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Way Back Wednesday: 1972

12/16/2020, 9:15am PST
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

Paul Henderson becomes a Canadian Legend

The CJFL dials the clock back 48 years to 1972.  It was a year that saw the introduction of the first video game, Pong, HBO launched and of course Paul Henderson scored for Canada on September 28 to win the Summit Series.

On the gridiron the CJFL was five Conferences strong with a total of 28 teams stretching from British Columbia to Quebec.  The Ontario Conference accounted for 10 teams in two divisions including both the Hamilton Hurricanes and Scarboro Rams who each finished 10-0 in the regular season.  They would meet in the best two of three Conference final that the Hurricanes won.

The other four Conferences were the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference, the Quebec Conference, Alberta Junior and Big Four Conference in BC.

The Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference was compiled of four teams, two from Winnipeg along with the Regina Rams and Saskatoon Hilltops.  The Rams dominated and beat the Hilltops in the Conference final.

The Quebec Conference was also compiled of four teams that the Ottawa Sooners ended up winning after upsetting the top seeded Verdun Invictus.

In Alberta the Conference was made up of a pair of teams from Edmonton, a pair from Calgary and one from Red Deer.  The Calgary Carma Colts held on to beat the Edmonton Huskies two games to one to win the Conference title.  

Meanwhile over in BC the Vancouver Meralomas breezed through the regular season at 7-1 and beat the North Shore Cougars in the Conference final 26-6.

After the Conference champions were determined the CJFL national playoffs began.  First off in the East, the Hurricanes took on the Sooners in the CRU Junior Eastern Semi-Final.  In a defensive slugfest the Hurricanes came out victorious 11-7 winning the right to play for the national championship trophy, at that time called the Leader-Post Trophy.

In the Western Canada Championship the Meralomas took down the Colts 24-8, and then had to face the offensive juggernaut in the Regina Rams.  After beating the Hilltops in the Conference final the Rams continued to pile on the points beating the Meralomas 57-14 to win the right to face the Hurricanes in the Canadian championship.

Both teams had outstanding offences in 1972 and stifling defences.  The Hurricanes average 30 points a game and gave up only eight, while the Rams played two less regular season games and also averaged over 30 points a game and gave up nine.  

The Leader-Post championship was played in Saskatoon that season in front of 6,000 fans that saw the Hurricanes blow through the two-time defending champion Rams 33-8 to win the title.  The Rams were back in the championship game in 1973 to recapture their title.

Off the field in 1972, Apollo 17 landed on the moon and a pair of Olympic Games took place.  The Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, followed by a marred Summer Games in Munich, West Germany.  Those games were overshadowed by the Munich massacre in the second week in which 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed by Palestinian terrorists.

Also that year, US President Richard Nixon ordered the development of a Space Shuttle program in January which then led to the Apollo 17 mission in December.    At the movies The Godfather ruled the box office grossing $86,300,000 while Roberta Flack and her song The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face was the best on the Billboard Charts.  

Closer to home here in Canada, Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister and Global Television began broadcasting in Ontario.

Back on the field it’s interesting to note that just like the CJFL championship the 60th Grey Cup featured teams from Hamilton and Regina. The Tiger-Cats beat the Roughriders 13-10 in the final Grey Cup played in the month of December.  Down south the Dallas Cowboys beat the Miami Dolphins 24-3 in Super Bowl VI, the Boston Bruins defeated the New York Rangers to win the Stanley Cup and the Oakland A’s took the Cincinnati Reds down in seven games to win the World Series.   Other than the Summit Series the biggest sports news from 1972 was the Boston Marathon finally officially allowed women to compete.

All that was 48 years ago in 1972.

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