W. G. HARDY
The Western All-Star rugby team was selected for Maclean's by the following committee: W. L. Ross,
Calgary, past president, W.C.R.F.U.; John T. Thompson, Calgary, president, W.C.I.R.F.U.; F. C. Wilson, Regina, president, W.C.R.F.U.; N.J. Taylor, Regina, vice-president, W.C.I.R.F.U.; Frank Hannibal, Winnipeg, past president, W.C.I.R.F.U.; Wallace Brown, Winnipeg, vice-president, W.C.I.R.F.U. Selections for Maclean’s were also submilted by E. A. Armstrong, Herb Manning, Dave. Dryburgh and Bob Mamini, sports writers respectively of the Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg Tribune, Regina Leader-Post and Calgary Herald. A special committee of G. M.Bannerman, president, C.R.U., Joe Ryan, manager of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and John T. Thompson considered all cases where the vole of the. committee teas close. Thanks should also be extended to M. I. Lieberman, past president, W.C.R.F.U., for his consideration of the choices made. In intercollegiate rugby, A. W. Matthews, vice-president, W.C.R.F.U. and executive member of the C.R.U., and M. I. Lieberman submitted recommendations for honorable mention. Rugby at ¡be Coast was covered by Dr. Walter Sturdy, first vice-president, W.C.R.F.U., and Hal Straight, of the Vancouver Sun. Ken McConnell of the Edmonton Journal, as usual, gave valuable assistance.
THE SHADOW of war hung over Western rugby this season. During midsummer it seemed as if the senior “Big Four” of the prairies might not operate. After two years of competition the Edmonton Eskimos decided that, in view of the war, it was unwise to continue. In Regina it appeared that the Rough Riders could not field a team. But Coach Dean Griffing refused to lx* discouraged. With himself and Jimmy Lander the only two so-called “American imjx>rts” available, Griffing got together a team of homebrews that, under his coaching, and imbued with his fighting spirit, made the 1940 edition of the Rough Riders a constant menace. This year’s Regina senior team is also a stirring tribute to the value of the Regina Junior Dales, from whose ranks many of the seniors came.
As a result of Regina’s entry the “Big Three” of prairie rugby, the Calgary Bronks, the Regina Rough Riders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers, had a highly successful season. Out on the West Coast, however, rugby was very late in starting. It was not until well on in October that a threeteam league of Vancouver, Victoria and the University of British Columbia was organized. Once lx*gun, however, the attendance showed that, in spite of the war, the fans were hungry for sport. The Thanksgiving Day game in Victoria drew five thousand spectators.
Under the circumstances it is difficult to estimate the calibre of this year’s coast rugby, but advices from that region state that J<x* Keyes and Dave Jenkins, middles for Vancouver and Victoria respectively; Carney Smith and Vic Dale, halves for the same two teams; and Ernie Teagle and Roy Gorman, both backs for the University of British Columbia, all rate honorable mention in Maclean's. Of Gamey Smith, Hal Straight says that he would like to see him running behind a team like the Winnipeg Bombers, and of Vic Dale that in his first year out of junior this player is proving a flash.
The war also interfered sadly with intercollegiate rugby. By a decision of the university authorities, only recently rescinded, all Western intercollegiate sjx>rt was wiped out because of the necessity of training all male students in either the C.O.T.C. or the Non-Permanent Active Militia. As mentioned, the University of British Columbia entered the Coast League, while the University of Manitoba played in the Winnipeg Junior League and the University of Alberta entered an over-age team in the Edmonton Junior League. The University of Saskatchewan played games against the Regina Junior Dales and also against an Air Force team from Prince Albert, which included in its line-up Harry Guest, a star last season with the Regina Rough Riders. The winner of a home-and-home series between the Universities of Alberta and Saskatchewan for
Nominated by WESTERN CANADA RUGBY SELECTION COMMITTEE
Position Halfback Halfback Halfback Quarterback Flying Wing Snap
Inside Wing Inside Wing Middle Wing Middle Wing Outside Wing Outside Wing
Calgary Bronks Winnipeg Blue Bombers Calgary Bronks Winnipeg Blue Bombers Winnipeg Blue Bombers Regina Rough Riders Winnipeg Blue Bombers Regina Rough Riders Calgary Bronks Regina Rough Riders Calgary Bronks Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Height 6' 1" 6'
io Vi 10" 1" 1"
Weight 203 lbs. 183 lbs. 150 lbs. 180 lbs. 190 lbs. 200 lbs. 187 lbs. 175 lbs. 270 lbs. 252 lbs. 200 lbs. 190 lbs.
the Hardy Trophy, emblematic of the Western Intercollegiate Rugby Championship, will meet the University of British Columbia, present holders of the trophy, if the games can be arranged.
