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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

FRANK MCGILL

Inducted in 1959

Member Details

Date of Birth: June 20, 1894
Place of Birth: Montreal, Quebec
Date of Passing: June 28, 1980
Sport: Multisport
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1911

Canadian swimming champion - 100 yards freestyle and 440 yards freestyle

1913

Sir Vincent Meredith Trophy - MAAA's best all-around athlete

1919

Inter-provincial Rugby Football Union championship - Montreal Football Club (MAAA)

Honoured Member FRANK MCGILL
Inspire

Story


Frank McGill was an all-around sports star both before and after the First World War. He starred in four sports,football, hockey, swimming, and water polo,and was an accomplished athlete in high school, McGill University, and Montreal Amateur Athletic Association. He grew up in Montreal playing hockey for such teams as the Mod Emeralds, Knox Church, and the MAAA juniors, as well as his high school team. But it was while representing the famed MAAA that he made his mark. McGill excelled at aquatics and was a close friend of George Hodgson, another MAAA swimmer who won two gold medals at the 1912 Olympics. As a teenager, McGill was a national swimming champion. He travelled to Halifax in August 1911 for one of the national championships (a competitive "national" competition was also held in Ottawa that year). Representing the MAAA, McGill won both the 100 yards freestyle and 440 yards freestyle, and also finished third in the 100 yards backstroke. As well, McGill was on three MAAA water polo teams that captured national championships before the war, captaining one of them, and rejoined the team for two more Canadian titles after the war. In 1913, McGill was recognized as the MAAA's best all-around athlete and awarded the Sir Vincent Meredith Trophy. A year later, he graduated from McGill University's School of Commerce, although his attempts to establish a business career were halted by the First World War. McGill enlisted in the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915 and flew anti-submarine patrols over the North Sea. McGill returned to the MAAA and resumed his sporting life after the war, participating in two water polo championships. He quarterbacked the MAAA's team in the Inter-provincial Rugby Football Union, or Big Four. In 1919, he led the squad to the Big Four championship,there was no Grey Cup contest that year,in a legendary victory over the Hamilton Tigers. McGill realized that the Tigers' players were picking up the offense's signals so he began calling the plays in French catching the unilingual Hamilton defense unaware. McGill returned to quarterback the team in 1920, and half-a-decade later spurned offers from Tom Duggan, who was organizing franchises in New York, Boston, and Pittsburgh, to play professional hockey in the newly expanded NHL. After his playing career, McGill was involved in sports administration. He was a director and vice-president of the MAAA, sat on the advisory committee of the Canadian Olympic Committee, was president of the Big Four, and sat on the rules committee of the Canadian Rugby Football Union when it adopted the forward pass in 1929. He continued to serve with the Royal Canadian Air Force and during the Second World War rose to the rank of Air Vice-Marshall. He served as aide-de-camp for Governor General Viscount Alexander after the war.


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