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Way Back Wednesday: 1982

12/30/2020, 8:30am PST
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

An important year for Canadians

The year was 1982; it was a leap year that began on a Friday and the Year of the Dog.  There were four CJFL Conferences which included a total of 22 teams across six provinces.

During that season the Manitoba and the BC Conferences each played nine games in the regular season while the Ontario and Prairie Conferences played a 10 game schedule.  Speaking of the Ontario Conference they featured eight teams split into a pair of divisions, the East and West.  The winners of the East; the Montreal Jr. Concordes defeated the West champion Hamilton Hurricanes 29-21 in the Conference championship to move onto a national semi-final.

The Manitoba Conference was dominated by the Winnipeg Hawkeyes who finished 8-1 before destroying the St. Vital Mustangs in the championship game 47-1.  The Hawkeyes would face the Concordes in the semis.

In the Prairies the Saskatoon Hilltops and Regina Rams each finished 8-2 in the regular campaign and then would meet in the Conference final which the Rams won 21-17.  Meanwhile in BC the Okanagan Sun and Richmond Raiders both finished 7-2 but were no match for the 4-5 Renfrew Trojans in the playoffs.  The Trojans beat the Raiders 18-17 on a last-second blocked field goal, then the Sun 22-8 to win the right to face the Rams in a national semi-final.   They continued their hot play and snuck by the Rams 17-14 to win the right to host the Armadale Cup, now named the Canadian Bowl.

The other national semi-final saw a very tight game between the Concordes and Hawkeyes that finished in a 19-16 advantage for the lone team from Quebec.   They would then travel across the country to face the Trojans in Vancouver for the Canadian title; however it wasn’t a very fun trip.

The Trojans pounded the heavily-favoured Concordes 46-0 in front of 2877 fans to win their only national championship.  That Trojan team made such an impact that they were inducted into the BC Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

The night before the title game Ron Almeda of the London Beefeaters was named the Offensive Player of the Year, while the Defensive Player of the Year was handed to Larry Wruck of the Hilltops.  The defensive trophy is now named after Wruck.

Off the field, 1982 was filled with ups and downs.   Perhaps the most important event for us Canadians was the Constitution Act of ‘82.  The landmark document achieved full independence that allowed Canadians to change the Constitution without approval from Britain.  It also enshrined the Charter of Rights and Freedoms led by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.   Later in the year “Dominion Day” was officially renamed to Canada Day.

Elsewhere, Japan sold the world’s very first CD player, the weather channel debuted and a crowd of over 100,000 attended the first day of the “World Fair,” in Knoxville, Tennessee.    Prince William was born on June 21st in West London, ET: The Extra-Terrestrial was the top grossing movie with over $321M earned, the Commodore 64 home computer was launched in Las Vegas  leading to Time Magazine’s Person of the Year given to a computer rather than a person, and Michael Jackson released “Thriller.”

In the sports world, Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to a 26-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI.  In baseball’s fall classic, the St Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers in seven games in the World Series.  While in the Stanley Cup final the New York Islanders swept the Vancouver Canucks for hockey supremacy.

The final professional championship to be decided in 1982 was the 70th Grey Cup which saw the Edmonton Football Team win an unprecedented fifth straight title defeating the Toronto Argonauts 32-16.  Five straight championships continue to be a professional sports record.

All that was 38 years ago in 1982.

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