Canada day special; an overview of the Ottawa Redblacks “All-Candadian team”

Through the past 6 seasons the Ottawa Redblacks have gone to three Grey Cups, making it to the playoffs 4 times and having just two down years. To be such a successful franchise in just 6 seasons of existence there has been a lot of different things that have had to go as planned. Some things have even gone better than expected, like the Canadian talent that the Redblacks have seen over the past 6 years.

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Unfortunatley the Redblacks are yet to see a Canadian quarterback suit up for the team but if they wish to sign or trade for one in the future he would end up on the “All-Canadian” team. Then to stay in the backfield, the Ottawa Redblacks have had some of the best Canadian running backs over the years. They may not be as good as Andrew Harris but these great rbs have been able to do everything and more of what has been expected of them. To start at running back on this All-Canadian team would be Brendan Gillanders. Gillanders has been with the team since the 2016 Grey Cup run and has been a crucial piece to the team ever since. He’s only had a total 465 yards on the offensive side of the ball but having him on the offense to pass block occasionally and getting him on Bob Dyce’s special teams has been a treat. Alongside Gillanders at running back would be Kienan Lafrance who was used more on offense than Gillanders is.

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Lafrance, being a part of the Redblacks offense gained a total 583 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, really making his mark in the 2016 East Final against the Edmonton Eskimos where he carried the ball 25 times for 157 yards and a touchdown coming in on a 6.3 yard average per carry. As seen from the two seasons he played in Ottawa, Lafrance is a special running back and now as a 29 year old has a career total 1,428 all-purpose yards and 7 touchdowns. After gaining just a total 9 yards on two attempts last season in Saskatchewan, the Redblacks if they would be willing to could bring back Lafrance and have the two Canadian backs again in Gillanders and Lafrance.

To pair with the great running backs that the Redblacks have been lucky to have over the years would be the receivers they’ve had. Now it might seem like its a one man show on offense with Brad Sinopoli but there has also been a lot of other good receivers coming into the mix other than the 5,000 yard man. Right after Sinopoli on he list would have to be Jake Harty. Harty was with the Redblacks for three seasons and whether it was on offense or special teams he was bound to make an impact on the games he played. As the 6-foot-2 receiver he is he was able to catch 36 passes for a total 307 yards and one touchdown with the Redblacks. After his go with the Redblacks’ Harty has found himself with some serious injuries leaving him on the injured list in Saskatchewan for the past two seasons meaning the last snap he played was actually with the Ottawa Redblacks at TD Place against Saskatchewan in the Eastern Semi Final in 2017.

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At the same caliber of Harty and making it onto the list of top Canadians the Redblacks have seen would be Scott Macdonell. Scotty Mac, very much like Jake Harty played a huge role on the Redblacks special teams and being able to play for the team from existence all the way through the 2017 season he was making an impact on the offense as well. Not quite the ratio breaker that Brad Sinopoli is on the offensive side of the ball but after getting over 250 yards and having a receiving touchdown as the player he was he broke some expectations. Of course the Ottawa Redblacks have had some other good Canadian receivers like Nate Behar or Julian Feoli-Gudino in recent years but given the years that both Jake Harty and Scott Macdonell spent in Ottawa you have to give them the respect they deserve.

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When talking about the Canadians that have played for the Ottawa Redblacks offense you have to mention the offensive linemen. The Redblacks full offensive line has been all Canadians for the past two seasons on multiple occasions and that shows just how good of offensive linemen these Canadians are. Starting with the Beard, Jon Gott. He’s bound to be one of the best linemen the Redblacks have seen and to be Canadian is a huge bonus. Playing in 145 games in his career he was able to lead the Redblacks line to three Grey Cup appearances and winning one in 2016. Another great Canadian centre who actually was groomed into the Ottawa Redblacks line by Jon Gott would be hometown hero, Ottawa native Alex Mateas. Mateas, being the first overall pick back in 2015 Mateas has been a big part to the Redblacks offense and playing in 88 games, missing just two in his career he will go down as one of the best linemen in the CFL as he was just nominated as one of the best linemen of the decade. Those are just two of a lot of linemen that have stepped foot on the field at TD Place, just to name a few more there would be J’Michael Deane, Jason Lauzon-Seguin and Matthew Albright who played in 53 games for Ottawa over the span of his career.

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Going onto the defensive side of the ball, the Ottawa Redblacks could have one of the best Canadian defenses the league has ever seen. Starting out with the defensive line with Cleyon Laing, Zack Evans, Justin Capicciotti, Keith Shologan, Connor Williams, Michael Klassen and Ettore Lattanzio the Canadian talent is unreal. Laing having 33 career sacks, Capicciotti leading the pack with 37 and then the in between guys like Shologan with 25 and Klassen with 14 the group of defensive linemen named there could be the best Canadian clan to ever suit up in the same colors.

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Now if those defensive linemen are that good, what about the linebackers? How do they compare? Well, let’s just say that this front seven is STACKED. Having a squad with Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, and experienced veteran in the CFL and then younger generation players like Chris Ackie and newcomer Christophe Mulamba-Tshimanga who all three have a combined 315 tackles, 16 sacks, 2 interceptions and 10 forced fumbles with a touchdown.

Heading into the defensive backfield, names that standout would be of course both Antoine Pruneau and JP Bolduc who have a combined 445 tackles, 10 interceptions, 4 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 1 touchdown in 154 total games. To go with these two will be Adam Auclair who was drafted this year, and then players like Dan West, and Adam Berger who are CFL veterans.

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Onto the special teams now, the Ottawa Redblacks have been lucky to have had kicker Lewis Ward come by with his longsnapper LP Bourassa who in 36 games have been able to make 94 out of the 102 kicks attempted, the longest being 56 yards, scoring a total 307 points and having a 92.2% field goal percentage, one of the best in CFL history and the best on the Redblacks All-Canadian squad.

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Happy Canada day to all CFL and Redblacks fans, I hope you enjoyed reading about your top Canadian players in Redblacks history and stay tuned for more Redblacks news and to see if these Canadians will play again at

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