Ted Reeve

Last updated
Ted Reeve
Born:(1902-01-06)January 6, 1902
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died:August 27, 1983(1983-08-27) (aged 81)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Career information
Position(s) Running back
Career history
As player
1923 Toronto Argonauts
1924–1930 Toronto Balmy Beach Beachers
Career stats

Edward Henry "Ted" Reeve (January 6, 1902 August 27, 1983) was a multi-sport Canadian athlete and sports journalist. He was on two Grey Cup winning teams as a football player, a Mann Cup championship as a lacrosse player and three Yates Cup championships as a coach for Queen's University. He is a member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. As an athlete Reeve was noted for determination and inspiring team-mates. [1] He acquired the nickname "The Moaner" in later years after one of the characters in his newspaper columns, Moaner McGruffery.


Athletic career

Arena in Toronto's east end, named in Ted Reeve's honour Ted Reeve Arena.jpg
Arena in Toronto's east end, named in Ted Reeve's honour

Ted Reeve was one of Canada's best lacrosse players. [2] He won the Mann Cup with the Oshawa Generals in 1929 and the Brampton Excelsiors in 1930. [2] He turned pro with Montreal in 1931 in what was a new lacrosse league, but the league folded after one season. [3] [4] After serving in World War I, he attempted to break into professional football with the Canadian Rugby Union, precursor of the Canadian Football League. He first played for the Toronto Argonauts before winning the Ontario Rugby Football Union championship five times and then the Grey Cup twice in 1927 and 1930, all with the Balmy Beach club in Toronto. [2] Reeve played middle wing position with the Toronto Balmy Beach rugby team who were at the time one of the most powerful teams in Canada. [5] The often injured Reeve was admired for his toughness. During the Grey Cup final in the 1920s his Balmy Beach team was leading by a narrow margin late in the game when the opposition was preparing to kick the winning field goal. He had been forced to sit out most of the game due to a serious injury. Despite being injured he went on the field and blocked the kick. In his Toronto Telegram newspaper column the next day he wrote: [2] [6] [7]

When I was young and in my prime
I used to block kicks all the time.
But now that I am old and grey

I only block them once a day.

Sports writing and coaching

After retiring as an athlete he both wrote a newspaper sports column and coached football.

He was coach of the Queen's University football team from 1933 to 1938 where they won three Yates Cup championships the most famous of which was the 1934 victory by the 'Fearless Fourteen', a squad that dressed only 14 players all year owing to academic suspensions which Reeve refused to substitute for. [8] He then coached the Montreal Royals in 1939, the Toronto Balmy Beach in 1945 and 1946 and then the Toronto Beaches-Indians in 1948. [9]

He had been writing a weekly lacrosse column as early as 1921 when he was with the St. Aidan's junior rugby team in the Toronto Beaches. [3] He wrote for the Toronto Telegram from 1923 to 1971. In 1927 the Telegram decided to discontinue his lacrosse columns. While he was recovering from a broken leg, Reeve began to freelance his stories and sold a couple to a US publication. He received an offer to join the Telegram full-time because editor C.O. Knowles liked his style. [3] He was told, "have a crack at it. If you can't do it we'll let you out." His column Sporting Extras became known for its humour and was considered one of the finest sports features in Canada. [3] He received a National Newspaper Award for excellence in 1961. [3] [10]

Reeve had the reputation for living life to the full and his friends each had their own favourite "Ted Reeve" story they would tell. One such story is from the time he was covering the Stanley Cup playoffs involving the New York Rangers. The Toronto Telegram editors were finding that as the hockey series continued, the columns he was submitting from New York were becoming progressively shorter and shorter. They only later discovered that after each game he and the coach of the Rangers, Frank Boucher, would meet at Hogan's Irish House, a drinking establishment that apparently never closed. Eventually the paper's editors received his shortest column of all, consisting of just seven words: "They got me, boys, they got me." [6]

On another occasion, Reeve overheard the Telegram's sports editor complaining "that fellow Bassett", whom Reeve had never heard of before at the paper, was always asking them to get tickets for hockey games. That night in the VIP box at Maple Leaf Gardens, Reeve was introduced to Bassett and used the opportunity to deliver the reprimand, "You're the guy downstairs who's always bellyaching for tickets. Every time you get a couple from us, you're cheating some office boy out of them." The next day, Reeve discovered that John Bassett was about to be the new owner of The Telegram. [11]

