the SSE group would support sharing their stadium with a planned CFL franchise, but the SSE group rejected such a possibility. Consequently, on April 22, 2009, city council chose the Lansdowne proposal over the SSE proposal as its choice for an outdoor stadium. negotiations were conducted over the next several months, leading to an August 26 presentation to council so that it could decide the fate of football in Ottawa in the foreseeable future.

On November 12 and 13, council held a public debate to discuss what should be done with the area at Lansdowne Park. Guest speakers included CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon and former Rough Riders Jock Climie and Mark Kosmos, who presented their case as to why the Lansdowne Live group was an important contributor to the city of Ottawa.[14] The following Monday, on November 16, it was reported that council had voted 15–9 in favour of plans to redevelop Lansdowne Park to house a CFL team.[15] The Hunt group was given until June 2010 to sort out the details of the redevelopment, with construction set to begin in the spring of 2011.

On June 28, 2010, after a twelve-hour meeting, city council approved the plan to redevelop Lansdowne Park by the same 15–9 vote, all but securing a franchise in the nation's capital.[8][9] With construction on the stadium originally scheduled to begin in 2011, the earliest the team would have been able to play was the 2013 under the original time line.[16] However, a failed legal challenge and an Ontario Municipal Board hearing on the Lansdowne Park redevelopment project delayed the start of construction until 2013, with completion targeted for the summer of 2015, although there were indications that the stadium could be opened for football as early as 2014.[7] Without a viable stadium, the debut of the team was necessarily pushed back accordingly.[12]

On October 10, 2012, the new franchise cleared its final political hurdle, when a 21–3 vote by Ottawa City Council went in favour of Lansdowne redevelopment.[17] Construction on the north and south side stands was set to begin in October 2012.[18]

On January 30, 2013, Marcel Desjardins was named the first general manager in Redblacks history.[19] Desjardins named former Montreal Alouettes scouting director and New York Jets pro scout Brock Sunderland as his assistant GM shortly thereafter.

The progress of construction at TD Place Stadium; September 27, 2013.

On July 3, 2014, the Ottawa Redblacks played their first regular season game in Winnipeg, against the Blue Bombers, scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions in the opening quarter, but ultimately losing the game 36-28.[20] On July 18, 2014, the Redblacks earned their first regular-season win at their first home opener with a 18-17 victory over the visiting Toronto Argonauts.[21] The Redblacks, like most expansion teams, struggled during the whole season, and finished last in the league with a 2-16 record. However, the Redblacks managed to clinch a postseason berth in the following season for the first time in franchise history.[22]

Team name

The team almost immediately made contact with previous Rough Riders owner Horn Chen regarding the Rough Riders name and the team "[knew] his price."[23] The Rough Riders name still retains popular currency among football fans in Ottawa. The Rough Riders played for 120 years, during which time they won the Grey Cup nine times.[24] However, in July 2010, Jeff Hunt announced that while Chen had sold the Rough Riders intellectual properties—including their trademarks—to his group, the Rough Riders name would likely not be returning due to the objections of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.[25]

On December 6, 2012, the CFL opened voting for the name of the team, up until December 16, 2012, on It was speculated that the team would be called the Rush, but this was later debunked.[26] The Rush name was nonetheless included in a list of five potential names (Nationals, Voyageurs, Redblacks, and Raftsmen being the others) for the team in a focus group led by the team's owners in January 2013.[27]

Redblacks logo with wordmark in French.

On May 30, 2013, the website reported that the nickname REDBLACKS (and its French equivalent, Rouge et Noir) had been filed by the Ottawa franchise with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.[28] On June 8, 2013, the team officially confirmed it would be known as the Ottawa Redblacks. On the same day, the Redblacks also revealed their logo, an italicized version of the "R" that appeared on the Rough Riders' helmets from 1975 to 1991 (with artistic ink traps) surrounded by a red outline inside a black saw blade.[29]

2013 CFL Draft

One year before the Ottawa franchise hits the field for the 2014 CFL season they were allowed to draft four NCAA junior redshirts (players who would participate in the 2013 NCAA football season). The draft took place May 6, 2013. Ottawa had the last pick in the first 4 rounds of the draft (9, 18, 27, 36 overall selections). They selected Nolan MacMillan from Iowa, Connor Williams from Utah State, Kalonji Kashama from Eastern Michigan and Tyler Digby from Robert Morris.[30]

Expansion Draft

The 2013 CFL Expansion Draft was a three-round CFL draft held on December 16, 2013 which assign players from existing CFL teams to the new Ottawa team. The structure of the draft was announced on January 19, 2011, which described one round for selecting import players and two rounds for selecting non-import players.[31] Additionally, if the Ottawa franchise begins play in 2014 they will be given the first pick in every round of the 2014 CFL Draft.

