1940 in Canadian football

Last updated
1940 in Canadian football
IRFU Champions Ottawa Rough Riders
ORFU Champions Toronto Balmy Beach Beachers
28th Grey Cup
ChampionsOttawa Rough Riders
  1939 Canadian Football Seasons 1941  

The only two-game total point series in Grey Cup history was played between the Ottawa Rough Riders and the Toronto Balmy Beach Beachers. It was Ottawa's first Grey Cup championship since the Senators won back-to-back titles in 1925 and 1926. It was Balmy Beach's fourth and final appearance at a Grey Cup, winning two times in four opportunities. [1]

Grey Cup Championship game and trophy of the Canadian Football League

The Grey Cup is the name of both the championship game of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the trophy awarded to the victorious team playing in the namesake championship of professional Canadian football. It is contested between the winners of the CFL's East and West Divisional playoffs and is one of Canadian television's largest annual sporting events. The Toronto Argonauts have the most Grey Cup wins (17) since its introduction in 1909, while the Edmonton Eskimos have the most Grey Cup wins (11) since the creation of the professional CFL in 1958. The latest, the 106th Grey Cup, took place in Edmonton, Alberta, on November 25, 2018, when the Calgary Stampeders defeated the Ottawa Redblacks 27–16.

Ottawa Rough Riders former Canadian Football League franchise

The Ottawa Rough Riders were a Canadian Football League team based in Ottawa, Ontario, founded in 1876. Formerly one of the oldest and longest lived professional sports teams in North America, the Rough Riders won the Grey Cup championship nine times. Their most dominant era was the 1960s and 1970s, a period in which they won five Grey Cups. The team's fortunes waned in the 1980s and 1990s, and they ultimately ceased operations following the 1996 season. Five years later, a new CFL team known as the Ottawa Renegades was founded, though they suspended operations in 2006. The Ottawa Redblacks, who own the Rough Riders intellectual properties, joined the league in 2014.

The Toronto Balmy Beach Beachers were a Canadian football team based in Toronto, Ontario and a member of the Ontario Rugby Football Union, a league that preceded the Canadian Football League. They appeared in four Grey Cup championships spanning three decades and were the longest tenured member of the ORFU.


The Canadian Rugby Union arranged the series after it refused to allow the WIFU winners, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to compete in the final. The reason for the refusal was based on the WIFU season being played under rules that varied from IRFU rules. [2]

Football Canada

Football Canada is the governing body for amateur Canadian football. It is Canada's representative member of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), the world's governing body for American football, although it focuses primarily on the Canadian form of the game. Football Canada is headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers Canadian Football Team

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are a professional Canadian football team based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They are currently members of the West Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). They play their home games at IG Field after many years of playing at the since demolished Canad Inns Stadium.

Regular season

Final regular season standings

Note: GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PF = Points For, PA = Points Against, Pts = Points

Western Interprovincial Football Union
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 86201085812
Calgary Bronks 844079768
Regina Roughriders 826039924
Interprovincial Rugby Football Union
Ottawa Rough Riders 65101164010
Toronto Argonauts 642058798
Hamilton Tigers 624045734
Montreal Football Club (Bulldogs) 615039662
Ontario Rugby Football Union
Toronto Balmy Beach 6600751212
Sarnia 2/26 Battery 642059368
Hamilton Alerts 514016492
Camp Borden 50507600

*Bold text means that they have clinched the playoffs

A tie game between the Hamilton Alerts and Camp Borden was ordered to be replayed but was cancelled.

