© — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram
Gerard Hannaford (left) and his daughter Ariel show off some of the Green Bay Packers merchandise acquired over Hannaford’s years as a stalwart supporter of the NFL franchise. Hannaford is one of ten finalists — and the only Canadian — in the Packers Fan Hall of Fame contest.
Paradise’s Gerard Hannaford in contention to join Green Bay Packers Fan Hall of Fame
All it took was a look at the classic Green Bay helmet for seven-year-old Gerard Hannaford to become a Packers fan for life.
“I came home after a senior hockey game at the old Memorial Stadium,” recalls Hannaford. ”My brother is a Packers fan and he was watching the NFL game on TV.
“I said ‘who is that team with the G on their yellow helmets,’ and, when he said it was the Green Bay Packers, that’s the team I said I was going to cheer for because G is the first letter of my name,” explained Hannaford with a chuckle.
Now there’s a chance the 54-year-old St. John’s native who lives in Paradise could make it to the Green Bay Packers Fan Hall of Fame.
And he has his daughter, Ariel, to thank.
She knew how devoted her dad was to the Packers, so when she found out about the Fan Hall of Fame she followed the rules and submitted an essay explaining why her dad belonged there.
As it turned out Hannaford’s nomination made it as one of the 10 finalists. He is also the only Canadian in the top 10.
“Blown away,” doesn’t even come close to the way I felt when I found out I was a finalist,” said Hannaford.
“But all the credit goes to Ariel, not me,” he added.
The winner will basically be decided by total votes on the submissions.
Hannaford, who never misses a game on TV, got to see his beloved Packers at Lambeau Field in 2010. He described the atmosphere as “unreal.”
Of course, he has lots of Green Bay gear including a Green Bay Packer wallet, watch, helmets, T-shirts and a team jersey he only wears on game day.
“I never go a day without wearing something to do with the Packers,” Hannaford said.
He says he has numerous favourite players ranging from current players Aaron Rodgers and B.J. Raji and all-time Packer greats Brett Favre, Sterling Sharpe and Jerry Kramer.
If Hannaford makes it to the hall, there are lots of goodies awaiting him.
The winner gets four tickets to a game at Lambeau Field, two tickets to an away game with airfare and accommodations taken care of, a gift certificate for the Packers pro shop and a permanent plaque in the Packers Fan Hall of Fame.
The final decision will be made in the early spring.
Anyone interested in voting for Hannaford can cast their ballot at nfl.packers.com/fan_zone/fan-hall-of-fame-2013/voting/