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August 26, 2008

Celebrating Our Legacy: The CFL goes “Retro”

Vaughan, ON – (August 26, 2008) – The league that brought you the Mud Bowl, the Fog Bowl and the Labour Day Classic is proud to present something new: CFL Retro Week.

The Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers will launch a five-year long celebration of the CFL’s tremendous legacy when they sport throwback 1950’s-style uniforms for their game at Rogers Centre on Friday, September 12 (7:00 p.m. ET on TSN).

They’ll renew their tribute to the fabulous football of the fifties when they meet again on Friday, October 10 in Winnipeg (6:30 p.m. CT on TSN).

Other teams and eras will be showcased in future years as the CFL rolls out its retro initiative from now until the 100th Grey Cup game in 2012.

“This is our league, and it has a bright future, one built on the legacy that has been entrusted to us by the game’s builders, players and fans over the years,” said CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon.

“When today’s stars sport yesterday’s look, they’re really glancing back at history on behalf of us all, just long enough to say: ‘Thank you.’”

Tickets to the Argo-Bombers retro games are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.ca/Retro or by calling 416-341-ARGO (2746) or 204-784-7448.

With the first retro game less than three weeks away, the Argos are offering a select number of tickets for a special commemorative price of $19.50 – the year of the Mud Bowl. To get your Mud Bowl Special call 416-341-ARGO. These tickets are a regular price of $67.

The teams’ throwback jerseys go on sale this week. They were carefully designed by Reebok Canada, the authentic outfitter of the CFL, who studied photos and other memorabilia before working to combine the football fashions of the past with the performance features of today in a full uniform: jerseys, pants and helmets.

“Reebok is as proud of its association with the CFL as the league is proud of its legacy, so this is a special project for us, and we look forward to its expansion over the next five years,” said Craig Ryan, Reebok’s Vice-President/General Manager Sport Licensed Division Canada.

A full line of Argo and Bomber retro sideline gear has also been designed by Roger Edwards, a leader in sport and lifestyle fashion. It includes long and short sleeve t-shirts and hats. There’s also a line of clothing featuring the CFL’s new Retro Week logo, a hybrid of the stylized helmet logo so prevalent in the 1970’s and the giant maple leaf that was its’ predecessor.

The games are sure to include a few surprises from the teams involved and even the TSN broadcast crew on hand. Maybe a few fans will sport fedoras. The Argos are planning a special outdoor pre-game retro party on Bremner Street before their home game.

“It’s a thrill for us old-timers to see the great players of today acknowledge those of us who paved the way,” said Toronto Argonaut alumnus Nick Volpe, proud owner of the game ball from the famous 1950 Mud Bowl between Toronto and Winnipeg.

“I played both ways in that game, and you couldn’t tell the two teams’ jerseys apart by the end of that mud bath. The retro jerseys they’ve made up for these games — they just might be too nice to get dirty.”

Former Bomber great Khari Jones modeled the Winnipeg throwback jersey at today’s media conference.

“Those of us who have played in the modern era owe a tremendous debt to those who came before us,” said the 2001 CFL Outstanding Player.

“There would have been no Khari Jones if there hadn’t been (legendary Bomber QB) Kenny Ploen. Our league is here because of our history, and I applaud the CFL for celebrating it.”

The launch of the Retro initiative comes on the same day the CFL built for the future by announcing a new five-year deal with Reebok Canada.

The agreement makes Reebok the exclusive supplier of uniforms and on-field apparel for the league, expands the presence of CFL Reebok merchandise in retail stores, and increases royalty revenue for the league.

“This is an important year for the Canadian Football League, and as our fans have rallied to our league, they’ve told me they want us to celebrate our legacy, and build for the future at the same time,” Cohon said. “That’s exactly what we’re doing today.”