Inducted in 1991
Grey Cup - Toronto Argonauts
Annis Stukus Trophy for CFL's Coach of the Year established
Over the course of his lifelong career in sport, Annis Stukus played nearly every position on and off the gridiron. He was an athlete, coach, manager, promoter, reporter, and broadcaster. In each capacity, he left an indelible mark on Canadian football, championing the Argos to two Grey Cups, helping to establish two franchises in the west, and bringing an inside perspective to the sporting media. Before entering the world of sports, Stukus started working as a copy boy for the Toronto Star at the age of 15. He worked his way up through various departments before taking on sports writing in 1941. Meanwhile, "Stuke" was also busy climbing to the highest ranks in competitive football. Joining the Toronto Argonauts in 1935, he spent seven seasons as a star quarterback, place kicker, and versatile all-'round back, leading them to Grey Cup victories in 1937 and 1938. His two sporting careers often overlapped, as he was often called on to write game reports of matches he had participated in. Stukus played on a number of other local football teams before retiring from the field in 1946. In 1949, he was called to Edmonton to coach, manage, and promote the new Eskimos football franchise. Starting from scratch, Stukus helped the team reached the western finals in both its second and third years. He left soon after setting the Eskimos in motion but is credited with creating the dynasty that would go on to win three consecutive Grey Cups in the mid 1950s. In 1953, Stukus was recruited to start another fresh CFL franchise, this time in Vancouver. As head coach and spokesman of the new B.C. Lions club, he was instrumental in building local interest and support in a city that had never known a professional sports team outside of the Western Hockey League. After three years, he left the Lions and went back to his other life in the media. He was football editor for the Vancouver Sun before returning to Toronto in 1960 to become a columnist for the Toronto Telegram and sports commentator with CFTO. It wasn't long, however, before the hockey world began to take notice of Stukus' success in the football business. The Vancouver Canucks of the Western Hockey League lured him west again in 1967, where he was actively involved in the bid for an NHL franchise. In 1971, he became general manager of the Winnipeg Jets as they entered the World Hockey Association. It was in this capacity that he famously helped sign Bobby Hull to a million dollar contract. He also began to scout hockey talent in Sweden. After three years in Winnipeg, Stukus returned to Vancouver as sports director for CFUN radio. In 1974, he took on the responsibilities of promotion director for the Vancouver Whitecaps of the North American Soccer League. A captivating orator with a vast archive of sporting anecdotes, Stukus, also aptly known as the "Loquacious Lithuanian," was in demand as a speaker and story teller long after his retirement. In his honour, the Annis Stukus Trophy was established in 1961 and is presented annually to the CFL's coach of the year. For his incredible devotion and unparalleled contribution to the world of sports, he was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1974 and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1992.