March 10, 2009

NEW MEMBERS, NEW CHAIR, NEW DIRECTION FOR CANADIAN FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME

Hamilton, ON – (March 10, 2009) – The Canadian Football Hall of Fame has a new chair, some new board members and a new idea.

The new chair is McMaster University professor Steve Howse.

Along with Howse, the new members are Murray Souter, former chief executive of Black’s camera, and former Hamilton Tiger-Cat quarterback Dave Marler, a local investment counsellor.

And the new idea is moving this year’s Hall of Fame weekend — set for this Sept. 24-26 — to the city of Winnipeg.

All of these changes became official at a meeting of the Hall’s Board of Directors last evening.

“Like the Grey Cup trophy itself, the Hall resides here in Hamilton, but it truly belongs to all Canadians,” Howse said.

“So it makes sense to share our annual induction weekend, and the festivities that go with it, with some other Canadian Football League cities. This will help raise the Hall’s national profile, and generate some new revenue, both of which will help us reach our eventual goal: a new or at least improved Canadian Football Hall of Fame, right here in Hamilton.”

The first order of business last night, however, was a tribute issued to three outgoing members of the Hall of Fame board: former chair Bill Tidball, Mario Vespa and Gabe Macaluso.

“In total, these three gentlemen have dedicated more than 40 years of service to the Hall, out of their love for Canadian football, and their dedication to the city of Hamilton,” Howse said. “Our city, and all Canadians who love the game of football, along with the men honoured here as inductees, owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

All three men were appointees of the Canadian Football League. Other board members are appointed by the City of Hamilton.

“As we approach the playing of the one hundredth Grey Cup game in 2012, the history and tradition of our great game, and its greatest players, coaches and builders, has never been more important,” said CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon.

“The time and effort contributed by these men, and all members of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame’s board, should be appreciated by everyone associated with our league, from our players to our fans to team executives.”

The Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum is a non-profit registered charity that has been located in Hamilton since 1962. The current hall of fame was established beside the city’s municipal building in 1968. The current facility was opened in 1972.

“The fact that the area surrounding Hamilton City Hall is now under renovation, making the movement of vehicles and parking difficult, was another factor in the decision to take the induction weekend on the road this year,” said Mark DeNobile, the Hall’s executive director.

“Organizers in Winnipeg, along with the Blue Bombers football club, are very excited by this news and are looking forward to a tremendous event.”

The induction class of 2009, as well as details on the Canadian Football Hall of Fame Induction Weekend and Game in Winnipeg, will be announced soon.