The Big Zee wants a Grey Cup ring — from 1982
[b]Zenon Andrusyshyn. The Big Zee.
The 16-year pro played just two regular season games for the Eskimos in September 1982, replacing 23-year-old punter Hank Ilesic, who walked out during a dispute with the team over who would be paying the property taxes on his $400,000 Bearspaw home.
The Eskimos won the Grey Cup that November, with Andrusyshyn watching from the sidelines in Toronto. Almost 34 years later, and after the urging of some former Eskimos, he would like a Grey Cup ring to show for his September efforts, or at least to know why he doesn’t already have one.
After Ilesic walked out before a Sept. 19, 1982 game in Hamilton, Andrusyshyn came on in relief. He had been cut by his first CFL team, the Argonauts, earlier that fall. In Edmonton, he lived with then-Oilers player Laurie Boschman, met Wayne Gretzky a couple of times and enjoyed himself here.
He stepped aside in early October when the prodigal Ilesic returned after his 21-day holdout. The Eskimos went on to meet and beat Andrusyshyn’s old team, the Argos, in the 70th Grey Cup game at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.
Andrusyshyn said he spent most of the championship game on the Eskimos sideline, had his picture taken with the Cup in their locker-room, went to the team victory party and received about $15,000 in playoff money.
In fact, he asked a Jostens Canada Ltd. representative in Edmonton to reach out to the Eskimos in hopes that the team would authorize the ring manufacturer to make one, for which Andrusyshyn would happily pay. The Jostens rep made the call, but the team declined the request on Thursday. On Friday, GM Ed Hervey addressed the issue in an e-mail.
“The management in place (in 1982) decided not to award Mr. Andrusyshyn a Grey Cup ring. Therefore, we have chosen to respect the judgment of team management at that time by upholding the decision not to award a Grey Cup ring over 30 years later,? Hervey said.
Andrusyshyn was released in early October 1982, late enough that he was owed all playoff and Grey Cup compensation due any veteran player still on the roster for those games. But there was no mention of Grey Cup rings in the collective bargaining agreement between the CFL and its players association. Teams were allowed to set their own rules regarding jewelry.[/b][url=http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/football/cfl/edmonton-eskimos/the-big-zee-wants-a-grey-cup-ring-from-1982]http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/footb ... -from-1982[/url]