The Fratmen franchise in Windsor, Ontario is one of the oldest in CJFL history playing their first season in 1945 as the Windsor AKO Fratmen. At that time they played in the Western Ontario Junior Ontario Rugby Football Union and played just four games. Clearly that first year was an indication of how strong the Fratmen would become after finishing their inaugural year undefeated at 4-0.
In their 72 year history the Fratmen have compiled an incredible overall regular season record of 396-151-14, while they are 73-57-1 in the post season. They are also the last Ontario team to win the CJFL Canadian Bowl which was an exciting accomplishment in 1999 on their home field.
Back in 1945 the undefeated Fratmen only played in their own division and despite finishing 4-0; they didn’t play another game that year. The following season the Fratmen finished 7-1, tied atop the standings with the Assumption College Purple Raiders. The pair met in the West Division semi-final where the Raiders beat the Frat in the best of three series 2-0 outscoring them 42-8.
The next season (1947) was a strange one. The Fratmen again faced the Raiders in the semi-finals and again the Raiders won. However the Raiders then declined to play any more playoff games so the Fratmen by default took their place. They went on to beat the Petroria Hard Oils 10-5 and punched their ticket the Ontario final. The game was played on December 13, 1947 and the Fratmen claimed the victory 11-2 over the Hamilton Jr. Wildcats thus beginning the bitter rival between Windsor and Hamilton.
In 1952 the Fratmen had their best season to date. At that time there were eight divisions across the country in the CJFL with the Fratmen playing in the Junior Ontario Rugby Football Union. The club finished 6-0 outscoring their opponents 237-26 in the process. In the post season they would defeat the Toronto Parkdale Lions 22-16 and the Lakeshore Flyers 22-6 to win the right to host the Canadian championship game, at that time called the Leader Post Trophy, today we know it as the Canadian Bowl. In front of 4300 fans the Fratmen won their first national title after beating the Edmonton Wildcats 15-12.
The following season the defending Canadian champions again had a magical campaign going undefeated in the regular season. Their playoff run saw them breeze through with wins over the Sarnia Knights, Hamilton Jr. Tiger-Cats and a 25-17 victory over the Quebec champion Verdun Sham-Cats. The Fratmen again found themselves in the Leader-Post Trophy game, however this time traveled to Saskatoon to meet the powerhouse Hilltops who clubbed the Frat 34-6 to dethrone the champs.
The 1954 season saw a familiar path for the Fratmen who for the third straight year were right back in the national championship game. They hosted the Winnipeg Rods and beat them 13-9 for their second Leader-Post Trophy in three years.
It was déjà vu all over again in 1955 when the Fratmen and Rods again played for the national championship title. However this time it was the Rods that came out victorious with a 19-13 win.
The Fratmen didn’t get back to the big dance again until 1996 when they fell to the Hilltops. However three seasons later the Fratmen won back the national crown with a thrilling 32-29 victory at home over the Okanagan Sun.
In all, the Fratmen have three national championship titles to their credit along with an incredible 21 Conference championships and 29 first place finishes.
Following the 2019 CJFL season another exciting and historical moment in the Fratmen history took place when the organization was purchased by the St. Clair College Student Athletic Association. This year if the season is played the franchise is now the St. Clair Fratmen dropping the AKO moniker. They will play their home games at the brand new Acumen Stadium which was finished in 2020.
Throughout their history the Fratmen have had some outstanding players in their program. Tommy Grant was a 1955 Conference All-Star that went onto play in 14 CFL seasons reaching the Grey Cup nine times, winning four rings. He ended his career with 54 touchdowns, 6542 yards on 329 receptions. He was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame in 1995. Jerry Kauric is also a former Fratmen that played on national stage in four seasons with the Edmonton Football Club. As a matter of fact he kicked a 49 yard field goal in the dying seconds of the 75th Grey Cup giving his Edmonton team a 38-36 win over Toronto in 1987. Three years later Kauric kicked for the Cleveland Browns in the NFL in 1990. They only won three games that season, two of them coming courtesy of a game winning kick by Kauric.
Today the Fratmen have two alumni on CFL active rosters including Dillon Grondin (LB) of the Hamilton Tiger Cats and Llevi Noel (WR) of the Toronto Argos.
In 2021 the Fratmen will again be led by long-time head coach Mike LaChance who enters his 18th season. This year however they will look a bit different in their new green and gold uniforms. The winner of the Ontario Conference this season will host the Canadian Bowl and the Fratmen and St. Clair College would like nothing more than to show off their new digs to the rest of the country in that game.
