100 Grey Cups: This Is Our Game
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This country and its people are made of the same hardy stuff that makes our game and our league. The Grey Cup has helped unite our country for 100 years now. And it has revealed us, built our pride and our sense of Canadianness in annual tributes to effort, sweat and toil. But what does 100 years of history and cultural relevance add up to? When we Canadians look at the Grey Cup, we see far more than a gleaming football trophy; we see a reflection of ourselves. After its first years as an amateur challenge cup, the Grey Cup would go on to be awarded to the best football team in Canada, with Western challengers traveling back east to fall at the hands of the more established Toronto teams. That is, until a group of frustrated Winnipeggers paid an enormous sum during the Depression to buy up star players and bring the cup west for the first time. Following this, the games became about the pride of the country, East versus West, the national identity fought over the gridiron, all chronicled dutifully by bestselling author Stephen Brunt.
From the birth of the modern CFL in 1958, through the dynastic Edmonton Eskimos and into the nineties, attempted USA expansion, franchise re-birth in Montreal, 100 Grey Cups has it all: behind-the-scene anecdotes, never-before-seen photographs, and unprecedented access to the CFL archives. It is a must-have for all fans of this national tradition
An item in the next day’s Montreal Gazette noted that the Argos subsequently “ ‘dined’ the visitors,” who boarded a train for Montreal that very night. Remarkably, the Argonauts weren’t done for the season just yet – they were due to visit Montreal themselves the next day for a game against the Britannias. In 1892, with the establishment of the Canadian Rugby Union, the “Dominion championship” finally became (with a few exceptions) an annual affair. That year, Toronto’s Osgoode Hall met the Montreal Winged Wheelers at Rosedale Field – which would be the site of the inaugural Grey Cup seventeen years later.
Legend has it that one day Flying Officer Hayman walked into the office of Squadron Leader Ted Kendrick at the No. 1 Training School at the Downsview base in Toronto and announced, “We’ve got a Grey Cup team at the station. ” “Sure we have,” Kendrick said. “And we’ve also got a war on. ” OUTCHARGED AND OUTSMARTED THE MOST TELLING DESCRIPTION of the 1942 Grey Cup game’s final result came from Winnipeg’s star lineman and Hall of Famer, Lou Mogul. Mogul had been a member of the Winnipeg club since 1932 (just two years after its inception) and had seen a lot of action in football’s “trenches” that day and during the previous decade.
But it’s also true that, just as the cliché suggests, most football games are won or lost in the trenches, by the dominance of one set of linemen over another, which either allows the quarterbacks and running backs and receivers to make those flashy plays or prevents them from doing so. If Wilkinson and Moon and Campbell were the brains of the Eskimo dynasty, its beating heart was found among the ranks of defensive linemen and linebackers, especially two of the CFL’s all-time greats: Dave “Dr. Death” Fennell and Dan Kepley.
McKelvey 1932 No: 20 Date: Dec 3 Site: Hamilton Stadium: HAAA Cricket G Attend: 4,806 Champion: Hamilton T Pts: 25 Runner-Up: Regina Pts: 6 Winning Coach: Billy Hughes Losing Coach: Al Ritchie Referee: J. O’Brien 1931 No: 19 Date: Dec 5 Site: Montréal Stadium: Molson Attend: 5,112 Champion: Mtl AAA Pts: 22 Runner-Up: Regina Pts: 0 Winning Coach: Clary Foran Losing Coach: Al Ritchie Referee: J. O’Brien 1930 No: 18 Date: Dec 6 Site: Toronto Stadium: Varsity Attend: 3,914 Champion: Balmy Bch Pts: 11 Runner-Up: Regina Pts: 6 Winning Coach: Alex Ponton Losing Coach: Al Ritchie Referee: J.
But Carinci wasn’t quite right about the dynasty – the remainder of the 1980s would be pretty much a washout for the Argonauts. Barnes was traded to Calgary in 1985, and after the Argos lost the 1987 Grey Cup game to the Eskimos, 38–36, O’Billovich was fired in 1989, though his stellar CFL career continues today, with Hamilton his latest (and perhaps final) stop. Highly touted prospect “Rocket” Ismail was brought to Canada by free-spending Argos owner Bruce McNall. The investment paid off in his first year with the Argos (1991), when they won the Grey Cup.