Ottawa - April 4

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 1:55 PM

With the CFL Draft just over a month away, we’re starting to get back into Canadian football in Montreal as the Alouettes look to start a new chapter following Anthony Calvillo’s retirement last season. Nowhere is “CFL fever” more pronounced than in the national capital region, where football fans will be welcoming a new franchise to Lansdowne Park for the third time in league history this summer. We stopped by the construction site of what will eventually be the new, refurbished stadium grounds to check in on how close they were to being ready for their June 14 home opener. We couldn’t get very close to the action, but based on what we saw during our April 4 visit compared to the artist’s mock-up we found on their Web site in the afternoon, we’re assuming the paint may not be completely dry on the new digs when the doors open for business for Game 1 this summer.

The expansion Ottawa RedBlacks will have the first-overall pick at the 2014 CFL Draft on May 13, and will also get first dibs in each ensuing round, except the third. While training camps are still weeks away, the newly-minted franchise has already experienced its first taste of controversy following the naming of their buff, lumberjack mascot. “Big Joe Mufferaw” lost his last name just three days after it was announced. Based on the French-Canadian folk hero immortalized in the eponymous song by Stompin’ Tom Connors detailing the legendary feats of strength Joe was capable of, Big Joe Mufferaw is actually an anglicized version of actual Montreal-born logger Joseph "Jos" Montferrand whose own exploits – which included protecting his Francophone brethren with his fists and boots alike – were legendary in their own right. After creating a stir with the announcement on March 28, the RedBlacks promptly changed his name to “Big Joe” in English and “Grand Jos” in French the following Monday morning. Much like Madonna and Cher, Grand Jos’ legendary status is beyond needing a family name anyway…

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