Two glimpses of Hamilton vs. Winnipeg in the Grey Cup game

December 9, 2021
Two glimpses of Hamilton vs. Winnipeg in the Grey Cup game


The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers are both headed to the 2021 Grey Cup game, and it’s a rematch of the last time the Canadian Football League championship took place. But for the 2021 match, Hamilton will have home field advantage.

There was no contest in 2020 due to the pandemic, and in 2019 Winnipeg won — meaning they’ve been keeping the trophy safe for two years now.

It’s not just the second time for these two teams, either. According to CBC Sports, this will be the tenth Grey Cup final between Winnipeg and Hamilton in the modern era. They went head-to-head in 1953, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, and 1962 (the year of the Fog Bowl in Toronto). 

And then there was 1965, the year of the so-called Wind Bowl, which also took place in Toronto. And in 1984 the two teams both went west to host city Edmonton.

1965: Battle in the wind

Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson attends the football championship in Hamilton, Ont. in 1965. 2:08

Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson had just formed his third consecutive minority government when he turned up at the 1965 Grey Cup game and declined to say if he was rooting for either team.

“I hope one team gets a majority of the points,” Pearson told host Johnny Esaw in an interview before the game. “I think the team that can hold the ball against the wind today ought to pull it off.”

Pearson, whose sports background included playing hockey at Oxford College in the 1920s, said he tried to keep up with Canadian football despite his busy schedule. He even went to live games in Ottawa.

“I watch all the games I can,” he said. “I get a great kick out of watching the games on television.”

In the end, Hamilton won the Grey Cup that year by a score of 22 to 16.

1984: ‘Cheap tickets’ in Edmonton

A Grey Cup win for Winnipeg in 1984

Football fans in Winnipeg celebrate the Blue Bombers’ victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in their first championship rematch since 1965. 2:01

Nineteen years later, Winnipeg got a chance at revenge at that year’s Grey Cup in Edmonton.

“Some call it the most unifying event in the country,” said host George McLean on CBC’s The National the night of Nov. 18, 1984. “Others just call it the Grey Cup game.”

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers had won their first Grey Cup in 22 years by a decisive margin of 47 to 17. And Winnipeggers were “celebrating with champagne” while people in Hamilton were “crying in their beer.”

Reporter Paul Workman found the host city of Edmonton was “cold and miserable” and speculated that might explain why the stadium “wasn’t full” and why there were so many “cheap tickets” for sale outside.

But he found plenty of colourful fans inside. Some Winnipeg supporters even tried to run onto the field after their team won.

“There’s something about the Grey Cup that makes people go a little crazy,” he said.

A ticket-holder unable to unload some unwanted admissions to the 1984 Grey Cup prepares to tear them in half. (The National/CBC Archives)


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