Dickenson voted CFL MVP

Calgarians have one of their own to applaud this Grey Cup weekend after Stampeders quarterback Dave Dickenson won the CFL's Most Outstanding Player Award at Jubilee Auditorium on Friday.

Dickenson defeated Mike Pringle of the Montreal Alouettes, 27-15 in voting conducted by the Football Reporters of Canada.

"It was a lot of hard work and I do get some consulation in the fact my performance was rewarded with a reward," Dickenson said. "But it wasn't rewarded with a chance to win a Grey Cup."

Dickenson completed 317 of 493 passes for 4,636 yards and a league-high 36 TDs en route to a 12-5-1 record and first place in the CFL West.

Whatsmore, his quarterback rating of 114.1 was an all-time high.

But Dickenson's all-time low was a knee injury which knocked him out of last Sunday's 37-23 loss to the B.C. Lions in the West Division final.

"I'm still a little bitter," said Dickenson, who hobbled to the podium to accept his award.

"I thought we accomplished a lot as a team. We didn't get it done, we wanted to get it done.

"But looking back on the group we had, I was proud to play for Calgary and I'll always be proud to play for Calgary."

And proud to beat out Pringle, the league's leading rusher and a four-time nominee who won the award in 1995 and 1998.

The burly running back rumbled for 1,778 yards and a league record 19 touchdowns on the ground.

Sean Millington of the Lions shaded Davis Sanchez of the Alouettes, 23-19 to take top Canadian honours for a second time.

The Lions fullback, who last won three years ago, carried 156 times for 1,010 yards and seven TDs.

For Millington, it was the first time that he had breached the 1,000 yard barrier.

"Hopefully, this is a good sign of things to come," Millington said.

Albert Johnson III of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was a two-time winner, as rookie of the year and special teams player of the year.

The wide receiver and kick return specialist enjoyed a spectacular debut campaign, leading the league with 3,241 combined yards.

"This is for Winnipeg," said Johnson, who received the biggest laugh of the evening when he remarked about how fellow Bombers called him, "Johnson the turd."

Non-import Pierre Vercheval of the Alouettes pushed aside Andrew Greene of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, 25-17 to be named outstanding offensive lineman.

The 13-year veteran is a six-time all-Canadian, including the last four years in a row.

"I thought you guys had forgotten me," Vercheval chided reporters.

"I take a lot of pride in getting ready for the season. For this to come in my 13th year is very special."

Joe Montford of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats was voted the league's best defensive player for the second consecutive season.

He had a league-best 20 sacks, 52 defensive tackles and forced eight fumbles in earning a third straight all-star selection.

"I think players take this league for granted," said Montford, who won out over Terry Ray of the Edmonton Eskimos, 32-10.

"I think this is probably the best game out there. Put in a couple more dollars and it would be even better."

Montford's teammate, Mike Morreale, received the Tom Pate Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to the league and local community.

Outgoing CFL chairman and acting commissioner John Tory presented the Commissioners' Award to Jeff Giles, outgoing CFL president and chief operating officer.

Tory himself was then paid tribute by Eskimos president Hugh Campbell and Roughriders president Bob Ellard.