With the football season just starting we’re expecting big things from our Bombers this year.
Despite a couple of mediocre seasons since the move to their new home at Investors Group Field there’s hope that this could be the year events on the field take a long awaited upturn in fortune.
And one man who could act as a catalyst for this change is a local boy.
Andrew Harris is an all-star running back who was signed with a bit of hoopla by the Bombers a couple of months ago.
In a league often dominated by American players, Harris is not just a Canadian, he’s a Winnipeg boy.
He started playing football in Steinbach when he was nine years old and shortly afterwards moved with his mother, social worker Carlene Boivan back to Winnipeg and took up residence in South River Heights.
His father spent little time in Winnipeg but was quite an athlete himself. A fast bowler from Barbados he went on to play league cricket in England.
Despite being a keen and talented hockey player it was amongst other things the cost of playing at a higher level that eventually led Andrew to drop the sport for football. Hockey’s loss is football’s gain.
He went on to play with the Grant Park Pirates, the school at the end of his street. Then later transferred to Oak Park in Charleswood to play for the Raiders who have consistently fielded one of the city’s top high school football squads.
That was in the day when high schools could “poach” good players for the school team. It is perhaps due to Harris’ outstanding athleticism that the Winnipeg High School Football League have since introduced rules to limit such exchanges.
It was at Oak Park that he began to excel in his current running back position.
After high school Harris moved west to play for the Vancouver Island Raiders of the Canadian Junior Football League based in Nanaimo.
It was whilst playing there he was scouted and had his rights acquired by the BC Lions where he has played for the past six years.
Growing up in Winnipeg he always dreamed of playing for the Bombers so it is perhaps a little ironic that he was instrumental in helping the Lions defeat the Bombers in their last Grey Cup appearance in 2011 when he was named as the game’s most valuable Canadian player.
He’s always kept that connection to his home town, helped in part by his daughter Hazel and mother who still live here. So in the off-season he would always return to his condo here in Winnipeg.
There’s big hopes for our Bombers this year and it’s good to know that it will be a local boy with the City in his heart who’ll be leading the rush.
Let’s go Blue, I’m already planning my Grey Cup party.