New Brunswick

2 New Brunswickers chase Grey Cup with Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Mike Miller of Riverview, N.B., Jake Thomas of Fredericton, both former members of the Acadia Axemen, will play in the Grey Cup today. Former Axemen receiver Brian Jones of Nova Scotia will line up on the other side.

Mike Miller, Jake Thomas among 8 former Atlantic University Sport players in CFL final

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Mike Miller, left, and Tyneil Cooper celebrate after recovering their own onside kick during the first half of a CFL football game against the B.C. Lions in Vancouver in 2018. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

New Brunswickers Mike Miller and Jake Thomas will play for the Grey Cup tonight.

Miller and Thomas, both former Acadia Axemen players, will line up on Sunday for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a clash with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at McMahon Stadium in Calgary today.

It will make for an interesting evening for Axemen head coach Jeff Cummins. A Grey Cup champion in his own right with the Ticats in 1999, Cummins also has a former receiver, Nova Scotia's Brian Jones, suiting up for Hamilton.

"It's definitely something I take a lot of pride in, and I say I take a lot of pride, I mean I didn't do anything," Cummins said of his former players.

"They [are] the ones that deserve all the accolades. They're the ones that have done everything. I'm just happy to be associated with them knowing that they spent some time here and grew here as men, as football players."

Acadia Axemen head coach Jeff Cummins said it's exciting to watch three former players share the field for such a big game. (CBC)

Cummins said all three are hard workers who put the team first.

"They are great team guys and it's just part of who they are, and one of the reasons why they've all had careers in the CFL."

Miller, from Riverview, played as a defensive back for Acadia. Cummins remembers him an one of his best special teams players.

Miller has gone on to become one of the top special teams players in the CFL. He is a past Grey Cup champion with the Edmonton Eskimos.

"He's created and carved out a niche for himself unlike anybody else in the CFL and has gone on to become just a guy that people, you know, emulate," he said.

Winnipeg's Bryan Bennett, left, and Mike Miller celebrate after a defensive play. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

"I know other teams have made highlight videos of Mike playing special teams to try to create a prototypical special teams player."

Thomas, from Fredericton, is part of what Cummins calls a family Acadia legacy. His older brother, Josh, played for the team as well but didn't play professionally.

Jones has a Grey Cup ring with the Toronto Argonauts. His career has been slowed by injury.

Former Toronto Argos wide receiver Brian Jones now plays for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. (Johnny Jutrus/CFL.ca)

He was an outstanding receiver with the Axemen, earning conference most valuable player.

Cummins said he stays in touch with all three of his former players.

As for who is going to win today's game, Cummins said he doesn't know.

"I think, you know, it's going to be a tight game in my opinion. I don't see either one of them blowing each other out."

There are eight former Atlantic University Sport players in the game, five for the Ticats.

Jay Langa and Aaron Crawford of Saint Mary's, Kay Okafor of St. FX and Mike Filer of Mount Allison are all on the depth chart for Hamilton.

Former Saint Mary's player Jeff Hecht has been added to the Grey Cup roster for Winnipeg.

 

With files from Gary Moore