|Canadian football Hall of Fame player and subsequent author, reporter, poet! and highly regarded knowledgeable expert on the sport, Ted Reeve selected this All-Star team for Liberty Magazine in 1938.|
Independent selection of All-Eastern teams by the media appears to have began sometime in the late twenties with a more or less official Canadian Press team being announced from 1932 in the East and 1937 in the West. These teams were often featured as stories in the news magazines of the times (with colour accents!) and are attractive and historically interesting items.
|Maclean's nominated their own All-Star team selected by a different sports reporter in 1938. It is not known if these various team selections were somehow merged to create the Canadian Press team or if they were independently determined.|
Maclean's magazine is of course well known here but others like Liberty and New Liberty are hard to track since internet searches of any kind are always inundated with the American versions of the magazine and almost no results about the Canadian. In general the wealth of obtainable information and pictures relating to Canadian football in vintage news magazines and newspaper supplement magazines has not been documented to any reasonable degree.
By the mid fifties specific football magazines targeted at fans were being produced and in some cases selecting their own "All-Canadian" teams as it seems the Canadian Press teams were still limited to just the IRFU team in the east and the WIFU team in the west.
|Normie Kwong appears in his All-Star colours on the cover of Canadian Football Illustrated for 1956 and included was a story on the new innovation from 1955, the very first Canadian Football All-Star game.|
From 1955 through 1958 four All-Star games pitted the East against the West sponsored by the Shriner hospitals for sick children. The games were played in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Hamilton and all were in December meaning the weather conditions were usually a negative factor.
The fifties All-Star games were not particularly well-attended and since so many of the players were American imports they would not all have normally stayed in the country anyways after the season was over. The games were discontinued after 1958 with the West claiming a 2-1 edge with one tie.
From 1962 the Football Reporters of Canada began selecting an official All-Canadian team on Offence and Defense which corresponded with the recent adoption of an interlocking schedule among the two conferences.
In 1970 the All-Star game was resurrected under the auspices of the CFL Players Association with the format being the previous season's All-Stars from all teams combining forces against the reigning Grey Cup Champions at the home field of the champions.
These games continued in the champs versus everybody else format for five years with all of the games happening in the pre-season. The League won 3 of the contests with the Stampeders and Rough Riders winning the other two.
In 1976 the format reverted to East (1 win) versus West (2 wins) for the next three years in pre-season, followed by a 4 year gap before another post season December game but this time indoors at brand spanking new B.C. Place Stadium (West win).
|1978 All-Star program from Calgary and 1983 All-Star program from Vancouver|
The last CFL All-Star game was held in 1988 in June at Commonwealth Stadium where the CFL All-Stars defeated the reigning Grey Cup champion Eskimos. Of course CFL All-Star and All-Canadian team selection continued but in true Canadian Football fashion at some point the CFL Players Association began selecting their own All-Star team (voted on by the players themselves) meaning there were more than one group of selections in certain years.
There used to be a list of some years of these selections on one of the two CFLPA (and ProPlayers) websites and there used to be lists of the CFL selections on their website but they all seem to have disappeared now. These more modern All-Star teams spawned additional collectibles that I will cover in a future blog post.