November 7, 2005

Grey Cup Memories: 1945

1945 – Toronto Argonauts 35, Winnipeg Blue Bombers 0

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 Canadian football classic, but on this occasion, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were no match for the Toronto Argonauts.

The Argos had finished in a tie with Ottawa in the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union with a 5-1 record. In the playoffs, Toronto defeated Ottawa then cross-town rival Balmy Beach to advance to the Grey Cup game against Winnipeg.

Toronto got down to business early on the frozen tundra of Varsity Stadium. Fred Doty and Doug Smylie ran for huge gains against the Winnipeg defence, and scored the only points Toronto would need when Smylie took a lateral pass and dashed across the goal line for a major.

The Argos increased their lead to 12-0 at the end of the first quarter when Joe Krol, formerly of the Hamilton Wildcats, threw a touchdown pass to Billy Myers.

Toronto was held off the scoreboard until the third quarter when Royal Copeland scored on a 13-yard end sweep. Smylie then scored his second touchdown of the game when he caught a short forward pass from Krol.

The Boatmen added two more touchdowns in the final 15 minutes of play. Krol showed his prowess on defence, hauling in a Winnipeg pass attempt and running 55 yards to pay dirt, out sprinting all of his pursuers.

Myers then scored his second major in the dying seconds on a 70-yard run, eluding a number of attempted tackles along the way.

The Blue Bombers got inside the Toronto 25-yard line only once during the entire game, then proceeded to fumble the ball back to the Boatmen.

The 18,660 in attendance were more interested in what they could do with the snow then what was taking place on it. Fans hurled snowballs around the stadium, including motorcycle cops who were clearing the field for the teams. One reporter unfortunately stopped one snowball with his face, resulting in a black eye.

The convert attempt on Myers' last touchdown was also delayed five minutes, as fans stormed the field. After many years at war, perhaps it was fitting that the crowd let loose.

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.