When the Telegram went out of business in 1971, after writing for the paper for 50 years, he said "When I joined the paper they said it would be a full-time job." He then wrote for the Toronto Sun which was launched only two days after the closure of the Telegram. When staff at the Sun saw him arrive they stood on their feet and applauded, as his presence gave the fledgling paper legitimacy. [12] [13]

Reeve once lamented the trend of sports writers creating articles which simply consisted of nothing more than the coach's opinions on the game. "Many of the writers are little more than stenographers," he said. [3]

War record

Ted Reeve was a strong supporter of the Canadian war effort in both world wars. Although he was well past military age during World War II, he attempted to enlist, but he was rejected by the medical officers because he was suffering from arthritis and varicose veins . He joined the Toronto Scottish reserve and then underwent surgery for the varicose veins which allowed him to pass his medical. He joined Conn Smythe's 30th Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery as a gunner and went to France shortly after D-Day. [2] [6] [14] Reeve sporadically continued his columns for the Telegram, but they concentrated on the war instead of sport. These columns, of the experiences of the Canadian soldier in Europe, were very popular with Canadians at home. [15] While Reeve was a regular enlisted soldier and much older than many of the younger majors, captains and officers, they looked up to Reeve as a leader. [16] He was discharged from the army when his elbow was smashed by a flying rock. In November 1944, the Canadian Press story from the military hospital in Southern England where he was recovering reported that Reeve's greatest concern "is to get his haircut, because he wants to look his best when he meets his wife and the gang around Toronto's Balmy Beach." [17]

Personal life and death

Reeve was a lifelong Toronto Beaches resident. A rink in east Toronto is named in his honour. [2] From 1929 to 1932 Reeve coached football at Malvern Collegiate, a local area high school. They won so many championships under his guidance that the school board passed a ruling requiring that only teachers could coach. [12]

Later in life, he was troubled with arthritis from his numerous sporting injuries. It was said he had broken 47 bones over the course of his playing career. [3]

St. John's Norway cemetery in his beloved Beaches, where Reeve is interred along with his parents and wife. St John's Norway.jpg
St. John's Norway cemetery in his beloved Beaches, where Reeve is interred along with his parents and wife.

On Saturday, August 27, 1983, Ted Reeve died after a short stay in the hospital. Reeve was buried on a warm, rainy morning August 30 at St. John's Norway Anglican Church in his beloved Beaches area of east-end Toronto. [19] Attending his funeral were Lt. Gov. John Aird, Premier of Ontario William Davis, Mayor of Toronto Art Eggleton, Attorney General of Ontario Roy McMurtry, former NHL stars Ace Bailey and King Clancy, Commissioner of the Canadian Football League Jake Gaudaur, Harold Ballard owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs and many other sports figures. Rev. Bob Rumball of the Evangelical Church of the Deaf delivered the eulogy. He was survived by his wife Alvern, a son and a daughter. [12]

Honours and awards

Sporting achievements

Related Research Articles

Lionel Conacher Canadian athlete and politician

Lionel Pretoria Conacher, MP, nicknamed "The Big Train", was a Canadian athlete and politician. Voted the country's top athlete of the first half of the 20th century, he won championships in numerous sports. His first passion was football; he was a member of the 1921 Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts. He was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team that won the International League championship in 1926. In hockey, he won a Memorial Cup in 1920, and the Stanley Cup twice: with the Chicago Black Hawks in 1934 and the Montreal Maroons in 1935. Additionally, he won wrestling, boxing and lacrosse championships during his playing career. He is one of three players, including Joe Miller and Carl Voss, to have their names engraved on both the Grey Cup and Stanley Cup.

Albert George "Ab" Box was a Canadian professional football halfback, quarterback and punter.

Roy Alvin "Red" Storey, was a Canadian athlete, referee and broadcaster. He played football, lacrosse and ice hockey. While active as an athlete, he turned to officiating in all three sports and continued as an official after the end of his playing career. He is best known for being a referee for the National Hockey League professional ice hockey league. While he was a member of the Toronto Argonauts, the team won the Grey Cup Canadian championship twice. He later became a radio and television commentator for Canadian television.

The Ontario Rugby Football Union (ORFU) was an early amateur Canadian football league. As its name implies, it comprised teams in the Canadian province of Ontario. The ORFU was founded on Saturday, January 6, 1883 and in 1903 became the first major competition to adopt the Burnside rules, from which the modern Canadian football code would evolve.

