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Blue Bombers launch Heroes of Champions Way to celebrate 90th anniversary season

Israel Idonije watches on during his annual All-Star Football Camp at Investors Group Field in 2016.
Israel Idonije watches on during his annual All-Star Football Camp at Investors Group Field in 2016. Global News

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have finally found a way to have Israel Idonije join the Blue and Gold.

The former U of M Bison star and Chicago Bear Defensive Lineman and the Winnipeg Football Club are partnering on a campaign called Heroes of Champions Way that will celebrate the 90th anniversary season of the franchise, and encourage fans to recognize the efforts of their local heroes during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE: CFL postpones the start of training camps due to COVID-19 pandemic

Idonijie, who played for the Bisons from 2000-02 and spent 10 of his 12 seasons with the Bears from 2003-12 prior to retiring after the 2014 season, is the founder of Athlitacomics of Chicago. His company has transformed members of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers into comic book superheroes that will perform amazing deeds on the football field that help share the history of the franchise over the previous 89 years.

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“The timing couldn’t be more perfect,” says Idonijie, who was named Manitoba’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2002 after helping lead the Bisons to the Vanier Cup Final the year before. “Wow, what an incredible legacy that they’ve had, coming off a Grey Cup win.

“It’s just special, and I’m just thankful to be part of a team as we tell this time traveller story and share with the city of Winnipeg this coming season.”

But in addition to promoting the legacy of the Blue Bombers, the football team is also asking fans to salute those who have stepped up and performed above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Team President and CEO Wade Miller credits the Bombers content and creative team with brainstorming the idea and finding a way to seize the moment. “Obviously things changed, so we adapted and wanted to make this program into something that could benefit our community as we go through this thing together,” said Miller, who added that the response from Blue Bomber fans has been tremendous.

“In our community, we have so many of those people that make a difference. The feedback has been overwhelming.”

Miller says there is still plenty of time for fans to participate in #HeroesForTheW and share their stories about the heroes in their lives, or the people they know who are making a difference. “At the end, we’ll choose three and actually create their own superhero character. It’s going to be phenomenal, everyone’s deserving of it.”

Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans celebrate Grey Cup win with family fun day
Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans celebrate Grey Cup win with family fun day