This is a new series that I’m starting on joeyalfieri.com today. Every week, I’ll be breaking down the best Montreal Alouettes by jersey number. Each number can only have one player attached to it, so there’ll be some tough decisions to make along the way. Only what they accomplished as members of the Alouettes was considered when determining this list.
If you agree or disagree with any of the selections, feel free to let me know in the comments section below!
We’re starting with 00 to 9:
00 – Harold Nash – DB – 1996 to 1998: Nash joined the Alouettes as a free agent in 1996 after spending some time with the Shreveport Pirates. He was an East Division All-Star with the Alouettes in 1997 when he had four interceptions (he returned two for touchdowns) in 15 games. After retiring from the CFL, Nash eventually became the strength and conditioning coach for the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions in the NFL.
0 – Stefan Logan – KR – 2015 to 2019: Logan didn’t really factor into the offence very much with the Als, but he found a way to be a solid returner for them for parts five seasons. The fact that he was returning kicks into his late 30s was pretty impressive. Could he return to the CFL in 2020?
1 – Richard Karikari – S – 2003 to 2006: Karikari was born in Ghana, but qualified as a Canadian during his time in the CFL. The Als drafted him in the second round, 14th overall, in the 2003 CFL Draft. In 2005, Karikari finished second in the league in interceptions with nine and was named a CFL All-Star.
2 – Davis Sanchez – CB – 1999 to 2000, 2004, 2006 to 2009: The Alouettes liked Sanchez so much they drafted him and then traded for him twice. The Als selected the Oregon product in the first round, sixth overall, in the 1999 CFL Draft. Very quickly, he’d become one of the premiere corners in the league. Sanchez was a CFL All-Star with the Als in 2000 and he won a Grey Cup with the team in 2009.
3 – Sylvain Girard – WR – 1999 to 2006: The Alouettes had back-to-back picks in the first round of the 1999 CFL Draft. With the fifth pick they took Girard and with the sixth pick they selected Sanchez. That’s not a bad haul. Girard played every one of his 103 career games with the Als. He finished with 122 receptions, 1975 yards and 10 touchdowns. Fun fact: His longest reception was 67 yards. On that play, the Als faked a punt against the Ottawa Renegades, and receiver Dave Stala threw a the ball to a wide-open Girard for a touchdown.
4 – Thomas Haskins – RB/SB – 1997 to 2002: Haskins wasn’t the biggest name on the roster during his time in Montreal, but he was a speedster that could do it all. He played some running back, receiver and he could return kicks at a high level, too. Haskins won the Grey Cup with the Als in 2002. He signed with Edmonton as a free agent the following winter, but never played for them because of a benign brain tumour.
5 – Eric Lapointe – RB – 2001 to 2006: Lapointe started his career with Hamilton and Toronto, but he joined the team in his home province in 2001. He went through different stretches as the feature running back on the team and he managed to have a good amount of success. His finest moment with the Als may have come in the 2005 East Division Final against Toronto, when he rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns. Lapointe was part of the Als team that won the Grey Cup in 2002.
6 – Avon Cobourne -RB – 2006 to 2010: Cobourne was the backup running back behind Jarret Payton when he first arrived in Montreal. There was some chatter about converting him to linebacker early in his career, but it’s a good thing they left him at running back. Cobourne was a CFL All-Star in 2009 and he was also named Grey Cup MVP that year. He was an East Division All-Star in 2008, too.
7 – John Bowman – DE – 2006 and still going: Bowman started his Als career wearing number 48, but he eventually made the change the number seven. He’s played in 230 games (all with Montreal) and he’s the franchise leader in quarterback sacks, with 134. He won back-to-back Grey Cups in 2009 and 2010. He’s a six-time East Division All-Star and two-time CFL All-Star.
8 – Tracy Ham – QB – 1996 to 1999: Ham was the starting quarterback for the Als when they moved from Baltimore to Montreal in 1996. He was the starting pivot and Grey Cup MVP for the Baltimore Stallions during the 1995 season. He had four solid seasons with the Als and he helped groom his backup quarterback, Anthony Calvillo.
9 – Anwar Stewart – DE – 2002 to 2011, 2013: Stewart wore three different numbers during his two stints with the Alouettes (58, 9 and 00), but he did most of his damage with the number nine. He was a CFL All-Star in 2004 and 2009, he won three Grey Cups with the Als and he was named the CFL’s most outstanding defensive player in 2004.
Numbers 10 through 19 will be revealed next Saturday.
(Feature Image Credit: Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)