Venue: Varsity Stadium
Location: Toronto, ON
Date: December 5
Winning Coach: Lew Hayman
With Canadians serving on battlefields across Europe and the Pacific, the first ever non-civilian Grey Cup took place in 1942. The Western Interprovincial Football Union and Interprovincial Rugby Football Union suspended operations for the duration of World War II, as most of the players had signed on for military service.
The Toronto R.C.A.F. Hurricanes battled the Winnipeg R.C.A.F. Bombers on an icy field at Varsity Stadium in Toronto. Lew Hayman, winner of three Grey Cups with the Toronto Argonauts in the 1930s, coached the Hurricanes and improved his unblemished record in the big game.
Both offences had trouble in the first half, as Toronto could only muster a 2-0 lead in the opening 30 minutes of play. A couple of turnovers proved to be almost costly for both sides. Eddie Thompson’s poor lateral pass to Bill Stukus allowed Rube Ludwig to recover the ball for the Bombers on the Toronto 12-yard line. But Thompson made up for the miscue by intercepting Wayne Sheley’s intended pass for Chester McCrance. Thompson dashed 65 yards down field before being pushed out of touch by Johnny Lake.
Winnipeg finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter when Sheley completed a pass to Lloyd Boivin in the end zone. Don Durno blocked the convert attempt, keeping the score 5-2 in favour of the Bombers.
Toronto then took the lead for good. Don Crowe carried the ball 39 yards to the Winnipeg three-yard line before being tackled by McCrance. John Poplowski finished the scoring drive on his short run to the end zone, putting the Hurricanes ahead 7-5.
Crowe reeled off another big run in the fourth quarter, this time 37 yards to set up Toronto’s final point of the contest. Crowe kicked for the rouge, giving the Hurricanes a three-point win.
Winnipeg relied heavily on its passing game, while Toronto secured the victory on the ground. The Bombers gained 121 yards in the air, compared to the Hurricanes’ 22. Toronto rushed for 218 yards, while Winnipeg could only gain 75. Some believed that had the playing surface been better, the Bombers would have been able to out-perform the Hurricanes.
Across the ocean in London, England, Canadian servicemen and civilians were able to listen to a condensed version of the Grey Cup broadcast.