Rocky DiPietro has posted a Canada 150 feature where each team has selected its greatest Canadian. Hamilton's pick is Rocky DiPietro!

For the young'ns out there, imagine an Andy Fantuz type, only he played for 14 years with the same team and rarely missed time due to injuries. When he retired in 1992 he had more receptions than anyone in league history.

Rocky played in four Grey Cups with the Cats in the 1980s, winning in 1986. He caught passes from guys like Dave Marler, Tom Clements, Dieter Brock, Ken Hobart, Mike Kerrigan and Damon Allen. He lined up with fellow receivers like Earl Winfield, Tony Champion, Keith Baker and Steve Stapler. He was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian twice, in 1982 and 1989. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1997. And he once signed my #23 jersey!

Now we just need to find out how to get one of the T-shirts the article mentions!

Other teams' picks can be seen here. (For a few of the teams, their "greatest Canadians" were born in the U.S. - but that's another story I guess.)

One of the very best clutch receivers to wear black and gold.

Rocky was amazing, no question. Clutch 2nd down receiver, rarely brought down by first contact. He held the record for number of receptions briefly, IIRC.

Great choice! :thup:

That's right. They even interrupted the game to do a little ceremony after the record-breaking catch, which was kind of weird. I remember they did something similar in the 2006 Labour Day game when Damon Allen passed Warren Moon's pro football passing yards total, but the Damon Allen thing seemed to go on forever. I can't remember how they handled the game-day recognition when Calvillo passed Allen a few years ago.

Rocky was great. :rockin: He was such a staple through the 80s that it felt weird when he wasn't on the team anymore. Those were the days you could buy a player's jersey and it stayed relevant for a decade and beyond.

Rocky running out of the tunnel during player introductions at the 1989 Grey Cup .

Rocky's HOF bust and list of accomplishments over a stellar 14 yr career with the Cats .

1986 Grey Cup Champions :smiley: :rockin:

Seeing Tony Champion wearing #1 in that photo reminds me how sad it is that Earl Winfield missed Hamilton Grey Cup victories so narrowly at both ends of his career.

Luckily this fan forum didn't exist in 1978 during DiPietro's rookie season. It's hard to believe, but he dropped a lot of sure passes as a rookie. The "numbnuts"on this forum would have tried to run him out of town for sure!!!

They would have been riding him at the end of his career too, as the bulky "flac jacket" he needed to wear for rib protection in later years sometimes made catches trickier. Still one of my all-time favorite Cats.

Some great choices to be sure BUT.... no offence to Bill Hatanaka here BUT how in the Hell did he get chosen Ottawa's Greatest Canadian Player ? I mean come on seriously ? Who exactly voted on this selection anyways ? Just off the top of my head I can think of at the very least three far more worthy " Greatest Canadians " than a bare blip on the radar type of player as Hatanaka was in his CFL career . Maybe it's just me , but I guess none of the people who voted on this in Ottawa ever heard of the likes of a Russ Jackson ? Tony Gabriel ? Ronnie Stewart ? just to name a few...BUT Bill Hatanka gets the final vote ??? The greatest of all time in Ottawa :lol: totally laughable , gimme a break !!

Congratulations to Hatanaka :roll: ......I guess...........BUT Ottawa seriously really dropped the ball on this one :thdn: Just what were ya all thinking when it came to this ??? :?

Numbnuts are all over the place and not just on this forum. :smiley:

8) And to make matters worse....Hatanaka finished his career as a player with the TiCats !!! :lol:

Am I missing something??

What about Russ Jackson....Ron Stewart ....Whit Tucker....Tony Gabriel???

Watching the game last night, I didn't even recognize the name on the back of those T shirts.

For me, Russ Jackson has earned the distinction of being the greatest Canadian player ever in the CFL. I agree with Bobo's sentiments here!

Kudos to Rocky DiPietro for being selected as the Ticat pick. One of the great possession receivers ever, he is still undervalued by observers of the league in my view even with his ascension to the Hall.

Oski Wee Wee,


What you, and others, are missing, my home team, is the fact that ExPat's statement -- "each team has selected its greatest Canadian" isn't what happened. The following is:
"The CFL is tied to Canada as the only professional sports League that is uniquely Canadian. This year’s CFL brand campaign #BringItIn is a nod to the Canadian values that have come to define the CFL through its diversity, inclusiveness and equality."

[url=] ... lebration/[/url]

I’m thinking my original post was probably misleading, although in my defence, the CFL page I linked to did say this:

As Canada turns 150, the CFL will [b]celebrate some of its greatest Canadians[/b]. Between June 29 and July 7, teams across the league will honour select former players with commemorative t-shirts that recognize their contribution to both this league and to this country. Some of the [b]players selected by their teams [/b]are Canadians by birth. Others are Americans that came here and built a career and life.
I feel bad about this Hatanaka fellow taking some abuse. His story (mostly outside of his football career) is actually very interesting and worth a read: [url][/url]

I’m sure the league had a hand in making sure certain angles were covered. The thing is, they ended up with a mix of some guys with great life stories, and others who just happened to be great football players. And, as I said, three Americans, which I found to be a very high proportion given the title of the piece. It would have been interesting to hear more stories about overcoming great adversity or breaking down barriers, even if they are players we never heard of.

Yes, and they mentioned that on TSN Thursday night at the Ottawa game
" a notable Canadian player (selected by individual teams) "
Hatanaka was a Canadian that never got any recognition, always overshadowed by Jackson and Gabriel but he did return a punt for a TD in the 76 Grey Cup and Ottawa decided to recognize him.

ExPat, thanks for posting. You're right- Hatanaka's story is definitely worth the read. He has some great insights and obviously drew some important life lessons from his football career. He's very articulate, and seems like a fine person. I'm glad to have read the piece.