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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

TED REEVE

Inducted in 1959

Member Details

Date of Birth: January 6, 1902
Place of Birth: Toronto, Ontario
Date of Passing: August 27, 1983
Sport: Multisport
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1927, 1930

Grey Cup - Toronto Balmy Beach

1929

Mann Cup - Oshawa Generals

1930

Mann Cup - Brampton Excelsiors

1934, 1935, 1937

Yates Cup - Queen's University (coach)

Honoured Member TED REEVE
Inspire

Story

For over half a century, no one was more intimately involved with Toronto sport than Ted Reeve. As a player, organizer, coach, and sportswriter, Reeve was an iconic figure on the city's sports scene. He discovered organized sports watching lacrosse at the Scarborough Beach stadium in the eastern Toronto neighbourhood where he grew up. After starring locally, he soon became one of Canada's most sought-after lacrosse players. He led Oshawa to the Mann Cup in 1929 and Brampton to the same title a year later. Reeve turned professional in 1931 and joined the Montreal Maroons of the Eastern Canada Indoor League. But it is his association with football in Toronto for which Reeve is best remembered as an athlete. He began playing football with St. Aiden's in 1921, the year that the Toronto junior team won the Canadian championship. He then moved on to play senior football with the Argonauts club for a season. In 1924, he was instrumental in helping to form the Balmy Beach club in the eastern Toronto neighbourhood that he called home. Reeve starred with Balmy Beach's football club for the next seven years, during which time the team captured the Ontario Rugby Football Union championship five times (1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, and 1930) and won the Grey Cup twice, in 1927 and 1930. Lionel Conacher said of Reeve's athletic career that he "had all the requisites of a great athlete, except a body strong enough to carry out all the things his mind wanted to do." This was perhaps best exemplified during the 1930 Grey Cup game against Regina. Reeve sat out the first three quarters of the game, nursing a broken collar bone. However, with the Rough Riders gathering momentum late in the game, Reeve took the field on third down, charged through the Regina line, and blocked their punt. Balmy Beach recovered the ball and went on to win the game 11-6. After this game, Reeve penned the lines: "When I was young and in my prime / I used to block kicks all the time / But now that I am old and grey / I only block them once a day." His knowledge of the local sports scene and his gift with a pen had first brought Reeve to the attention of the Toronto Telegram, which hired him as a sports columnist beginning in 1928. While continuing at the Telegram, Reeve spent the 1930s coaching football, most prominently with Queen's University, where his teams captured the Yates Cup intercollegiate championship in 1934, 1935, and 1937. He briefly returned to coaching with Balmy Beach following the war, but it is as a sports journalist that Reeve made his mark after his playing days were over. His columns were peopled by the characters—chief among them Moaner McGruffey, Alice Snippersnapper, and Nutsy Fagan—that became local legends. Reeve continued to write his column, "Sporting Extras," until the Telegram folded in 1971, at which time he joined its successor, the Toronto Sun. During the Second World War, Reeve, in his late-thirties at the time, served as a gunner in the Sportsman's Battery, the 30th Light Anti-Aircraft, organized by Toronto Maple Leafs' owner Conn Smythe. Upon his return from the war, J.P. Fitzgerald, sports editor at the Telegram, noted: "Perhaps no athlete or sportsman in this city ever had a following like Ted Reeve, and certainly no sportswriter had or has." He is remembered with an east-end Toronto hockey rink named in his honour.


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