Saturday, 28 November 2015

A CFL-themed Sunday for my Free Press column and radio show. Bonus: Winnipeg Grey Cup Trivia !

Top: Ottawa Journal, December 4, 1925


This year's Grey Cup game takes place in Winnipeg 90 years after the first Winnipeg-based team played for the championship and 80 years after the Winnipeg's became the first Western team to win it !

1925 Bombers Program
1925 Grey Cup Program. Courtesy: Canadian Football Hall of Fame

My column in tomorrow's Winnipeg Free Press will take a look at that first team to take on the East, the 1925 Tammany Tigers, which were created 100 years go on the playing field of Mulvey School in Wolseley. (To see more artwork that didn't make it into the paper, check out my 1925 Tammany Tigers Flickr album.)

Join me Sunday night at 7:00 pm on 101.5 UMFM for West End Dumplings - The Radio Edition and a musical tribute to the CFL. I will play a selection of tunes from Dal Richards and his Orchestra, The CFL Sessions and Stan Foster.

For more Grey Cup history, check out CBC ArchivesCBC Rewind, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and CFL's Grey Cup Central.

Here's some more Winnipeg-related Grey Cup Trivia !

Winnipeg Blue Bombers 1935
December 7, 1935 - The 'Winnipegs' defeated the Hamilton Tigers 18-12 to become the first Western Canadian team to win the 23rd Grey Cup. The great Fritz Hanson scored a 78-yard touchdown seal the game. He led the Blue to two more Cups.

December 10, 1937 - The Bombers and Toronto Argonauts played for the 25th Grey Cup in a violent wind storm in Toronto. The result was a paltry seven total points, a record low for a Grey Cup game. Sadly, Toronto scored four of them.

December 10, 1938 - The Bombers are defeated 30 - 7 by the Toronto Argonauts in the 26th Grey Cup. It was, however, the first game broadcast by the CBC. Check out a clip of the radio play by play !

Well Done Bombers
December 9, 1939 - The Bombers beat the Ottawa Roughriders at Lansdowne Park for the 27th Grey Cup. CBC Archives has a radio clip of the game and post-game interviews. The team is also in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

November 29, 1941 - Reg Threlfall's Blue Bombers beat the Ottawa Rough Riders to win the 29th Grey Cup. The team is in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

At the final whistle, over 700 Manitoba troops invited to watch the game stormed Varsity Stadium's field and stole both goal posts. They surfaced the following day outside the Bombers' downtown Toronto hotel.

December 5, 1942 - The two Rugby Unions that fought for the Grey Cup suspended play from 1942 to 1944. That didn't stop the game, though.

30th Grey Cup saw the Winnipeg R.C.A.F. Bombers, (with jerseys very similar jersey to those of the modern day Winnipeg Jets), played the Toronto R.C.A.F. Hurricanes. Winnipeg lost. The Winnipeg R.C.A.F. Bombers were back the following year but lost to the Hamilton Flying Wildcats.

One player who never made it home form the war was Jeff Nicklin. Check out the greatest Bomber player you've never heard of.

November 25, 1950 - The Argos record the sixth and last shutout in Grey Cup history. Unfortunately, it was a 13-0 defeat of the Bombers in the so-called mud bowl, the 38th Grey Cup. Also see CBC TV archives footage !

On January 22, 1956 in the Royal Alexandra Hotel at Higgins and Main the Canadian Football League was created. Winnipeg sports administrator Syd Halter is named its first commissioner.

November 29, 1958 - According to Vince Leah the 46th Grey Cup final was the most thrilling the Bombers have ever played. They found themselves down 14 - 0 before Bud Grant's boys began clawing their way back. The Bombers won the game 35 - 28 and ended an 18 year Grey Cup drought.

Bomber QB Jim Van Pelt (above) set a Grey Cup record with 22 points. The team is in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

November 28, 1959 - The Bombers rallied for 18 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Hamilton Tiger Cats 21 - 7 for the 47th Grey Cup. This was the first Grey Cup game for Bomber Mascot Teddy the Chimp who made the trip to Toronto with the rest of the team. They won it twice more with Teddy as a member of the team.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers 1961
December 2, 1961 - The 49th Grey Cup game is the first and only one that required overtime. The Bombers' Ken Ploen scored the winning touchdown in the 73rd minute to beat the Hamilton Tiger Cats 21 - 14.

December 1 - 2 , 1962 - The 50th Grey Cup was a two-day affair thanks to a zero visibility fog  that enveloped Toronto's Exhibition Stadium.

The Bombers were leading Hamilton 28 to 27 on the strength of
Leo Lewis who ran for two touchdowns and threw for a third when the game was suspended with 9:31 left in the fourth quarter. When it resumed the next day, no further points were scored.

November 18, 1984 - The Bombers defeat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 47-17 to win the 72nd Grey Cup in Edmonton. Winnipeg's defense smothered Hamilton who set a Grey Cup record for the fewest rushing yards in a final: 24.

Three Grey Cups have been played for before in Winnipeg: 1991, 1998 and 2006.

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