Grey Cup 1933

1933 – Toronto Argonauts 4, Sarnia Imperials 3

Venue: Davis Field
Location: Sarnia, ON
Date: December 9
Attendance: 2,751
Winning Coach: Lew Hayman


The Grey Cup returned to its all-Eastern roots in 1933 after the Canadian Rugby Union decided to change its playoff format. The winner from Western Canada had been given a bye to the championship since 1921. This year it was decided that the winner from the West would face the Toronto Argonauts in a semi-final, while the Sarnia Imperials were given an automatic invite to the final.

The Winnipegs ended the Regina Roughriders’ reign out West, and faced Toronto in the semi. Although the �Pegs gave the Argos a scare, Toronto prevailed 13-0 to advance to the final.

Despite the advent of the forward pass, 1933 was the first time no touchdowns were scored in a Grey Cup. Toronto outlasted Sarnia in a defensive struggle, and although most people felt the Imperials proved themselves to be a better team, it was the Argonauts who were awarded the trophy.

The only Grey Cup ever staged in Sarnia was played on a frozen, snow-covered field. The Imperials dominated the first half, leading 1-0 at halftime. Sarnia added another point in the third quarter. But the complexion of the game soon changed, as Tuffy Griffiths blocked Bummer Stirling’s kick on the Sarnia 40-yard line, giving the Argos the ball. Jack Taylor took a lateral pass from Andy Mullen and ran 20 yards around the end. Teddy Morris then gained seven yards. With the ball straight in front of the goal posts, Tommy Burns lifted the ball between the uprights for a Toronto field goal.

Sarnia tied the score in the fourth quarter on a rouge, but Toronto answered back with a single of their own, which was helped set up by a Sarnia fumble. It turned out to be the winning point as the Argos held on to the win, but not before the Imperials threatened in the final minute. Rocky Parsaca threw a pass to Norman Perry, who ran across the field and down the sideline. Toronto’s Ab Box dove at Perry at the Toronto 45-yard line, but he kept going until he was finally stopped five yards from the goal line. But the ball was brought back to the Toronto 45 as referee Jo-Jo Stirrett ruled that Perry stepped out of bounds.

Box saved the Argonauts throughout the game. His long punts regained lost yards for Toronto, and on many occasions he proved to be the last line of defence, making huge tackles to prevent potential scoring plays for the Imperials.

Stirling kicked all three singles for Sarnia.