War Affects Line-ups
Many rugby players of the “Big Three” have joined Canada’s fighting forces. Jeff Nicklin, of the Blue Bombers, is a lieutenant with the Royal Winnipeg Riñes, and Eddie Kushner is a chief petty officer with the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. Similarly, from the Regina Rough Riders, Norm Beattie, Tom Burke, Jack Edmundson, Harry Guest, Lindsay Holt, Bert Nelson, Jim Partridge, Freddie Ray and Frank Stein are all with active service units. Of these, Ray, who is with the R.C.A.F.. is the University of South Dakota fullback who starred with the Riders when they won the Western title in 1936. From the Calgary Bronks, Paul Rowe, Louis Rimstad and Russ Rennie are with an anti-aircraft battery. Keith Gibson is with the R.C.A.F. in Toronto, “Gobbo” Gilkes is with the R.C.A.F. wireless school in Calgary, and Joe Turner, Irvine Kelsey and Charlie Harrison are all on call for the R.C.A.F. Mars and the god of rugby go well together.
Junior rugby in the West has become a big thing, and it is from junior clubs that Western senior clubs will draw more and more of their talent in future years. Back in 1934, when the first selection of Western Rugby All-Stars
for Maclean's vas made, the article predicted that the importation of Unit ed States rugby stars would both improve the star dard of rugby in Western Canada and also create interest in it among the youngsters. Helped by the war, this pred;ction iá now coming true. With U.S. importations practically stopped, the three senior teams have filled their ranxs more and more with homebrews, and yet the standard of rugby has not suffered. This year’s MafUan’s Western Rupby All-stars list contains the names of eight native bom Car adians.
The 1940 Alt-Sk.ro, a; in the past five years, have been picked from tne teams of the Western Conference, the committee, of course, bei.ig faced with the usual difficulties in choosing between players of almost equal ability.
One of the primary considerations was choice of the line, the bulwark behjnd which the attack is organized and also the first line of defense'against the enemy’s assaults. In Western rugby, with its ten yards interference rule, and its pro forward pass, the line must also be able to break up and smear or block enemy plays and, on offense, open the holes and provide interference for its team’s attacks.
At snap is big Dean Griffing. When at his peak—and Griffing retu-ned to his peak form this season—there is no centre in the West to match the Regina coach at either defensive or offensive play. Although Bennie Hatskin and Mel Wilson of the Blue Bombers, both Winnipeg homebrew?, and Cosgrove of the Bronks—converted this Contint ted on page 48
All-Star Football Teams—All-Western
-Continued from page 10 —-
season from an inside to a snap—all rate honorable mention, the choice of Griffing is unanimous. This is the fourth time this player, who came to Regina originally from Kansas State, has made his place on Maclean’s All-Stars.
To flank Grilling the committee has chosen as inside wings, Bill Ceretti of the Bombers and Maurice Williams of the Rough Riders. Ceretti was on Maclean’s 1938 All-Stars. A good blocker, fast at pulling out of the line to lead interference, equally fast downfield and a deadly tackier. Ceretti certainly rates his choice. Both he and his side-kick, Williams, are Canadians. Williams is a product of Regina Junior Dales and played with that team when it won the Dominion Junior title at Montreal in 1938. Still a junior when he joined the Rough Riders last season, he has really come to the fore this year. A close competitor for one of the inside wing positions was Jack Lawrence of Calgary, who is a fast charger and good on the tackle. Millman of Calgary, a hockey star who found rugby to his liking, and Pyne of Regina, are also given honorable mention.
When it comes to middle wings, the West presents two near-giants, Gordon Gelhaye of the Bronks and Toar Springstein of the Rough Riders. Their combined weight is 522 jxmnds. and their part of the line should be well-nigh impregnable. Of the two, Gelhaye, who came to the Bronks by way of the Edmonton Eskimos and to them from Minnesota—and who was on Maclean's 1939 All-Stars—is a practically unanimous selection. A sixty-minute player, and a tower of strength defensively, he is usually one of the first through the enemy’s line and is deceptively fast downfield.
His companion giant, Springstein, is, like Maurice Williams, a product of the Junior Dales and played on the Dales’ 1938 championship squad. Experts consider that the excellent showing of the Rough
Riders this season owes a good deal to these two. In addition to blocking and charging ability, Springstein has an educated toe and is, next to Kabat, the best placement kicker in the West.