BCRFU - Three V League
Victoria Revellers440044148
UBC Thunderbirds413025422
Vancouver Bulldogs413014272

Grey Cup playoffs

Note: All dates in 1940

Division finals

WIFU Finals – Game 1
Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ Calgary Bronks
November 2 Winnipeg Blue Bombers 7 Calgary Bronks 0
WIFU Finals – Game 2
Calgary Bronks @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers
November 9 Calgary Bronks 2 Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23

The Columbus Bullies were a professional football team founded by Phil H. Bucklew in Columbus, Ohio in 1938. The Bullies started out as a member of the American Professional Football Association (APFA) in 1939. Later, in 1940, the Bullies joined the Cincinnati Bengals and Milwaukee Chiefs in leaving the APFA and becoming charter members of a new American Football League. Playing in Red Bird Stadium, the Bullies won both AFL Championships prior to ceasing operations when the AFL disbanded due to World War II. The Bullies defeated the Milwaukee Chiefs in 1940, and the New York Americans in 1941 in the only two AFL Championships.

American Football League, also known retrospectively as the AFL III to distinguish it from earlier organizations of that name, was a major professional American football league that operated from 1940–1941. It was created when three teams, the original Cincinnati Bengals, the Columbus Bullies, and the Milwaukee Chiefs, were lured away from the minor-league American Professional Football Association and joined three new franchises in Boston, Buffalo, and New York City in a new league. It competed against the National Football League (NFL), the oldest existing professional football league, established 1920 and reorganized 1922.

ORFU Finals – Game 1
Sarnia 2/26 Battery @ Toronto Balmy Beach
November 16 Sarnia 2/26 Battery 0 Toronto Balmy Beach 12
ORFU Finals – Game 2
Toronto Balmy Beach @ Sarnia 2/26 Battery
November 23 Toronto Balmy Beach 24 Sarnia 2/26 Battery 0
IRFU Finals – Game 1
Toronto Argonauts @ Ottawa Rough Riders
November 16 Toronto Argonauts 1 Ottawa Rough Riders 12
IRFU Finals – Game 2
Ottawa Rough Riders @ Toronto Argonauts
November 23 Ottawa Rough Riders 8 Toronto Argonauts 1
  • Ottawa won the total-point series by 20–2. Ottawa will play Toronto Balmy Beach (ORFU Champions) in the Grey Cup game.

Grey Cup Championship

November 30

28th Annual Grey Cup Game – Game 1: Varsity StadiumToronto, Ontario

Ottawa Rough Riders @ Toronto Balmy Beach Beachers (ORFU)
Ottawa Rough Riders 8 Toronto Balmy Beach Beachers (ORFU) 2
December 7

28th Annual Grey Cup Game – Game 2: Lansdowne ParkOttawa, Ontario

Toronto Balmy Beach Beachers (ORFU) @ Ottawa Rough Riders
Toronto Balmy Beach Beachers (ORFU) 5 Ottawa Rough Riders 12
Ottawa won the total-point series by 20–7.

The Ottawa Rough Riders are the 1940 Grey Cup Champions

1940 Interprovincial Rugby Football Union All-Stars

NOTE: During this time most players played both ways, so the All-Star selections do not distinguish between some offensive and defensive positions.

Andrew Bailey Tommy Sr. was a star professional Canadian football player for eleven seasons for the Ottawa Rough Riders and one season for the Toronto Argonauts. Tommy led his team to two Grey Cup wins, in 1940 and 1945. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1989 and into the Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1976.

Anthony Charles "Tony" Golab, was a Canadian football halfback and flying wing who played in the Ontario Rugby Football Union and Interprovincial Rugby Football Union for 11 years with the Sarnia Imperials, Ottawa Rough Riders, and Ottawa Uplands. He was born in Windsor, Ontario.

Gerorge Fraser was a Canadian football player, playing from 1932 to 1945.

1940 Western Interprovincial Football Union All-Stars

NOTE: During this time most players played both ways, so the All-Star selections do not distinguish between some offensive and defensive positions.

Gregory Stanley Kabat was a running back who played eight seasons for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. He helped the Blue Bombers to two Grey Cup championships in 1935 and 1939. Previously, he played college football for the University of Wisconsin, where he was an All-American on 1932. Kabat was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1966.

