Argos legend remembers his football roots in Guelph

The legend of Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons got it’s beginnings in the Royal City.

The long time running back and current general manager of the Toronto Argonauts first stepped onto the field as a CFL football player with the Argos at Alumni Stadium in Guelph in June 1989. It was also where the nickname ‘Pinball’ got its origins.

“Somebody was asked about the ‘little guy’ at camp,” said Mike Hogan, the team’s manager of communications. “(Former Argos head coach) Bob O’Billovich said, ‘Yeah, he kind of bounces off guys like a pinball’. And that’s how he got the nickname on this field.”

Clemons was at the team’s training facility inside the University of Guelph on Tuesday checking out the action. He told Global News’ Bruce Barker that he is so happy to be in Guelph.

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“They do such a great job here in supporting the community with various sports,” said Clemons. “Soccer, lacrosse, they do a little bit of everything.”

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The Argos are once again holding training camp at the University of Guelph for the upcoming CFL season. This will be the 4th straight year that the team is holding training camp in Guelph, which is 90 minutes northwest of BMO Field in downtown Toronto where the Argos play their home games.

“I think we get the greatest benefit,” Clemons said. “It’s just a wonderful thing to be able to get out of the city and all the craziness. The people here are so kind.”

Clemons and the Argos have always enjoyed coming to Guelph to prepare for the upcoming CFL season. They like it so much that they recently signed a multi-year deal to continue holding training camps at the University of Guelph.

“It’s a great facility, they’ve done such a great job here, and great supporters as well,” said Clemons. “Back in the day, Guelph was often the host of Argos training camp,” Hogan said. “We were fortunate to win a Grey Cup (in 2022) when training camp was here.”

The Argonauts wrap up training camp with a pre-season game at Alumni Stadium against their main rivals the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on May 31. Toronto opens the regular season at home to the BC Lions on June 9.


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