Hometown heroes: Brady Oliveira & Nic Demski make CFL history in Winnipeg

By Chris Lawton

One of the best teams of recent years in the CFL has unarguably been the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Since 2018 they have gone 47-21 in the regular season. Resulting in four consecutive West Final appearances, and since 2019, three consecutive Grey Cup appearances with championship wins coming in 2019 and 2021. They were runners up to the Toronto Argonauts last year in the 2022 final, and will be keen following another dominant season, (they are currently 13-4 and set to host the West Final again), to reclaim their crown.

Along the way they have seen some remarkable individual success stories too. For example, while with the team, Chris Streveler broke the record for yards rushing in a season by a QB – meaning he had overtaken former Oklahoma Sooner Buddy Leake who had held the record since the 1956 season.

At the same time the last two MOP awards have gone to Winnipeg QB Zach Collaros. Whilst OT Stanley Bryant won Most Outstanding Lineman in 2017-18 and 2021-2. Not to mention a wealth of other awards going to individual players.

Hometown Heroes

Embed from Getty Images

This year however, the Blue Bombers have had something new and unique to celebrate. There is no doubt they will have players up for individual awards again. Just as there is no doubt that they will be a strong presence in the playoffs. But before all that they get to celebrate two Winnipeg born players creating a unique piece of CFL history.

That is because RB Brady Oliveira and WR Nic Demski have both broken the 1000 yard barrier this season (rushing and receiving respectively). What makes it so special though is that they are the first Canadian duo to achieve this in a season together. Added to which, both were born and raised in Winnipeg, and both are graduates of Oak Park High School albeit having attended at different times.

Oliveira is having a career season and leads the league in rushing yards (1,498) and 100-yard games (7) and is tied for the league lead in touchdowns (13). While at the same time Demski has 1,006 yards on 67 catches and has contributed six touchdowns.

Demski is in his eighth CFL season and fifth with the Bombers. At the same time Oliveira is in his fourth season. Demski’s previous high for receiving yards was 772, last year, while Oliveira’s previous best rushing total was 1,001 yards in 2022. In a normal year they would both be considered for Most Outstanding Canadian, but right now that looks like Oliveira’s name is already on the award. In fact, if it didn’t usually go to a QB you would have to put him in the MOP mix too.

The CFL was quick to celebrate the duo becoming the “first pair of National players to go over 1,000 rushing and receiving yards for the same team in the same season”.

While the individual success is something to relish, both who grew up Bombers fans, will ant to propel the Blue and Gold through a fifth consecutive Western Final and propel them back to a Grey Cup win. As ever, it will be fun to see how it all unfolds.

Feature Image Credit: John Woods / The Canadian Press



Chris originally started following the NFL with the ‘first wave’ of fans when it was shown on Channel 4 in the 1980’s. He has been a keen supporter of the Miami Dolphins since 1983. Chris first encountered the CFL in 2016 and instantly fell in love with the Canadian game. He has been writing about the CFL 2017. Chris has a degree in history, postgraduate degree in librarianship and can be found on twitter as @CFLfanUK