Nov. 17—GRAND FORKS — Former UND running back Brady Oliveira of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers has picked up impressive hardware ahead of playing in the CFL's 110th Grey Cup this Sunday in Hamilton, Ontario.
Oliveira was awarded the honor of CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian during a banquet at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls on Thursday night.
Oliveira, a Winnipeg native, also finished runner-up for the CFL's Most Outstanding Player.
"It's a dream. I feel like this entire season has been a dream for me," Oliveira told Ed Tait of BlueBombers.com. "It's almost like I've got to keep blinking and see if this is real life and if I've woken up yet from this dream.
"It's been incredible, and I'm truly blessed. I appreciate my teammates and my coaches. Being able to work with those guys every single day makes it a lot more enjoyable and a lot more fun to be with a group of men like that."
Oliveira is the first Blue Bombers player to win the top Canadian award since 2017 when it was awarded to Andrew Harris, who's also a Winnipeg native, one of Oliveira's mentors and the player Oliveira replaced as Winnipeg's starting running back.
The winners were selected following voting by the Football Reporters of Canada and the nine head coaches. Oliveira received 57 of 61 votes over Montreal Alouettes safety Marc-Antoine Dequoy. For the CFL Most Outstanding Player award, Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly won the vote over Oliveira 39-22.
This year, Oliveira led the CFL in rushing with 1,534 yards, as well as yards from scrimmage (2,016) and touchdowns (13). His rushing total was the second-highest by a Canadian in league history after Jon Cornish ran for 1,813 yards for the Calgary Stampeders in 2013. Oliveira had a league-best seven 100-yard rushing games and set career highs in rushing, receptions (38) and receiving yards (482).
The Blue Bombers face the Montreal Alouettes at 5 p.m. Sunday at Hamilton's Tim Hortons Field for the Grey Cup — the Super Bowl of the CFL.
Winnipeg also features former UND defensive back Evan Holm, who starts for the Blue Bombers. Holm is second on the team with 64 total tackles and has two interceptions. It's the Edina, Minn., native's second year with Winnipeg.
Oliveira, who's now 26 years old, finished his UND career as the program's seventh all-time leading rusher with 2,822 yards.
He earned all-Big Sky Conference honors in 2016 and 2017, then played in 2018 when UND was independent and unable to collect league honors.