SPORTS

A Grey Cup full of Rain, Sleet, Slush and Hail

11/3/2006

When you hold a sporting event in Canada, outdoors in November the results can be pretty chilling. Well beyond seasonal norms, the Grey Cup’s tempestuous track record with wild unruly weather is on par with the Bermuda triangle.



When you hold a sporting event in Canada, outdoors in November the results can be pretty chilling. Well beyond seasonal norms, the Grey Cup’s tempestuous track record with wild unruly weather is on par with the Bermuda triangle. On November 19 expect the elemental havoc to be in full frigid force as Winnipeg’s wide open Canad Inns Stadium hosts the 94th edition of the CFL’s title game. But it’s going to have to be one helluvah storm to measure up to Grey’s 3 stormiest Cups.



The Mud Bowl (Grey Cup 38) Toronto, 1950


Grey Cup 1950 at Varsity Stadium—the first Grey Cup sell-out—may be the most memorable and certainly the muckiest Championship in Pro football history. It was late November, but the weather was unseasonably warm. A snowstorm had blanketed the field the night previous with six inches of snow and maintenance crews attempted to shovel it away. But the snow had already melting from the heat and it was too cumbersome to clear. Out came the plows and while that did the job it also churned up the field into a thick brown stew. “It was a quagmire, you couldn’t see the lines and the ball felt like soap” said Jim Volpe, who kicked two field goals in a 13-0 mud slinging drubbing ofWinnipeg. Argos quarterback Al Dekdebrun who scored the game’s sole touchdown on a QB sneak taped thumbtacks to his fingers so he could get a good grasp of the slippery pigskin.






The Fog Bowl (Grey Cup 50) Toronto, 1962


A packed house of 32,165, including then prime minister John Diefenbaker, gathered on a Saturday afternoon at Toronto’s CNE Stadium on the Lakeshore to watch the Winnipeg Blue bombers take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Little did they know the game would take over 24 hours to complete. Visibility started to get poor in the first quarter and the thick pea soup haze intensified as the afternoon wore on. With 9:29 left in the fourth and Winnipeg up 28-27, the mist was so bad fans could no longer make out the field and players couldn’t even see the ball so the CFL commissioner and the head referee decided to halt the game. 15 000 returned for the continuation the next day and were treated to gridiron gloominess to match the previous day’s weather as the ball barely budged and the score remained the same.



The Snow Bowl (Grey Cup 84), Hamilton, 1996


Despite having to trudge through a slippery snow covered gridiron to make yards the Toronto Argonauts and Edmonton Eskimos offenses managed to muster Herculean efforts. Argos Jimmy “the Jet” Cunningham tore through the turf like a polar bear with his eye on a school of plump arctic char in the end zone returning a punt 80 yards for a TD and Esky’s return specialist Henry “Gizmo” Williams wowed the 38,595 strong crowd with a 91-yard Grey Cup record -busting kickoff return. Throw in Argo kicker Mike Vanderjagt’s clutch footwork,good for five field goals, and Esky signal caller Danny McManus’ ray-gun precision and you have one frozen whopper of a football game with both teams combining for 80 points. In the end the boatmen weathered the winter wonderland more ably edging the Esky’s 43-37.

Copyright © Mike Dojc 2006

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