Plans for Redblacks’ 10th anniversary include return of Henry Burris

‘When you look at the 10 years in totality, you’ve got a lot to celebrate, a lot to be proud of and a lot to be thankful for’

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It won’t be just one day, one week or one month; the Ottawa Redblacks plan to have a season-long party to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

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The anniversary bash will include the return of heroic quarterback Henry Burris and several of the Redblacks’ stars from the past 10 years, there’ll be a big Canada Day concert, plus there’ll be the introduction of a new beer created for the Redblacks.

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There was plenty of good crammed into the team’s first five years and too much bad the past four, but there’s a positive vibe in both the reflection of the team’s history and pushing forward into what it the Redblacks hope is a bright future.

“It’s a milestone that deserves celebration,” said Redblacks president Adrian Sciarra Wednesday. “It’s amazing how time flies, 10 years has snuck up on a lot of us. We’ve got lots to celebrate in the first 10 years, but it’s also a launching pad to the next 10 years. It’s a look back and also a jump forward. When we look back and celebrate the players and the great moments that have come over the last 10 years, we also look forward to creating new memories, new moments, seeing new players develop into stars.

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“We know and accept the struggles we’ve had on the field the past few years, that’s a part of our last 10 years. But when you look at the 10 years in totality, you’ve got a lot to celebrate, a lot to be proud of and a lot to be thankful for.”

One of the early highlights of the anniversary will be the season-opener (June 13 vs. Winnipeg) return of Burris, the Hall-of-Fame quarterback who led the Redblacks to the Grey Cup in 2016 and was such a huge part of those early years.

Said Sciarra: “One of the first calls I made as we were starting to build out these plans was to Hank, to make sure he was in the know on what we’re doing and was available to participate. We’ve got the All-Decade game on Aug. 24, but it felt like we needed Hank here to kick things off at the home-opener. We had to make sure it worked with his schedule. It’ll be great to have him up here for a few days. In in many ways, Hank is the star of the first decade, so we wanted him to be a big part of this.”

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The acknowledgment of the anniversary has already started. Earlier this week, the team unveiled a 10th anniversary crest along with merchandise sporting the new design. A new black home uniform will also be unveiled before the season starts. 

Asked about the uniform, Sciarra said: “It’s not a retro uniform because it’s definitely contemporary. The term we’re using is ‘retro inspired.’ ”

The anniversary season will also include a new beer option at TD Place: The Redblacks’ 10th anniversary Blitz Brewin partnership with Labatt Canada and its Goose Island Brewery. 

One of the season’s bigger moments will be a June 30 Canada Day celebration, with a special musical performance and fireworks display included with the game against Hamilton.

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“Over the past couple of years, we’ve started making the Canada Day game a tradition here,” said Sciarra. “Last year, we had a big win, it was a beautiful night, a big fireworks show after the game. How do you take that to the next level? A concert as part of the game is that next level. It will not be a house or cover band. It’ll be a concert.”

Then, there’s the All-Decade Game, Aug. 24 when the Redblacks host the BC Lions. Many Redblacks alumni, including key players from the 2016 Grey Cup team, will be on hand. 

“It’s a game fans should circle on their calendar,” said Sciarra. “It’s the game where we hope to bring back many players from the first 10 years. It’ll be a real celebration of the decade.”

With the anniversary celebration as a big part of it, there’s excitement for the team on and off the field.

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“From the business side of things, it breathes energy into our team,” said Sciarra. “The brainstorming and planning around it has been really fun and exciting for our staff. Those folks don’t work on the football product, they work on the the fan experience and game presentation.

“We  look at the football team and we’re excited about the changes and some of the things (general manager) Shawn Burke and his staff have done this year and we think that’s going to lead to a good year on the field.”

VOTING FOR TOP PLAYERS: Fans are being asked to vote for the top 10 all-time greatest Redblacks. The online voting process has begun and will run for 30 days. Go to to vote. A new Top 10 player will be unveiled at each Redblacks home game this season. Fans arriving at the games will receive a special poster for the player being highlighted on that day.

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SIGNINGS: Among the Redblacks signings that were announced Monday on’s transactions page: LB Davion Taylor (Colorado), a 2020 third-round draft pick of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. Also, Ottawa has added WR Dillon Stoner (Oklahoma State) and DL Carson Taylor (Northern Arizona). Announced as signed by the Redblacks last week: DL Jermaine McDaniel (North Carolina A&T) and Malcolm Lee (Kansas), DBs Dillon Thomas (Missouri State), Yusuf Corker (Kentucky) and Bennett Williams (Oregon), WRs Eli Stove (Auburn) and Sam James Jr. (West Virginia), global OL Hector Zepeda (Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey) and QB Matthew McKay (Elon).

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