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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

ANDY TOMMY

Inducted in 1976

Member Details

Date of Birth: December 24, 1911
Place of Birth: Hartland, New Brunswick
Date of Passing: April 23, 1972
Sport: Football
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1940

Grey Cup - Ottawa Rough Riders

Jeff Russel Memorial Trophy

1945

Grey Cup - Toronto Argonauts

Honoured Member ANDY TOMMY
Inspire

Story

A fleet running back and an exceptional athlete, Andy Tommy contributed to his country as much as to football. He grew up in Woodstock, New Brunswick and attended Woodstock High School and Mount Allison Academy in Sackville. Tommy was a talented all-'round athlete, excelling in rugby, basketball, baseball, and track and field. He moved to Ottawa in 1931 to take up a job with the Dominion Bureau of Statistics. Two years later, he was transferred to the Agricultural Division, responsible for dairy and poultry statistics. Tommy spent his entire professional career with the civil service. On the sporting fields, he continued, in the early 1930s, to play baseball and basketball for local senior teams, but it was at football that he excelled. Tommy played for the Ottawa Rangers in the Quebec Rugby Football Union in 1931 and 1932 before joining the Rough Riders of the Big Four in 1933. That season, Tommy set a Canadian record with a 120-yard touchdown run. The play was nominated for the highlight sporting event of the year and Tommy was a nominee for the Canadian Press male athlete of the year. He continued to star with the Rough Riders for the remainder of the decade. In 1936, he was an all-star at halfback and led Ottawa to the Grey Cup game where the Rough Riders lost a close contest to the Sarnia Imperials. Three years later, Tommy and the Rough Riders returned to the national championship game, only to lose by a single point to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on a snow-covered, frozen field in front of their hometown fans in Ottawa. Tommy's greatest season came in 1940. He was named captain of the Rough Riders, finished second scoring in the Big Four, and was again named an all-star as the Rough Riders captured the Big Four title. Tommy was named the recipient of the Jeff Russel Memorial Trophy as the league's most valuable player. The Rough Riders defeated the Ontario Rugby Football Union champion Sarnia Imperials in a two-game total-points series to determine eastern Canada's representative in the Grey Cup game. But, as a result of squabbles over rule differences between the eastern and western leagues, the Grey Cup was never contested and the championship was awarded to Ottawa in recognition of its victory over Sarnia. The Rough Riders returned to the Grey Cup game again in 1941, losing by just two points to Winnipeg, but the war in Europe had become a larger concern. Civilian football was suspended for the duration of the war, and though military teams contested the Grey Cup over the next four years, Tommy enrolled in the military. He never saw overseas duty but served as an instructor in the armoured corps. Tommy resumed his football career in 1945, commuting from Camp Borden to Toronto to play for an Argonauts team that won the Grey Cup that year. He returned to Ottawa following the war and spent two more seasons playing for the Rough Riders. Tommy remained in Ottawa following his playing career and continued his career in the civil service. He and his wife, Helen, herself an accomplished athlete, had three sons, all of whom were members of national ski teams and represented Canada at the winter Olympics.


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