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Member Monday: Hamilton Hurricanes

03/15/2021, 11:30am PDT
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

A proud member of the CJFL since 1963

Since 1963 one of the class organizations of the Ontario Conference has been the Hamilton Hurricanes.  Each season the Hurricanes are at or near the top of the standings fighting for a Conference title.  In just their second season they finished with a 4-1-1 record and qualified for their first playoff appearance.   They lost that first playoff game, but it set the tone for the 1965 season.  They finished 8-2 and won their first playoff game that year, a 13-1 win over the Etobicoke-Lakeshore Bears and punched their ticket to the final.

In 1966 the Hurricanes claimed their first, first place finish with an 8-2 record, scoring the most points in the Conference, averaging 28 a game.  After beating Burlington in the semis 22-19, the Hurricanes would fall in the Conference final 38-37 in the two game series with the Weston Invictus Redmen.

After appearing in the Conference final five straight seasons, the Hurricanes finally tasted victory in 1969 beating the Burlington Braves 14-7 in the two game series.   Unfortunately for the Hurricanes they would fall in the Eastern Ontario semi-finals 29-23 to the Windsor AKO Fratmen.  This was the first chapter in the Hurricanes-Fratmen rivalry that has lasted ever since.

The 1972 season was perhaps the most memorable in Hurricanes history.    That year they crushed the West Division of the Ontario Conference with a 10-0 record outscoring the opposition 307-89.  In the semis they blasted the Oshawa Hawkeyes 59-0, and then beat the undefeated West Division champion Scarboro Rams 22-14 in the two game series.    Following that win, the Hurricanes beat the Quebec Conference champion Ottawa Sooners 11-7 in CJFL East championship and punched their ticket to the Leader-Post Trophy (Canadian Bowl) game in the neutral site of Saskatoon.   

In that national title game the Hurricanes faced the heavily favoured Regina Rams who had breezed through the regular season, Prairie Conference playoffs and destroyed the Vancouver Meralomes 57-14 in the Western Canada championship.   Despite the Rams pedigree the Hurricanes wouldn’t be denied and dominated the Rams for a 33-8 victory in front of 6,000 fans to win their first national championship.
Since that victory the Hurricanes have appeared in seven national championship games but have yet to reclaim the title.
In all the Hurricanes have 12 Ontario Conference titles and have finished first 11 times, the most recent in 2018 when they flew to Langley for the national semi-final game.

The Hurricanes have been fortunate to play the majority of their home games on a CFL field.  In the past they would host teams at Ivor Wynne Stadium and today they welcome in their Ontario Conference rivals to Tim Hortons Field, both the home of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.  In 2019 the Hurricanes played a couple of their home games in Brantford, 30 minutes from Hamilton at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Complex.  All of their locations have been outfitted in field turf.

Over the course of their history the Hurricanes have been blessed with several outstanding players.  Quarterback Jason Hayes helped them continue their winning tradition and is now their all-time winningest coach, Linebacker Aram Eisho is the only player to be named the CJFL Defensive Player of the Year three straight times from 2008-2010.  Quarterback Jake Marquette was named the CJFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2018 setting various team records.

Quick Hurricanes Facts:
Conference – Ontario Conference
Location – 64 Melrose Ave, Hamilton, ON
Hurricanes President – Mike Samuel
Head Coach – Jason Hayes, the team’s all-time winningest coach
Stadium – Tim Hortons Field
Social Handle – @CanesFootball63  / @HamiltonHurricanes
Motto – Do Work
Primary Colours – Black, Powder Blue, Orange, White

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