Jeff Nicklin Canadian football player and soldier

Lieutenant Colonel Jevon Albert "Jeff" Nicklin OBE was a Canadian Army officer and football player. He fought during World War II and was one of the first Canadians to jump on D-Day, 6 June 1944, and led the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion in the Battle of the Bulge and later when it jumped into German territory in Operation Varsity during the final stages of the war in March 1945. Nicklin was killed in action during the operation.

Melvin "Fritz" Hanson was a Canadian football player for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Calgary Stampeders. Hanson was signed by the Blue Bombers for $125 a game and free room and board, which was a considerable sum in the cash-strapped dirty thirties. Nicknamed the 'Galloping Ghost', 'Twinkle Toes', and the 'Perham Flash', Hanson was one of the pioneers of football in Western Canada and a huge star at the time. Although he weighed only 145 pounds (66 kg) he used his incredible quickness to evade defenders. He helped lead the Blue Bombers to the first Grey Cup victory by a western Canadian team in 1935 and won again with the Bombers in 1939 and 1941. In the 1935 Grey Cup Game Hanson had an incredible 334 punt return yards on 13 returns, a record that still stands today, including a sensational 78-yard return for the winning touchdown. He played with Winnipeg from 1935 through 1946 then spent two years playing for the Calgary Stampeders, where he won a fourth Grey Cup in 1948.

1940 Ontario Rugby Football Union All-Stars

NOTE: During this time most players played both ways, so the All-Star selections do not distinguish between some offensive and defensive positions.

Donald Crowe, was a Canadian football player who played for the Ottawa Rough Riders and Toronto Argonauts. He won the Grey Cup with the Rough Riders in 1951. Crowe grew up in Toronto and attended Danforth Technical High School, playing junior football there. He also previously played football with the Peterborough Orfuns and the Toronto Balmy Beach Beachers of the Ontario Rugby Football Union. Crowe also played lacrosse and ice hockey for the Peterborough Petes and Canadian Army teams. A Royal Canadian Air Force veteran, Crowe was the a co-captain of the Toronto RCAF Hurricanes team that won the 30th Grey Cup in 1942. In 1999, Crowe was inducted into the Peterborough & District Sports Hall of Fame.

Eddie Thompson was a halfback in the Ontario Rugby Football Union. He served in World War II and lost his life during it.

Frank Seymour was an Australian rules footballer who played with Carlton and Fitzroy in the VFL and Northcote in the VFA.

1940 Canadian Football Awards

Related Research Articles

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The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were once again permitted to challenge for the Grey Cup following a rule dispute a year earlier. In a meeting of the previous two Grey Cup champions, the Blue Bombers prevailed, sending the coveted mug west for the third time.

With Canadians serving on battlefields across Europe and the Pacific, the first ever non-civilian Grey Cup took place in 1942. The Toronto RCAF Hurricanes defeated the Winnipeg RCAF Bombers on an icy field at Varsity Stadium in Toronto.

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Football returned to relative normal in 1945 following the conclusion of World War II. Two rivals from the pre-war years met once again in the annual Grey Cup, but on this occasion, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were no match for the Toronto Argonauts. For Winnipeg, it was the worst loss by a western team in the Grey Cup since 1923 when Queen's University routed the Regina Roughriders 54-0.

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The Calgary Stampeders had an opportunity to defend their Grey Cup title in 1949, but the Montreal Alouettes returned the trophy to Quebec for just the third time in its history.

After a 17-year absence, the Saskatchewan Roughriders returned to the Grey Cup final. Their losing streak in the big game continued, however, as it was the other Rough Riders that took home the prize.

The Toronto Argonauts faced the Edmonton Eskimos in the Grey Cup. Although the Argos would hold on to win the game and their 10th Grey Cup championship, an Argo would not sip from the silver mug again until 1983.

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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Grey Cup.


  1. "Grey Cup Memories: 1940". CFL.ca. 2005-11-02. Retrieved 2019-10-05.
  2. "Year". www.cflapedia.com. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  3. Braunwart, Bob (1979). "All Those A.F.L.'s: N.F.L. Competitors, 1935-1941" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 November 2010. Retrieved 31 October 2019.