Upon further review, the call stands: former on-field official Jake Ireland is going into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
The 66-year-old Ireland, the current head of the CFL’s video replay centre, was one of six men named Thursday to the Hamilton-based Hall of Fame, class of 2013.
In terms of longevity, Ireland tops his fellow inductees: receivers Earl Winfield and Brian Fryer; offensive linemen Dan Ferrone and Miles Gorrell; even legendary Canadian university coach Don Loney, hailed as the “father of Maritime football.”
For 29 seasons starting in 1979, Ireland officiated 555 games and was a referee in 16 Grey Cups, including four in a row. There is no telling how many times he flagged Ferrone and Gorrell for holding.
Ferrone spent 12 seasons in the CFL playing for the Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders. He won two Grey Cups with Toronto and was twice named the East Division’s top offensive lineman.
Gorrell appeared in 321 games, the fourth-highest total in league history, with five teams. He was also twice nominated for the CFL’s top offensive lineman award.
Statistically, the star of Thursday’s inductees was Winfield, the import playmaker who spent his entire career, 11 years, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats terrorizing defenders. Two of his career numbers still stand as Hamilton franchise records – most receiving yards, 10,119, and most receiving touchdowns, 75. In 1988, he became the first CFL player to score a touchdown three different ways in a game, on a punt return, kickoff return and pass reception.
Fryer and Loney both played in the CFL but were largely honoured for their university accomplishments. Fryer set multiple receiving records at the University of Alberta before being drafted by the NFL’s Washington Redskins. He finished his playing career with the Edmonton Eskimos. Loney played for Toronto and the Ottawa Rough Riders and won a pair of Grey Cups. As the head coach at St. Francis Xavier, he posted a 133-31-2 record and won nine conference championships. He died in 2004 at 80.
The 2013 Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held in Edmonton during the CFL season.