Honoured Member Paul Rowe named to another Hall of Fame
Stampeders' legend Paul Rowe named to yet another hall of fame
DARYL SLADE, CALGARY HERALD
October 2, 2015
More than six decades after he led the legendary, undefeated Calgary Stampeders to their historic first Grey Cup victory in 1948 and a quarter-century after his death, the honours continue to roll in for Paul Rowe.
The standout, two-way player with the Calgary Bronks from 1938-40 and Stampeders from 1945-50 is being inducted into the British Columbia Football Hall of Fame on Oct. 10 during the B.C. Lions game against Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
It will be Victoria native's eighth induction into a hall of fame, as well as being a charter member of the Stampeders' Wall of Fame in 1985.
"When Canadians start talking about the top 50 athletes of all time, he gets overlooked, but he keeps getting honoured by halls of fame all the time," said proud Calgarian son Bob Rowe, who was born on the morning the Stamps stunned the favoured Ottawa Rough Riders 12-7 to capture their inaugural Grey Cup.
"He played both ways and often kicked as well, rarely getting off the field."
Rowe was first selected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1964, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1974, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 1980 — both as an individual and with the 1948 Stampeders team — and the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in 1982.
Since his death in 1990 at age 73, Rowe was chosen in 2000 to the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame as an individual and with the YMCA track and field team and now into B.C.'s Football Hall.
Rowe, a punishing runner and tackler, was named as an all-star in the Western Interprovincial Football Union — now the Canadian Football League's West Division — six times. He also twice won the prestigious Dave Dryburgh Trophy as the league's leading scorer, in 1939 with the Bronks and in 1948 with the powerhouse Stampeders.
He was so revered that the Stampeders honoured him with Paul Rowe Day at halftime during their Oct. 9, 1948, game against Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Rowe didn't let it go to his head as he scored a pair of touchdowns to help his team win its ninth game in a row, 35-3, en route to a 12-0 regular season.
His football accomplishments would have been even greater if not for a five-year stint in the military during the Second World War.
Rowe was also an outstanding rugby player, leading the Crimson Tide B.C. select team against the New Zealand All-Blacks in the 1930s.
He was scouted by University of Oregon Ducks for his rugby prowess, having never played football at the time. But by his second year in school in 1937 he was an honourable mention All-American gridder. That caught the attention of the Calgary Bronks, forerunners of the Stampeders who ultimately folded after the 1940 season because of the war.
"In 1940, my father joined the army and in the prime of his life spent five years overseas," said Bob Rowe, who in 2012 wrote 'Pappy,' a biography on his famous father. "On the sunrise Dieppe raid, his landing craft engines failed and they never landed on the beaches. That saved his life.
"He played for the Canadian military football team that beat a U.S. military team in February 1944 in the Tea Cup Bowl 16-6 in London. The Americans won a rematch in March in White City Stadium. Spitfires flew over the stadium in both games to keep the German aircraft away. The exhibition games were designed to raise morale in the army. June 6 that year was D Day.
"After the Normandy Invasion the Canadians rolled through Holland, Belgium and Germany, where Rowe was wounded by a German 88 shell fragments in February 1945 and that ended his war."
However, following the war, Rowe returned to Calgary and suited up as a member of the inaugural Stampeders team that defeated Regina Roughriders in a two-game total-point semifinal to advance to the sudden-death western final in Winnipeg, which they lost on a late Blue Bomber touchdown.
However, the Stampeders would finally make it to the Grey Cup in 1948 and again in 1949, when they lost their title to Montreal Alouettes 28-15.
He retired after that season but was lured back after Calgary lost its first four games in 1950, then retired for good at the end of that season.
Following his football career, Rowe resided in Calgary with a brief interlude in Victoria.
ASHFM Gains Federal and Provincial Funding
Amazing announcements today regarding federal funding for local infrastructure improvement projects. Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program is awarding nearly $340,000 to improvements to Westerner Park, the Innisfail Legion, the Delburne Community Hall, and the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.
The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum will be using it's portion of the grant to expand it's Collections space in order to safely house the 12,000+ artefacts in it's Collection. Project date is expected to take place in 2017, so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming announcements regarding this project!