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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

AL RITCHIE

Inducted in 1964

Member Details

Date of Birth: December 12, 1890
Place of Birth: Cobden, Ontario
Date of Passing: February 22, 1966
Sport: Football
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1925, 1928, 1930

Coached Regina to Memorial Cup

1929-32

Coached Regina to four consecutive appearances in Grey Cup game

Honoured Member AL RITCHIE
Inspire

Story

A man equally at ease on the gridiron or in the hockey rink, Al Ritchie was a proud westerner whose contributions to football and hockey made him legendary in Saskatchewan. After serving in the First World War, he returned to Regina to coach in the Saskatchewan League from 1919 to 1932. It was Ritchie who changed the team's name from Regina Rugby Club to Regina Roughriders, predecessors to today's Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL. Under his guidance the team advanced to four straight Grey Cup games, 1929-32, and although he lost each one he was proudest of the fact that he initiated, and made traditional, the concept of a western team playing an eastern team for the national football championship. While he devoted himself to the pigskin in the summer and fall, Ritchie donned skates in the winter and coached the Regina Pats, a junior team. Here he had equal success, leading the team to a Memorial Cup in 1925 and repeating as junior champions in 1928 and 1930. Ritchie coached in football twice more, in 1935 and again the next year, before retiring. Despite never having won that Grey Cup, he also left his mark by way of the rules committee. He negotiated for western football to reduce the number of men on the field from 14 to 12, a move the east later copied, and he changed the rule for interference from one yard to three to five. He also had the west using forward passes two years before the east adopted a similar rule. In addition to his coaching career, Ritchie was also a scout for the New York Rangers for some 30 years, assessing and discovering talent out west for the NHL team.


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