Ottawa selected three players from each of the eight existing teams for a total of 24 players. Ottawa was allowed to select eight import players and 16 non-import players with quarterbacks, kickers and punters eligible within their respective import/non-import categories. Ottawa was permitted to select a maximum of two quarterbacks and one kicker/punter, but not select any two of these three players from the same team. The CFL Commissioner is authorized to resolve any dispute related to player eligibility for the Expansion Draft process.

The selections were announced live at on December 16, 2013.[32]

Retired numbers

On July 18, 2014, at halftime of the first home game in franchise history, the Redblacks announced that they would be retiring all ten jersey numbers that were previously retired by the Ottawa Rough Riders.[33] The Redblacks have the most retired jersey numbers in the Canadian Football League.

Ottawa Redblacks retired numbers[33]
No. Player Position Tenure Championships
11 Ron Stewart RB 1958–1970 1960, 1968, 1969
12 Russ Jackson QB 1958–1969 1960, 1968, 1969
26 Whit Tucker WR 1962–1970 1968, 1969
40 Bruno Bitkowski C/DE 1951–1962 1951, 1960
60 Jim Coode OT 1974–1980 1976
62 Moe Racine OT/K 1958–1974 1960, 1968, 1969, 1973
70 Bobby Simpson FW/E/DB 1950–1962 1951, 1960
71 Gerry Organ K/P/WR 1971–1983 1973, 1976
72 Tony Golab FW/HB 1939–1941, 1945–1950 1940
77 Tony Gabriel TE 1975–1981 1976




The Redblacks mascot is a lumberjack whose original name, "Big Joe Mufferaw", was revealed by the team on March 28, 2014. The name, which came from online suggestions, was an acknowledgement to the Big Joe Mufferaw folk legend popularized in several works of fiction (most notably by Ottawa native Bernie Bedore) and in songs by Stompin' Tom Connors.[34] After the Redblacks received some criticism for the "Mufferaw" name, the team announced on March 31 that the mascot would go by the name "Big Joe" (or "Grand Jos" in French).[35]


The Ottawa Redblacks Cheer and Dance team is the cheerleading and dance team representing the Redblacks. The team made its debut at the Redblacks' first home game at TD Place Stadium on July 17, 2014.[36]

The team is composed of men and women between the ages of 18 and 35. The Cheer and Dance program has two spirit teams of 25 cheerleaders and 25 dancers.[37] The Cheerleading team is a coed team of athletes from various all-star, varsity, performance and competitive cheerleading backgrounds. During games, the cheerleading team executes stunt routines and acrobatics on the field and on the sidelines. The Dance team is an all-female team of athletes from a variety dance of disciplines. The team also performs on field during game stoppages and participates in pregame activities. The Program Directors are Lisa Aucoin and Kenny Feeley,[38] and the Dance Team's Head Coach is Melany Morrison.[38]

On game days, members of the Cheer and Dance teams participate in “game day cheering/dancing, half time performances, pre game shows, game day promotions”.[39] Members of the Cheerleading and Dance team are involved in various community events, charity functions and corporate appearances in the Ottawa region.[39]

The Ottawa Redblacks Cheer and Dance team offers a Junior Cheerleading program for cheerleaders and dancers between the ages of 6-16.[40] The 4-week cheerleading program includes instruction and coaching by members of the Cheerleading and Dance team.[40]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ a b c
  8. ^ a b c CFL will return to Ottawa
  9. ^ a b;-city-eyes-CFL-return/1 Lansdowne passes by 15-9 margin; city eyes CFL return
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b . Ottawa Sun. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Ottawa's New CFL Franchise. Ottawa 67's franchise information sheet. March 25, 2008.
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ Baines, Tim (January 23, 2013). "So to sum it up ... Ottawa CFL group considering Nationals, Raftsmen, Redblacks, Rush and Voyageurs." Ottawa Sun. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ a b
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ a b
  39. ^ a b
  40. ^ a b

External links

  • Official website
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