Chris Walby (born October 23, 1956) is a retired Canadian Football League player who played the offensive tackle position almost exclusively with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He won three Grey Cups with the Bombers in 1984, 1988, and 1990. Walby was also a sportscaster with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's CFL on CBC telecasts following his retirement.
|No. 63 Winnipeg Blue Bombers|
|Born:||October 23, 1956|
|Height||6 ft 7 in (201 cm)|
|Weight||325 lb (147 kg)|
|CFL draft||1981 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4|
|Drafted by||Montreal Alouettes|
|1981–1996||Winnipeg Blue Bombers|
|Career highlights and awards|
|CFL All-Star||1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994|
|CFL East All-Star||1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994|
|CFL West All-Star||1984, 1985, 1986, 1996|
|Awards||1987 Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman|
1993 Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman
Early life and college careerEdit
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Walby grew up in the city's North End on Polson Avenue. He attended school at St. John's High School where he started playing junior football for the first time in grade 12. Growing up in Winnipeg, the primary sport was hockey and Walby played for the West Kildonan/Kildonan North Stars.
Competing from 1975–76 and 76-77, he only scored four goals and nine assists but tallied 275 penalty minutes. Playing hockey in an era of fighting, he got into a pre-game fight with teammate Kenny Sutherland, they were both arrested and Walby was charged with assault causing bodily harm and given a two-year conditional sentence. After his junior hockey career he started playing football with the Winnipeg Rods would go on to earn an athletic scholarship to play college football at Dickinson State University in North Dakota.
Professional football careerEdit
Following his collegiate career, Walby was drafted in the first round of the 1981 CFL Draft by the Montreal Alouettes. Walby played five games on the offensive line for the Larks during the 1981 CFL season. Wrangling by management over his salary left Walby without a contract and short pay after he was waived by Montreal general manager Bob Geary, this left him with a bad taste in his mouth and a contract offer from his hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Bombers' assistant general manager Paul Robson greeted Walby at the airport and within 30 minutes of his arrival had signed him to the Blue and Gold.
Walby continued playing his days as primarily a defensive end, a decision by assistant coach Ellis Rainsberger saw him move to right guard in 1982 and 1983. The following season he would move to right tackle, a move that saw him shoot to a Hall of Fame career on the offensive line. Robson would say of his playing style that "He was an offensive lineman with a defensive lineman's personality, and that was the best of both worlds."
For the remaining 16 years of this professional football career (1981–1996), Walby was a fixture on the Bombers' offensive line. During his career, Walby was very popular among fans and was a 9-time CFL All-Star, two time league's Most Outstanding Lineman, and three-time Grey Cup champion. He is often referred to as one of the greatest offensive linemen in the history of the CFL.
Post football careerEdit
After his football career, Walby ran for a seat in the Manitoba Legislature for the Liberal Party of Manitoba but lost. He also was involved in various business ventures such as a restaurant called Hog City Bar and Grill.
Awards and honoursEdit
In 2003, Walby was elected into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and in 2005, was chosen as one of the Blue Bombers All-Time 20 Greatest players. In November 2006, Walby was chosen 22nd amongst the CFL's 50 Greatest Players in a TSN poll. Inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 2006.
- "What you didn't know about Chris Walby". Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
- "The Chris Walby Story". Winnipeg Blue Bombers. June 21, 2016. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
- "CFL Great Chris Walby's Off-Field Battle". CFL. November 2, 2010. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
- "TSN Top 50 CFL Players". TSN.ca. 2006-11-28. Retrieved 2007-07-18.