In this environment, the chance to see each year's crop of exciting new players show their capabilities under game conditions, was a pretty exciting prospect for local supporters, as well as a valuable measurement tool for the coaching staff. So the intrasquad exhibition football game, pitting one half of the training camp team roster against the other half, became a mainstay occurrence for several decades. Keep in mind that only two of the nine CFL cities had NHL teams during this time and football was therefore the dominant sport that fans in most of the cities could actually attend in person.
Once the fans were at the game they would naturally need a lineup in order to tell players apart on the two teams and to be able to attach names and numbers to those athletes that showed potential for the upcoming campaign. Hence the intra-squad program was born, usually just a couple of pages long, identifying the players and sometimes including player pictures and local advertising. As you can imagine these would have been printed in much fewer numbers than the regular programs and the survival rate was low, making for a very interesting and challenging to acquire collectible.
Since I feel I have not had a chance to focus much on Winnipeg material so far in the blog, this post will look at all of the Bomber programs that I am aware of and just illustrate a few from each of the other teams where available. The first Blue and Gold intrasquad program is from 1957 although the other pictured program whose year I don't know might be older. Khartum Temple is a Shriner's organization in Winnipeg that used to sponsor various games at Winnipeg Stadium as part of their charitable activities.
In 1962 ceramic bobbleheads came to the CFL and while they were probably not a game-day giveaway like today's sports promotions, a Bomber version did make the cover of the intrasquad program. Also pictured is the same (or close) first generation Winnipeg bobblehead. All information that is known about the myriad types and variations of CFL bobbleheads will be included in Collecting Canadian Football - Volume 3.
1966 is the last image I have for Winnipeg but the Blue and Gold games with programs likely continued at least into the early seventies.
1963 top, 1965 Bottom
Finally in Calgary no specific intrasquad game programs appear to have been produced but from 1963 to 1965 the intrasquad lineups were inserted into the team media guides on different paper stock than the rest of the guide pages.
In fact intrasquad games never disappeared completely although it would be unlikely to find a game program issued after the seventies. Many teams continue the tradition to this day but any promotional material created is of a digital nature.