Outsides Difficult Choice
IF THE insides and the middles are the battleships and cruisers of the line, the outsides are the destroyers. Here the choice boiled down rapidly to three—Larry Haynes, playing coach of the Bronks, and Marquardt and McCance of the Bombers. The committee was again practically unanimous in selecting Haynes for one of the berths. Born at Stavely, Alberta, this Canadian garnered his early rugby experience in the U.S. at Pullman High School and Washington State. In this, his fifth year with the Bronks, he found time off from his coaching chores to turn in his most consistent and brilliant season in pass-receiving, tackling and in defensive play.
The choice between Bud Marquardt and Ches McCance was difficult. They are ranked as practically equal. In the first game of the play-off in Calgary, Stevenson tossed a long forward pass to McCance, who completed for a gain of twenty yards. Then Stevenson tossed another to Marquardt, who in tum lateralled to Nicklin. These plays brought Winnipeg to the Bronks’ five-yard line, from which Stevenson, on the second play, went over for Winnipeg’s winning major score. In these circumstances the committee checked back carefully over the season and decided that McCance had the very slightest of edges over Marquardt. McCance is a product of Winnipeg’s Deer Lodge Junior team and is also one of the top-ranking basketball guards in the West.
Among the other ends of the conference, mention should be made of Hal Harrison of the Bronks and Martin of Regina, both of whom did good work.
Behind the line are, to change the ( metaphor, the galloping horsemen of i rugby. At quarterback the struggle lay \ between Wolfie Hughes, the alert field general of the Bronks, and Greg “Hardrocks” Rabat of the Bombers. Here the committee gave the nod to Rabat. This j player, originally from Wisconsin, is j probably the best blocker and the most j dependable all-round player in the West, and he is a leader who can inspire his men. * In addition, he is the best placement kicker in the West and in no less than three games ^ of the schedule his trusty toe provided t the Bombers with the difference between victory and defeat. With Rabat at t secondary defense the line is well backed ^ up. Appearing on Maclean’s 1934 selection as flying wing, he turned up last year at one of the inside wing positions. This year j he is an equal success at quarter, and has f been awarded the McRinney Trophy as the most valuable player to his team in the Western Conference.
When it came to the four backfield ( positions the committee, as usual, was s presented with a plenitude of stars from f which to choose. Joe Turner, a Calgary( born player who was with Queen’s last [ year, has been one of the best broken-field t runners in the league, is a sensational pass-receiver and excellent defensively. For the Bombers, Andy Bieber has been a ] smart and effective plunger; and, as ç always, it seemed difficult to leave the i “Golden Ghost,” Fritzie Hanson, off any ( All-Star Western rugby team. j
These three, then, were ail strong c competitors for berths in the backfield. Í Turner’s punting, however, has not been on t a par with his running. Bieber, although ] an effective plunger for the Bombers, i requires more assistance from the men in sfront of him than do some others; while 1 Hanson did not come out of retirement until part of the schedule was over, and his t work, although spectacular at times, was . c not as consistent as in former years. Í-
To achieve a well-balanced backfield, c therefore, the committee chose Paul Rowe 1 of the Bronks as plunging half, Art 1 Stevenson of the Bombers and Jimmy t
Gilkes of the Bronks as running halves, and Jeff Nicklin of the Bombers as flying wing.
TN THE backfield, as chosen, Western -*■ fans should find little to criticize. Paul Rowe, a Canadian-born player who earned his first selection on Maclean’s All-Stars last year, has not been as consistent in his play this season, possibly because of his duties as a lieutenant in an active service unit. The committee agrees, however, that he is still the most powerful plunger in the West, one who, if necessary, can pick or make his own openings and who is hard to stop. He is, as well, a good blocker and a fine broken-field runner.
The choice of Art Stevenson, either as quarterback or running half, is unanimous. Moved to the fullback position this season, Stevenson has turned in his best performance to date. His passing and running have been superlative, and he is the best all-iound punter in the league. Gilkes, a product of the Calgary Interscholastic grid, is a practically unanimous selection as his running mate. A fiery ballcarrier and Calgary’s leading scorer, he is fast, tricky, an exceptional blocker and the greatest opportunist in the league.
At flying wing Jeff Nicklin gets the nod. This Winnipeg “homebrew,” now a lieutenant in the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, started with the Bombers as an end and, as such, made Maclean’s All-Stars on two occasions. Last season he was moved into the backfield by Coach Threlfall and was chosen for the All-Stars again. A hard, speedy runner, a sure and punishing tackier, an excellent blocker, sound on pass defense and an exceptional pass receiver, he is rated as one of the outstanding Canadian-born footballers in the Dominion.
As earlier noted, eight of this year’s twelve are Canadian-born. Put Hatskin or Wilson at centre, Mogul as side-kick to Springstein, replace Rabat with Alexander of the Bronks, and Stevenson with Joe Turner or Andy Bieber, and we would have a club of All-Canadians who could do their rugby chores quite effectively.