Two more names will forever be etched in Saskatchewan Roughrider history as they take their place among the team’s all-time greats.
The green and white announced former president and CEO Jim Hopson and offensive lineman John Terry will be the 2018 inductees into the team’s Plaza of Honour on Tuesday.
“Good organizations, good teams celebrate their history, celebrate their successes so I think that’s a very key part of building the tradition, building the atmosphere around it,” Hopson said.
Hopson, who was born in Regina, spent four season’s on the Rider’s offensive line in the 1970s, but will be recognized for his work behind the scenes.
Going in under the “builder category”, Hopson is being recognized for his contributions as the first president and CEO in the team’s history from 2005 to 2015.
Under his guidance, the team would go on to win many awards in the business community as well as on the field — the team appeared in four Grey Cups and won two of them.
Hopson said one of the things he’s most proud of during his time as the CEO is the change in expectations the team set for itself.
“I felt for a long time that the team was much loved and very well supported but we kind of had low expectations about what we could do,” Hopson said. “We went so many years without a home playoff game and during that 10-year run we saw a tremendous change in expectations.”
Hopson said he never anticipated things to take off the way they did with the amount of merchandise the team sold during the years.
Also joining the plaza this year is Terry, who played six seasons as the Rider’s left tackle from 1996-2001, and was a two time CFL All-Star and three time Western All-Star.
“I was very pleased and elated about the whole situation because that was maybe the best time of my playing career that I had there in Saskatchewan.”
While the teams Terry played on didn’t have much playoff success, he was a part of the 1997 team which made it’s way to the Grey Cup game despite an 8-10 regular season record.
“We decided to go into Calgary, we decided to go into Edmonton and take it from them.”
Terry retired from playing in 2002.
Changes could be coming for player selections
With the game always changing, Chairman of the Plaza of Honour nominating committee John Lipp indicated there might need to be changes to their nomination process.
With free agency becoming more and more active and with players bouncing around to different teams in their careers, fewer players ever reach the five years needed with the team.
“It’s a challenge that we’re going to have to try and address.”
Lipp added there are plans for a meeting later this year to discuss possible changes to the selection process.
“Right now, five years is what we’d like to have them play with us and it’s getting more difficult — especially for the stars.”
He said players like Kory Sheets, who only played two seasons with the team, are not eligible under the current format.
The 2018 Plaza of Honour dinner will be held earlier than before, taking place on Aug. 17 at Mosaic Stadium.