Cauz: Who would be your team’s celebrity owner?
Monday was the 25th anniversary of the death of John Candy and as a 43-year-old who grew up on ‘Second City’, that date stands out for me. I’ll always remember where I was when I heard the news on the radio of his passing as the DJ played his famous monologue from ‘Planes, Trains & Automobiles’.
Vancouver born mega star Ryan Reynolds released a fantastic tribute video on social media and suddenly thousands upon thousands of fans were reminiscing about his work debating what our favourite John Candy role was (Del Griffith and Johnny Larue for me). At around the same time, the Toronto Argonauts Twitter account (@TorontoArgos) went full fun/nostalgic by putting up old videos of ticket commercials for Argo season tickets hosted by then co-owner John Candy. I would recommend everyone to check them out, not only for the fact that they’re still funny but as a reminder of that glorious brief period of time that one of biggest stars in Hollywood took time away from acting to focus on football.
— Toronto Argonauts (@TorontoArgos) March 4, 2019
I’ve written about it before: the star power of Candy, along with Wayne Gretzky, was so big that it managed to create a level of buzz for the CFL in Toronto the likes of which we have not seen since. The Argonauts have won two Grey Cups with Doug Flutie, they’ve been victorious with Damon Allen and Ricky Ray, they beat the scariest regular season team I’ve ever seen in the 2017 Calgary Stampeders but nothing has ever come close to level of energy felt when John Candy was roaming the sidelines.
If you don’t believe me, check out this TSN documentary, ‘True Double Blue’ from 2011 on what Candy meant to the CFL and the Toronto Argonauts. My five favourite moments:
1. Carl Brazley recounting the time Candy rushed on the field after Brazley injured his knee during a game against Edmonton.
2. Johnny Carson asking Candy about the CFL on ‘The Tonight Show’ as someone in the crowd bellows “Argos!!!!”
3. John tirelessly doing morning radio shows before 5 a.m. promoting upcoming games. How many A-List actors at the peak of their powers would throw themselves into such work?
4. Visiting Rocket Ismail in the hospital after Rocket suffered a concussion.
5. The visual of Candy standing on the sidelines at the 1991 Grey Cup in a leather jacket in minus billion degrees temperature.
So again, for context imagine if your favourite CFL team today suddenly had a new co-owner who was a current Hollywood star, a comedic legend coming off a damn impressive run of movies (‘Spaceballs’, ‘Planes, Trains & Automobiles’ ‘Uncle Buck’ and some fantastic smaller roles in ‘Home Alone’ and ‘JFK’) and was now running on the field to make sure a key defensive back was all right.
How crazy would that be if you woke up in Calgary and Steve Carell or Mike Myers was not only an owner but was also on the sidelines cheering on Bo Levi Mitchell and helping to sell tickets before and after games? That’s what it was like for a 16-year-old burgeoning CFL fan in 1991. It was a blast.
But what if we could somehow recreate that kind of excitement for 2019? What if each team could have their own celebrity co-owner? Who would you want as one of your team’s ownership team? Here are some ideas I had for each organization.
Ryan Reynolds = BC Lions
Ryan was born in Vancouver, would add even more star power to a team that just signed Mike Reilly and his sense of humour would work perfectly with the kind of Twitter wars between players and teams that thrive in our league.
The Rock = Calgary Stampeders
Can you smell what the Stampeders are cooking? As we all know, Dwayne Johnson tried out for the team in the summer of 1995 as a young defensive lineman but was soon cut. Considering Calgary has lost Micah Johnson and Ja’Gared Davis, maybe Dwayne could be the first player/owner? I would question if that is against the rules but I think we would all make an exception to see The Rock attempting to hit Trevor Harris.
Michael J. Fox = Edmonton Eskimos
Martin Short = Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The greatest talk show guest ever, the Hamilton-born Martin is one of those actors who was born to entertain. He would be a massive hit inside and outside of Tim Hortons Field. Check out this video of Short with Tom Hanks at the 101st Grey Cup.
Jay Baruchel = Montreal Alouettes
Jay was born in Ottawa but was raised in Montreal and is the city we most associate him with. Yes he is currently a Montreal Canadiens super fan but beyond Carey Price, what does the long-term future look like for the Canadiens? Why not let Jay summer with the Alouettes and then winter with the Canadiens?
Alanis Morissette = Ottawa REDBLACKS
Alanis was born and attended high school in Ottawa. Not only would her addition make people forget the free agency losses on offence but the team would consistently have the best national anthem going.
Brent Butt = Saskatchewan Roughriders
This one is a no-brainer as Butt has admitted that when he was growing up he wanted to be George Reed. If you Google “CFL” + “Corner Gas” you will easily find the episode where Gene Makowsky and Matt Dominguez make a cameo appearance.
Jim Carrey = Toronto Argonauts
Drake is busy with the Raptors and I’m avoiding a safer choice like Mike Myers. Carrey would bring more attention plus you would have no idea what he would do at BMO. Also isn’t it time for Carrey to come back in our lives again?
Clara Hughes = Winnipeg Blue Bombers
You find me a Winnipeg born athlete with better credentials than the six-time Olympic medalist! Not only is she a fantastic person in real life but Clara has done so much important work for mental health with Bell Let’s Talk and so many other important charity endeavours. Did I mention she is also an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Order of Manitoba? Out of everyone I have nominated Clara may be the most overqualified.
So to all CFL fans, who would you want?