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James, Gerry (1934–)

Born in Regina on October 22, 1934, Gerry James was one of the last Canadian athletes to compete simultaneously in two professional sports. At age 17, he signed with the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers and joined the roster for the 1952 season. The first recipient of the Schenley All-Canadian Award in 1954, he won the trophy a second time in 1957 after sitting out the previous season. James helped the Blue Bombers to Grey Cup titles in 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1962. He missed the 1963 CFL campaign, and played his last season of professional football with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1964. He holds the CFL record for most post-season games played with thirty-six. Beginning in 1951, James played four seasons of junior Hockey with the Toronto Marlboros, winning the 1955 Memorial Cup championship over the Regina Pats. He earned a spot on the roster of the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1955 to 1957, but split the following year between Toronto and the Rochester Americans minor league team before returning to the Blue Bombers. Although he missed the entire 1958-59 NHL season due to an injury sustained in a September 1958 CFL game, James won the 1959 Grey Cup with the Bombers and later helped the Maple Leafs reach the Stanley Cup final in April 1960. He became the only player in history to participate in the Grey Cup and Stanley Cup championships in the same season. After five seasons with the Leafs, James coached HC Davos in Switzerland and the Yorkton Terriers (1972–74, 1980–84), Melville Millionaires (1975–80), and Estevan Bruins (1984–87). He was also the Terriers’ owner from 1980 until 1984, and coach of the Western hockey League’s Moose Jaw Warriors in 1987–88. Gerry James was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Saskatchewan Sports Halls of Fame in 1994.

Daria Coneghan, Holden Stoffel

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Further Reading

Podnieks, A. et al. 2002. Kings of the Ice: A History of World Hockey. Richmond Hill, ON: NDE Publishing.
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