Fieldgate, Legendary LB
A position steeped in tradition where some of the most iconic men in all of football have ruled. Calling the shots and bravely patrolling the maelstrom like generals in a war torn region.
Being routinely called upon to cover the errors of those around him, the linebacker must be athletic enough to cover the elegant receiver yet bullish enough to take on a hulking lineman head-on.
A position of strength for the BC Lions heading into the 2013 season, Adam Bighill, Solomon Elimimian and Anton McKenzie lead a group of formidable LB’s for our beloved orange squad but maybe the best ‘Backer the Leo’s ever had was also the first one they ever had: Norm Fieldgate.
His number 75 adorns the distinctive Ring of Honour at BC Place. His name is synonymous with the franchise itself, having been both a former player and a former president. An original roster member from the 1954 squad, Fieldgate spent 14 seasons on the gridiron for BC. 14 years and was out of the lineup one game.
He could be honoured just for that feat alone, but Fieldgate contributed so much more than a warm body in a jersey. The ultra-talented young man from the Regina Rams Junior football program played Tight-End, Defensive End and Safety but he truly excelled at the Linebacker position.
The stalwart defender could range from sideline to sideline while doling out some of the most severe punishment in the league.
Widely known for his tenacity, Fieldgate became a CFL Western Division All-Star 3 times. In 1963 he was voted to the CFL All-Star team.
A year later he earned an even bigger award.
A constant on the defensive front, Fieldgate helped guide the Lions to their first ever Grey Cup in 1964.
He finished his career with 62 turnovers; 37 interceptions, 2 returned for TD’s and 25 fumble returns. 37 picks in an era where throwing the ball was the second option.
He also had a knack for blocking kicks. 6 blocks with 2 recoveries for TD’s.
When his playing days ended, Fieldgate continued to be associated with the club, first by sitting on the Board of Directors and eventually heading the organization as the team president until 1989.
Although no longer on the board, he is still very visible with the Lions making appearances at club functions and alumni recognitions.
Upon retiring he was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1970, the CFL Hall of Fame in 1979 and voted onto TSN’s list of top 50 CFL players.
Fieldgate definitely set the standard for all those have come after him. An inspiration to fans and players alike, he was the prime example for doing whatever it takes for the betterment of the organization.
Truly deserving of his place in the Ring of Honour.
Cheers, The Bartender