Canadian Football Hall of Fame class of 2021 has a heavy dose of Hamilton

Published April 13, 2021 at 10:15 am

Former Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive back and current head coach Orlondo Steinauer, as well as former Ticats defensive tackle Mike Walker, are headed to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

They will be joined by legendary Hamilton broadcaster Bob Hooper.

Overall, five players and two builders from the Canadian Football League (CFL) were included in the class of 2021 unveiled Tuesday (Apr. 13) by the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum.

Joining Steinauer and Walker under the Player category are defensive linemen Will Johnson, wide receiver Nik Lewis and defensive back Don Wilson. In the Builder category, former Montreal Alouettes head coach Marv Levy, and the sixth CFL Commissioner Doug Mitchell are to be inducted.

The formal induction of the Class of 2021 – now scheduled for Grey Cup Week this November in Hamilton – will bring the total number of Hall of Fame members to 316.

The 2020 Class was announced last year but its induction was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. That ceremony is now scheduled for Aug. 6 in Hamilton with a halftime ceremony during the Hall of Fame Game, scheduled for Aug. 7 between the Tiger-Cats and Calgary Stampeders at Tim Hortons Field.

“It’s a special year for the Tiger-Cats with remarkable individuals with current and past ties to Hamilton being inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame,” said Bob Young, Caretaker of the Tiger-Cats. “Congratulations to the entire 2021 Hall of Fame class, and specifically our own Coach Orlondo and Mike Walker, on their outstanding contributions to Canadian Football. We are all looking forward to celebrating with them at Tim Hortons Field in 2021.”

Steinauer, 47, captured two Grey Cup rings in 13 CFL seasons as a dominant defensive back with the Ottawa Rough Riders (1996), Tiger-Cats (1997-2000) and Toronto Argonauts (2001-08). He was named an all-star at three different positions (cornerback, halfback and safety), earning seven divisional all-star nods and five CFL all-star honours in total.

The Seattle, Washington native’s career featured 49 interceptions (18th all-time), including five returned for touchdowns (tied for 10th all-time), as well as 11 fumble recoveries, five forced fumbles and two quarterback sacks. Steinauer’s 1,178 interception return yards are the second-most in CFL history behind Less Browne (1,508) and he is one of only two players (Terry Irvin) that posted three individual games with three interceptions or more.

Walker, 62, anchored some of the best defenses in CFL history. His 10-year career in the CFL included 135 games for Hamilton (1982-89) and Edmonton (1990-91), capturing a Grey Cup championship with the Tiger-Cats in 1986, the same year he had a career-high 21 sacks.

The Indianapolis, Indiana native finished his career with a total of 95.5 sacks (14th all-time), 149 tackles, nine fumble recoveries and two interceptions. He was named a divisional all-star on four occasions and a CFL all-star three times.

The Football Reporters of Canada also announced that Bob Hooper and Bernie Pascall are part of the Class of 2021 and will be honoured in the media wing of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

The late Hooper was an institution at CHML radio in Hamilton, where he began working as a broadcaster in 1961 before advancing to program director and vice-president. In 1984 he became the station’s play-by-play voice for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

After a five-year break, Hooper resumed play-by-play duties from 1997 to 2001, while also producing the station’s Ticats-oriented call-in show. From 2002-2004, Hooper was the Tiger-Cats’ director of media relations and later served as a member of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

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