You always remember your first time(s) – Hamilton and Winnipeg

You always remember your first time(s) – Hamilton and Winnipeg
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You always remember your first times(s). What on Earth does that mean?

Well, we have done an article like this before. The premise being that as the two teams face off in the CFL showpiece Grey Cup game, we look back to the first time they faced each other with the old trophy at stake.

So, the idea was in lieu of the 108th Grey Cup matchup between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers we could look back to the first time they met in the Grey Cup game. But when was that? There is actually some debate. Ticats fans and the league office see it quite differently.

How can such a discrepancy exist? Quite simply, the Ticats trace their history back via the teams they were merged from. Whereas the CFL traces their history from the season the Hamilton Wildcats and Hamilton Tigers merged to form the Tiger-Cats.

You always remember your first time(s) -1935

If, as Ticats fans argue, you accept the Hamilton Tigers are integral to the Ticats history. And their results are therefore part of that history, then the first time Winnipeg and Hamilton played fot the Grey Cup was in 1935.

Just to blur the waters a little more, the Blue Bombers name wasn’t in use yet. Meaning this was a contest between the Winnipeg ‘Pegs and Hamilton Tigers!

The game was played in Hamilton. On the field at the Hamilton Amateur Athletic Association Grounds in front of 6,405 fans. Winnipeg ran out 18-12 winners of the 23rd Grey Cup game. It was a seminal moment in the history of Canadain football. First off it was the first time the Grey Cup was lifted by a team from Western Canada. Then it also marked the first time a team had won with American players in its lineup.

In fact key to the victory was import Fritz Hanson. The ‘Golden Ghost’ returned 13 punts for an impressive 334 total yards. With the score at 12-10 to Hamilton in the third, he ran in a 78-yard punt return touchdown that proved to be the decisive score. 

You always remember your first time(s) -1953

The amalgamation that formed the Tiger-Cats occured in 1950. Those early Tiger-Cats were very successful. They finished first or second in every year from 1950 to 1953 under head coach Carl Voyles. A run that culminated in the Tiger-Cats first Grey Cup title in 1953 – a win that came against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers by a score of 12-6.

The 41st Grey Cup played out in front of 27,313 spectators at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium. Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, this Grey Cup ended with a little controversy.

With Hamilton ahead 12-6, Winnipeg drove 98 yards to the Hamilton two. Where on the final play of the game a pass from Winnipeg QB Jack Jacobs to a wide open Tom Casey was thwarted by a tackle from Hamilton’s Lou Kusserow. Winnipeg fans argued vehemently that it was interference. But Hamilton fans said it was perfect timing. Which is what the refs went with as the amalgamated Tiger-Cats won their first Grey Cup.

There you have it. Two potential ‘first time(s)’ for fans to look back on. With a win apiece. The 108th Grey Cup meeting between these two will only add to the rich fabric and storied history between these two rivals in Grey Cup games. Let’s hope for a god one!

Banner Image: Star of one of the first time(s) they met in the Grey Cup – Winnipeg’s ‘Golden Ghost’ Fritz Hanson. Image from Bluebombers.com

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