Saturday, April 17, 2021

2009: "Sinopoli's Season To Shine"

I came across a pile of old programs, for a variety of teams and/or events, while looking for something completely unrelated. They range in date from 2008 to 2013 or so from when I was most active in terms of attending local games. 

The U. of O's programs were quite well done during that time frame (and presumably beyond it, I just haven't seen one in a while). In addition to including all the standard features of a program (rosters, schedule, stats and ads), they usually also had a couple of articles about the players or coaches from that season or celebrating the team's history.

Here's one such article about Redblack-receiver-to-be Brad Sinopoli. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

1989: The Ottawa Bootleggers Playoff Run

Those of us who attended the 1989 North American Minor League Football Alliance championship game take a certain amount of pride in the fact that we did not perish that day but tend to forget what it took for the Ottawa Bootleggers to host that game in first place.

So with that in mind, we present to you summaries of the two playoff games the 'leggers had to win to earn the right to play for that crown in -15C temperatures during a snow storm. Please note that the weather wasn't a hell of a lot better for those two games either, as each article will point out.

The stated date reflects when the summary appeared in the Ottawa Citizen, not "game day".

Nov 20th: 

Nov 25th:

1998: Ottawa Jr. Riders 37, Sooners 02

Today's additions (at least thus far) were applied to both the Ottawa Sooners and Ottawa Jr. Riders pages.

In the case of the former, 1998 was hardly a banner year. They closed it out with a 2-6 regular season record, made the playoffs regardless, but were ousted in short order by the Chateauguay Raiders. Nonetheless, the scores from that season are now added to the Sooners' page so we have most of the team's results dating back to 1960 to that date. Pretty happy about that.

The Jr Riders, however, cemented their spot on the football landscape that year. They reached the championship game in 1997 after a 6-4 regular season but lost to the Sooners in that game. They pummeled the Sooners in their second contest of 1998 in what was seen as something of a changing of the guard.

Sigmund Charles of the Ottawa Sooners takes a pounding from Jarrid Foley, left, of the Ottawa Junior Riders yesterday. The Riders dealt the Sooners a humiliating 37-2 loss. Photo by Chris Mikula, Ottawa Citizen.   
Not the Sooners' finest hour and I suspect there were several factors contributing to the poor showing that season but I won't speculate. The Jr. Riders, meanwhile, again collected six regular season wins against two losses, both to the Chateauguay Raiders.

Those losses would be avenged when the Riders beat the Raiders 24-09 in the championship game. That recap has been included on their page for some time, but the summary of their semi-final win against the North Shore Broncos is now added. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

1940 Ottawa Rough Riders Sketches

I've added a few brief snippets of game summaries from the two match-ups between the Ottawa Rough Riders and the Balmy Beach for the 1940 Grey Cup as well as the team pictures below from the December 9th Ottawa Citizen.

Based on the citizen's coverage, the city was quite proud of its first championship team since 1926. The newspaper provided brief (and sometimes maybe a little padded) "sketches" of the team's roster. That would take up quite a bit of space on the Grey Cup page so I've added them below instead for, hopefully, your reading pleasure. 

Man, there were some quality people on that team. Several have been named to several halls of fame and/or later excelled as coaches and/or builders.

I might spend more time on this specific team, their combined successes are impressive. 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Forward Pass Is Introduced

The portions of a game summary posted earlier today, between the Ottawa Rangers and the Quebec Aquatic Club ("Swimmers") and making reference to the excitement caused by the forward pass, made me question when the first legal forward pass was used by a player representing the capital.

Not surprisingly, it's not an easy question to answer. It may, in fact, be impossible to or at best depend on your criteria. 

The forward pass was well in use by the time that playoff game between Rangers and Swimmers took place in 1931. So we can start by moving backwards from there.

The 1931 Rough Riders opened the season in Montreal on October 11th. They got walloped something fierce, 32-06. But they did attempt a forward pass during that contest. 


That's awesome. About 18 months ago, I came across Ogilvie's name (as "Ogilvy") while tracking down a game summary for the 1927 senior high school championship. The statement that Ogilvie had entered the "Gallery of the Gods" of the Glebe sporting element" tickled me to no end but damned if he may not, in fact, hold the distinction of throwing the first ever professional pass in the city's history.

It's important to state that he did so as a professional. The Rough Riders played a game the week before in which a few passes were thrown, but that was an exhibition game. Three junior games were also played that day as the Junior City League began its season and at least one of those games included forward passing. 

Gladstone beat the Ottawa Seconds as the "curtain-raiser" to the Rough Riders game. 

Damn, this Crain dude was a natural! 

Two games would be played on St. Patrick's field that day, the first of which feature the host St. Patrick's team against a club known as the Rangers (not to be confused with the intermediate squad of the same name). The recaps of the action in that contest, won by St. Pat's 08-06, make no mention of the forward pass.

Meanwhile, in Brockville, the intermediate Rangers were welcoming that town's new entry into the QRFU with a 15-01 beating. 

Tommy is hall of fame inductee Andy Tommy Sr. Morrison to Tommy is one hell of a historical connection.

But was it the first? For one thing, it's not clear that the pass above was a forward one, being that Tommy went around right wing but there's another significant factor at play.

Most local teams started using the forward pass in 1931 but junior high school programs began using it in 1929 (one article claimed they started using it in 1927 but I've seen no evidence of that). So to be completely accurate, it was probably a player at the junior high school level who uncorked the first one. 

