The CFL season is in full swing and before we know it the playoffs, and ultimately the Grey Cup will be upon us.
In the run up to that game in November I thought it might be interesting to do a series on the decade anniversaries of that game. Staring with 100 years ago, then 90, 80 and so on.
Following on from our opening salvo on the 1919 Championship we now find ourselves looking at the ninetieth anniversary of this years’ Grey Cup – the 1929 edition.
The 1929 edition of the game saw 1,906 fans on hand to see the Hamilton Tigers down the Regina Roughriders by 14-3.
The run up to the game
As we saw last time out, history and the Grey Cup can often overlap. On that occasion several championships had been missed due to the First World War.
Now, Canada was facing another era defining crisis just before the championship game was due.
The Great Crash began to take shape on 24 October 1929. The panic of that day was only exceeded by Tuesday, 29 October. Black Tuesday as it came to be known saw unprecedented losses.
All the better then that sport could offer a distraction from what was arguably the catalyst to a decade of global recession.
That distraction came in the form of the Grey Cup playoffs. On October 30th the MRFU held a tie-breaker game between Winnipeg St Johns & Winnipeg Tammany Tigers.
Grey Cup Playoffs
What a distraction the football unions were able to provide for their countrymen!
Throughout November a playoff ensued between the champions of a variety of different Unions.
East versus West was the ultimate goal. To get there the champions of eight different provincial rugby football unions fought their way towards the final.
The Eastern Final saw the Hamilton Tigers of the IRFU defeat Queens University of the CIRFU.
The Western final saw the Regina Roughriders of the SRFU defeat the Calgary tigers of the ARFU.
The Grey Cup Game
On November 30th, 1929 Hamilton took their second consecutive Grey Cup championship in the 17th edition of the game itself.
This was the first consecutive rematch in a Grey Cup final. In 1928 the Tigers had beaten the Roughriders by 30 points to nil. Because of this they were heavy favourites this time around.
The 1929 edition saw a frozen ground and a much reduced crowd than had been anticipated.
Regina made a much better fist of things and Hamilton only led by 2 to 1 at the half. In the end they ran out of steam and Hamilton added 12 points against their 2 in the second half and won overall 14-3.
What Came Next
The Regina Roughriders would be back. Between 1926 and 1932 they claimed seven consecutive Western Championships. They would translate that into 6 Grey Cup appearances, all of which they lost.
The Tigers would ironically beat Regina 25-6 in the 1932 Grey Cup. Thus the Riders’ run of Western dominance was book ended with defeats by the same team in the championship game.
The Tigers themselves would lose in the 1935 Cup game. This would be their last appearance prior to merging with the Hamilton Wild Cats in 1950 to form the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The Ti-Cats would win the Grey Cup in 1953, and have won it on 8 occasions overall.
In 1946 the Regina Riders became community owned and were renamed the Saskatchewan Roughriders. They have gone on to win 4 Grey Cups since then.
The Grey Cup game itself would go from strength to strength, becoming a part of the fabric of Canadian culture.
Banner image: The Grey Cup of the day. Image from nationalpost.com
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