‘Canadian Mafia’ intact: Bombers extend contracts of GM Walters, coach O’Shea

‘Canadian Mafia’ intact: Bombers extend contracts of GM Walters, coach O’Shea

WINNIPEG — Wade Miller is proud the “Canadian Mafia” will continue running the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The CFL team’s president and CEO was flanked by fellow Canadians Kyle Walters and Mike O’Shea at a press conference Friday to talk about new deals for the pair.

O’Shea received a three-year contract to remain the head coach of the newly minted Grey Cup champions through the 2022 season.

Walters had one year left on his contract as the club’s general manager and got a three-year extension through 2023.

The three former CFL players have been with the Bombers since late 2013 and got the nickname “Canadian Mafia” after the 2018 West Division final against the Calgary Stampeders.

“There’s pride for sure,” Miller said of the moniker, which is on T-shirts, including one with the trio’s faces.

“I love it, the fact that we’re all Canadian, and it’s great.”

Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson was caught on camera and microphone during last year’s division final using an expletive before the word Canadian while he was questioning why some calls were being made in front of O’Shea.

Dickenson later apologized, but wouldn’t confirm reports he’s referred to the Winnipeg trio as the Canadian Mafia.

O’Shea, 49, said Friday he’s a “very proud Canadian” and looks forward to continuing the unique working relationship he’s had with Miller and Walters the past six seasons.

O’Shea is the longest-tenured head coach in the league, while Walters, 46, is the second-longest tenured GM behind Calgary’s John Hufnagel.

“We have a group up here that’s wired similarly,” O’Shea said. “We have the same passion.

“We have different roles, but we respect each other roles and we’ve figured out a way to keep evolving in how we work together to make sure that we can add the ‘s’ onto this championship.”

The Bombers finished third in the West Division this year with an 11-7 record.

They upset Calgary in the West semifinal and Saskatchewan in the West final before ending a 28-year Grey Cup title drought with a 33-12 win over Hamilton on Nov. 24 in Calgary.

O’Shea’s signing fills up the head-coaching positions in the league after five teams signed new bench bosses.

Former Bombers offensive co-ordinator Paul LaPolice is the new head coach of the Ottawa Redblacks, Montreal took the interim tag off Khari Jones, Toronto hired former Calgary quarterbacks coach Ryan Dinwiddie, Scott Milanovich was hired in Edmonton and Rick Campbell moved to the B.C. Lions.

“It got worked out, I thought, in a very timely manner,” O’Shea said of his new contract. “I think both sides are pretty happy.”

He’s now working on who’ll replace LaPolice — Bombers quarterbacks coach Buck Pierce is a favoured choice — and which other coaches will remain on staff.

“As our leadership has shown, continuity is very important,” O’Shea said, only adding he’ll decide if interviews for an offensive co-ordinator are part of the process.

Once the coaching staff is in place, the focus will shift to signing quarterbacks.

All three of the team’s pivots who started games last season – Matt Nichols, Chris Streveler and Zach Collaros – are pending free agents. Under a new rule, teams can only dress two QBs next season.

“There’s all sorts of things with the free agents to prioritize who we want back,” Walters said.

“But obviously, the quarterback position is where it all starts. That’s going to be the price point that you have to put in and see the domino effects and how that affects the rest of the roster.”

Winnipeg picked up Collaros at the Oct. 9 trade deadline from Toronto as insurance behind Streveler after Nichols had season-ending shoulder surgery in late September following an injury the month before. Collaros and Streveler were a one-two attack throughout the playoffs.

Could the Bombers keep all three pivots?

“It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to be able to afford all quarterbacks (because) of the reality of the situation,” Walters said.

“But until you get the pecking order in place and the No. 1 that you want under contract and see that price point, and go accordingly from there.”

Just Posted

Mayor Rick Bonnett. (Screenshot)
WATCH: Ponoka council calls on gov’t to support rural small businesses

Ponoka council is calling on the provincial government to increase funding to… Continue reading

Pumpjacks draw oil out of the ground near Olds, Alta., Thursday, July 16, 2020. A new report suggests the economic impact of the pandemic led to a massive increase in federal aid to Canada's oil patch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta economy ‘still reeling,’ says ATB Financial

Alberta’s economy is still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and… Continue reading

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
Central Alberta MLAs comment on UCP members kicked out of caucus

A pair of central Alberta MLAs have commented on the two United… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Feds face growing calls for answers after general overseeing vaccine effort sidelined

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government is facing growing calls for answers… Continue reading

Conservative MP Ron Liepert rises during Question Period on Parliament Hill, Friday, March 10, 2017 in Ottawa. Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails from people wanting to talk about his party's climate plan have slowed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Alberta MP pitches Conservative carbon price with a 24-pack of Pilsner

OTTAWA — Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails… Continue reading

A sign marks Stairs Place in the Hydrostone district in the North end of Halifax on Thursday, May 13, 2021. The street was named for William Grant Stairs, a Canadian explorer from Halifax who helped lead some of the most controversial expeditions through the African continent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Where the streets have explorers’ names, some Halifax residents call for change

HALIFAX — When builders created Halifax’s distinctive Hydrostone neighbourhood more than a… Continue reading

Riley Oldford, 16, suffers from cerebral palsy. He was the first youth in the Northwest Territories to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Here he receives the needle from nurse practitioner Janie Neudorf in Yellowknife on Thursday May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Braden
People with disabilities even more alone during pandemic: cerebral palsy spokeswoman

YELLOWKNIFE — Riley Oldford is usually out playing sledge hockey or hanging… Continue reading

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

VICTORIA — Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have… Continue reading

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) comes in to celebrate with right wing Tom Wilson (43), right wing T.J. Oshie (77) and defenseman Justin Schultz (2), after Oshie's overtime goal in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins, Saturday, May 15, 2021, in Washington. The Capitals won 3-2. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Nic Dowd scores in OT, Capitals beat Bruins 3-2 in Game 1

Capitals 3 Bruins 2 (OT) (Washington leads series 1-0) WASHINGTON (AP) —… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Zack MacEwen (71), Travis Boyd (72) and Jimmy Vesey (24) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 15, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Big third period lifts Vancouver Canucks to 4-1 victory over Edmonton Oilers

Canucks 4 Oilers 1 EDMONTON — Matthew Highmore scored twice in the… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Canada’s vaccine rollout operation won’t miss a beat with new military leader: expert

DARTMOUTH — The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge… Continue reading

Most Read