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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

PAUL ROWE

Inducted in 1975

Member Details

Date of Birth: January 25, 1917
Place of Birth: Victoria, British Columbia
Date of Passing: August 26, 1990
Sport: Football
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1939, 1948

Dave Dryburgh Memorial Trophy

1948

Grey Cup - Calgary Stampeders

Honoured Member PAUL ROWE
Inspire

Story

Paul Rowe began his career as an all-around athlete but ended it as one of the best fullbacks in Canadian football history. Rowe grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, as a star on the local youth sports scene. He was a track star with the YMCA's "Flying Y" club and also boxed. He played rugby well enough to earn a spot on a team that played a New Zealand All-Blacks side, and he earned a football scholarship to the University of Oregon. He received an All-American honourable mention after his sophomore season and was lured to Calgary to play Canadian football with the Calgary Bronks. It was while playing in Calgary that Rowe established his reputation as one of the most physical fullbacks in the history of Canadian football. In 1939, he was awarded the Dave Dryburgh Trophy as the leading scorer in the Western Inter-provincial Football Union (WIFU) and was named to the all-star team, a feat he duplicated in 1940. The Bronks ceased operation in 1941 and Rowe joined an army service team. Rowe joined the army in 1940 and spent five years overseas. In 1944, Rowe participated in a football exhibition game before 65,000 fans at White city Stadium in London between the Canadian Mustangs and the U.S. Pirates. The Canadian Mustangs won the game 16-6. After suffering shrapnel wounds in Germany, Rowe returned to Canada in 1945 where he resumed his football career with the Calgary Stampeders. On the field, he picked up where he had left off before the war. He was named an all-star again in 1946 and 1948, capturing his second Dryburgh Trophy in the latter season. But 1948 was memorable for Rowe for more than individual achievements. That season, the Stampeders went undefeated, 12-0, in the WIFU before traveling to Toronto's Varsity Stadium to face the Ottawa Rough Riders for the Grey Cup. The atmosphere in Toronto in the days leading up to the game are often cited as the first of Canada's festive Grey Cup weeks. During the game, thanks to a touchdown on the famous "sleeper play," the Stampeders completed their perfect season and captured Calgary's first-ever Grey Cup. Rowe played two more seasons for the Stampeders after the historic Grey Cup victory. He retired in 1950 due to his injuries and became a coach and advisor in the minor football association in Calgary that he had helped to found.


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