Annis Stukus

Annis Paul Stukus was a Canadian football player, coach and general manager, and ice hockey general manager.

Mike Rodden

Michael James Rodden was a Canadian sports journalist, National Hockey League referee, and Canadian football coach, and was the first person elected to both the Hockey Hall of Fame (1962) and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (1964).

Lewis Edward Hayman was an American sports figure. He was one of the driving forces behind the Canadian Football League as coach, general manager, team president, and league president. As head coach, he was a five-time Grey Cup winner with three different teams. Hayman was a pioneer in bringing African Americans into the CFL, hiring one of professional football's first Black player, Herb Trawick, and coach Willie Wood. He was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

Hugh Gall

Hugh Gall was a Canadian football player considered to be one of the best runners and punters of his era.

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.

Allan Byron (Teddy) Morris was a Canadian Football Hall of Fame player and coach for the Toronto Argonauts.

Harry "Yip" Foster was a professional ice hockey player who played for the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers in the National Hockey League.

Norman (Norm) Perry was a star football player in the Ontario Rugby Football Union for the Sarnia Imperials for eight seasons. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1963 and into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.

Brian Mercer "Old Man of the Mountain" Timmis was a star senior Canadian football player in the Saskatchewan Rugby Football Union (SRFU) and Interprovincial Rugby Football Union (IRFU) for a combined 17 seasons, mainly for the Hamilton Tigers. He is a three-time Grey Cup champion as a player, having won with the Tigers in 1928, 1929, and 1932. He later coached the Hamilton Flying Wildcats, leading them to the 1943 Grey Cup championship. He was an inaugural member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1963 and was also inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. Brian Timmis Stadium in Hamilton, Ontario was named after him.

John DeGruchy was the president of the Ontario Rugby Football Union for 25 years, and he promoted the Thanksgiving Day Classic between the Sarnia Imperials and the Toronto Balmy Beach Beachers. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1963 and into the Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1975.

Juan Sheridan was a Grey Cup champion Canadian Football League player.

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.


  1. Kearney, Mark; Ray, Randy (1999). The Great Canadian Book of Lists. Hounslow Press. p.  270. ISBN   0-88882-213-8.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Honoured Members - Ted Reeve". Canada Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved Jan 3, 2010.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Golla, James (Aug 29, 1983). "The Moaner left mark on sports world". The Globe and Mail. p. S6.
  4. "Edward Reeve". B.C. Lacrosse Association. Retrieved Jan 3, 2010.
  5. "Ted Reeve Appointed Quen's Rugby Coach". The Evening Citizen. Ottawa. March 23, 1933. p. 8.
  6. 1 2 3 Frayne, Trent (Aug 29, 1983). "A rare, warm approach to life". The Globe and Mail. p. S1.
  7. note: The injury is referred to as a broken collar bone in his Canada Hall of Fame bio, but as a separated shoulder in the Globe newspaper story.
  8. Merv Daub, Gael Force: A History of Football at Queen's, 1996, pp.67-71
  9. Canadian Football Hall of Fame bio
  10. "list of winners since 1949". The National Newspaper Awards. Retrieved Jan 3, 2010.
  11. Siggins, Maggie (1979). Bassett. James Lorimer & Company. p.  92. ISBN   0-88862-284-8.
  12. 1 2 3 Howitt, Eaton (Aug 31, 1983). "Huge turnout for Ted Reeve funeral". The Citizen (The Ottawa Citizen)/Canadian Press. p. 50.
  13. "CFL Veterans". Canadian Football League. Retrieved Jan 3, 2010.
  14. "Photo Ted Reeve enlisting 1939". Ontario Government Archives. Retrieved Jan 12, 2010.
  15. Blackburn, George G. (1977). Where the hell are the guns?: a soldier's eye view of the anxious years, 1939-44. McClelland & Stewart Inc. p.  163. ISBN   0-7710-1504-6.
  16. Daub, Mervin (1996). Gael force: a century of football at Queen's . McGill-Queen's University Press. p.  75 (footnote). ISBN   0-7735-1509-7.
  17. "1944 Grey Cup: other interesting facts". Veterans Affairs Canada/Canadian Football League. Retrieved Jan 5, 2010.
  18. "Early Settlers & Influential People". Beaches Living Guide. Retrieved Mar 23, 2010.
  19. "Friends pay homage as Moaner buried". Toronto Star. Aug 31, 1983. p. F2.