Quick Fratmen Facts:
Conference – Ontario Conference
Location – 2000 Talbot Rd, Windsor, ON
Head Coach – Mike LaChance
Stadium – Acumen Stadium
Social Handle - @stclairfratmen
Motto – Gold Standard
Primary Colours – Green & Gold
Photo courtesy of Boris Terzic
The CJFL is proud to announce the newest member of the Executive Board as preparation is moving forward to playing in 2021.
Mark Houlder who was instrumental in creating the GTA Grizzlies in 2014 and getting that franchise off the ground will join the CJFL Board. Mark most recently was the head coach of the Grizzlies, giving his players an opportunity to grow as a football player and person.
He has incredible experience at various levels of the sport including going pro.
Ryan Watters speaks to Mark about his new role with the CJFL and the Ontario Conference executive.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Hamilton
Junior football in Winnipeg has a long rich history dating back to 1893 in the Manitoba Junior Rugby Football Union (MJRFU). Winnipeg Collegiate School played in both the Spring and Fall Series.
In 1910 the team was called the Winnipeg Tigers and they went onto win their first league title beating their rivals the St John Royalists two games to one.
After a hiatus that began following the 1915 season the Winnipeg Canoe Club rejoined the league in 1920 but didn’t win a game. Then in 1922 the Winnipeg Victoria Bisons joined the league and went onto win the title 10-7 over the Tammany Tigers.
In 1928 the Winnipeg Argonauts won the league with a 4-0 record and went onto represent Manitoba in their first ever appearance in the Western Canada Championship. Unfortunately they were shutout by the Regina Patricias 28-0.
Two years later the city of Winnipeg had three teams competing in the MJRFU. The class of the league was the Winnipeg Native Sons of Canada who finished 4-0 outscoring the opposition 82-7 in the regular season. They would go on to capture the provincial title with an 8-1 victory over their cross town rivals Argonauts. They continued to roll by beating the Saskatoon Hilltops 25-10 to win their first ever Western Canada Championship. With that win they would punch their ticket to their first appearance in the Leader-Post Trophy championship game, what we know today as the Canadian Bowl. They traveled to Toronto for a tilt with the Toronto Junior Argonauts on December 6, 1930 but fell 7-1 in front of 3,914 fans.
Following the 1935 season the league became known as the Winnipeg Junior Rugby Football League in 1936 featuring four teams. A number of team names played in the Winnipeg league for the next few seasons until 1953. That season the existing teams joined others from Saskatchewan to become the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Junior Football League featuring four teams.
The 1954 season was big for the Winnipeg Rods finishing the regular season 6-1 and going on to win the Conference title. They would then beat the Calgary Bronks in the Western Canada Inter-Conference championship to punch their ticket the Leader-Post title game. They would travel to Windsor, but fell to the AKO Fratmen 13-9 in front of 4,000 fans.
The very next season (1955) the same two teams again met in the Leader-Post game but this time in Winnipeg and this time the Rods beat the Fratmen 19-13 to win the city’s first ever junior football championship. The Rods would then repeat as Canadian champions the next season with a 21-10 victory over the Toronto Parkdale Lions in Toronto in front of 3,952 fans.
Fast forward to 1994, the final season of teams from Manitoba competing in the CJFL. This hiatus would last eight seasons.
Finally 2002 a brand new franchise in Winnipeg was born; the Winnipeg Rifles. The rich history of junior football in Manitoba returns and becomes the sixth team in the Prairie Conference.
The team started slowly but did find themselves in the post season for the first time in 2004 season. The following season the Rifles had one of their best seasons to date finishing first with a 7-1 record and winning their first playoff game, a 39-22 victory over the Edmonton Wildcats. They then hosted the Edmonton Huskies, who ended the Rifles season with a 35-17 win before going onto win the Canadian Bowl that season.
Since becoming the Rifles the team has had a couple of different home fields including Investors Field, home of the Blue Bombers and now St. Vital Mustangs Field which is more adept to hosting junior football. They have also seen four players move onto playing the CFL including Kienan LaFrance from the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Zach Williams for the Calgary Stampeders, Samson Abbott for the Ottawa RedBlacks and Macho Bockru for the hometown Bombers.
One of the most exciting moments for the Rifles since 2002 has been their history making CJFL Inter-Conference game when they traveled to Ottawa to meet the Sooners, beating them handily. They would play a complete game in the nation’s capital.
Coming into the 2021 season there will once again be high expectation for the Rifles who will no doubt push for another Prairie Conference title.
Quick Rifles Facts:
Conference – Prairie Conference
Location – 100 Frobisher Rd, Winnipeg, MB
Team President – Dale Driedger
Head Coach – Geordie Wilson
Stadium – St. Vital Mustangs Field
Social Handle - @RiflesFootball
Motto – “I am Resilient”
Primary Colours – Black, Grey, Blue and Gold