Unfortunately, the recap of the first junior high school game of the season doesn't see fit to specify who threw it.

In a game about two weeks later in the season, a Lisgar pass attempt was made by one R.A. "Beaner" Sheppard to a teammate named Zelikovitz. Zelikovitz might be Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame inductee Joe Zelikovitz. I'm a little unsure about that as Lisgar's Athletic Hall of Fame states that Joe started playing there in 1930.

Either way, it's difficult to know if Sheppard handled all the throwing duties for the Lisgar team (in fact, it seems doubtful) but if so, it could be that the first forward pass thrown by an Ottawa player almost a century ago was a by a dude nicknamed "Beaner". ๐Ÿ‘

1931: Ottawa Rangers 24, Quebec "Swimmers" 07

The Ottawa Rangers, nicknamed "blue shirts" on occasion, were not around very long but they may have left a very specific mark on football in the region.

They began play on 1930, officially, in the Quebec Rugby Football Union, posting a 3-3 record. Under Leo Gleeson the following year, they won four contests, lost two, and reached the semi-finals. 

That semi-final game turned into an exhibition of the forward pass. It was not the first instance of the forward pass being put in use, that took place in 1929, according to the CFL website:

CRU adopted use of the forward pass on a limited basis in Junior, Interscholastic, Western Canada Rugby Union, Western Intercollegiate Union and the Grey Cup final. First legal pass in Canada was thrown by Gerry Seiberling and the first reception was by Ralph Losie of Calgary Altomah-Tigers against Edmonton on September 21... 

CRU approved the forward pass for all leagues and the first TD pass in Grey Cup history was a Warren Stevens to Kenny Grant play in Montreal's 22-0 win over Regina. Convert scrimmage line was moved to the five-yard line, and the point could be scored by a drop-kick, place kick, run or pass.
...but the semi-final game summary certainly makes it sound like its first heavy usage in a game and perhaps the game in which it became better accepted as an exciting feature.

The Rangers scored another unconverted touchdown in a drive that began at their own 40 to take a 12-00 lead. Arnie Morrison punched that one in, he of the "lifetime ban" for his involvement in a brawl in 1929 following a game against the St. Thomas Tigers while he was a member of the Rideaus

The final Rangers touchdown came off an interception return by Clair Forster.

Now this makes me want to track down the first recorded forward pass by an Ottawa team. If if wasn't in this game (and I doubt it was) it had to have taken place no more than weeks prior to this game being played. Let's see what we find. 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

1948: Carleton 11, McGill 06

This is actually the result of filling out the high school page some more. Scores and a rough team picture of Ottawa Tech's 1948 championship squad have been added but in doing that research, this easily-copied game from Carleton's early days presented itself. Why not add it for your reading pleasure?

I believe this was Carleton's second year of "real" play, as opposed to the exhibition games they had in 1946 and 1947 as the program was being built.

The following year, Carleton would begin "proper" Conference play in joining the Ottawa St. Lawrence Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Their first game would be against McGill again, in Montreal, which they would unfortunately lose 21-00.

1950 Red Feather Tournament: Ottawa Tech 23, Sudbury High 00

This morning, we're moving forward a little bit with the Red Feather Tournament first mentioned in a post from March 18th.

In 1950, Ottawa Tech was once again undefeated and considered to be the top high school team in the city. As a result, they were the logical choice to represent the capital in Toronto for this tournament, as they did in 1949.

Here they are, looking rather dapper and about to board the train to leave for the big smoke. This was on the Thursday before their scheduled Saturday night match-up against Sudbury. 

They won their game but the tournament title was given to St. Catherines Collegiate on the strength of a 52-00 win over a team from Guelph. That, at least, makes more sense than the previous year's result.

The uncredited Ottawa Citizen article below, from October 30th, 1950, details how the game went for Tech.

Good luck overcoming that Gray-Walker-Thompson wingline.

And so at this point, Ottawa teams (the same one, granted) are 2-0 at this tournament. I don't plan to build a page dedicated to it, since it's all exhibition anyway, but I'll continue to add results from the event when I happen to be in that area time-wise.

Friday, April 2, 2021

1997 QMJFL Championship: Sooners 13, Jr. Riders 07

I thought this game summary had been posted years ago but I'm unable to find any sign of it. In light of how many "firsts" took place that season (1997 was the first Jr. Riders season and therefore their first playoff appearance, it was the first Sooners Quebec crown, etc.), I'm surprised it wasn't added early on.

Out of curiosity, I tried to locate the game summary in the Montreal Gazette. It was a mighty struggle because two Ottawa-based teams in the Quebec league probably didn't sit well.

Sure enough, it generated all of two paragraphs containing 56 words in total, by my count. ๐Ÿ˜‰  If they found it difficult to swallow, the next few years would be awful hard on them indeed. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Oct 25th, 1985: Golden Gaels 17 @ Gee-Gees 20

Game summaries posted here tend to be reserved for championship or playoff contests but this one holds a different type of significance.

A couple of weekends ago, I wrote a post about the rapid decline of the University of Ottawa program in 1983 following an undefeated regular season the previous year. They were unable to secure a single victory throughout 1983 and 1984 until finally landing one in the second-to-last game of 1985. This is the game in which that run of futility finally came to an end.

They won the following game as well (against McGill) and actually had a chance at a playoff spot dependent on Carleton winning its last game but that did not come to pass. Still, after a dismal couple of seasons the arrow was pointing up again.