Michael 'Pinball' Clemons runs onto the field before a game at BMO Field (Photo: David Chidley/

By Chris O’Leary

As Canada turns 150, the CFL will celebrate some of its greatest Canadians. Between June 29 and July 7, teams across the league will honour select former players with commemorative t-shirts that recognize their contribution to both this league and to this country.

Some of the players selected by their teams are Canadians by birth. Others are Americans that came here and built a career and life. The t-shirts will be worn on the field by players in warm-ups and by inactive players on the sidelines during games.

Where possible, the players themselves spoke with about these shirts. For those players no longer with us, team experts, or people within the organization that were close to them spoke with us about their extraordinary contributions.

Each story is a sampling of many different Canadian experiences intertwined with playing football.