July 14th, 2024

Kelly’s CFL column comes to Lethbridge

By Lethbridge Herald on June 13, 2022.

      Hello Lethbridge CFL fans,

My name is Graham Kelly. Since 1972, I have been privileged to write a column on the Canadian Football League for the Medicine Hat News. I now have the opportunity to share my views with you, the good people of our Southern Alberta sister city, a community with a tremendous football tradition featuring the likes of Jim Whitelaw, Jim  Furlong and others.  All my wife Lorena’s  family live in Lethbridge, so your city has a special place in my heart.  

  I grew up eight blocks from Taylor Field in Regina. I first became directly involved with the CFL as a teenager working for the Saskatchewan Roughriders during the 1956-57 seasons as waterboy and assistant equipment manager.  My boss at the time Tare Rennebaum played for the team during and  after the First World War so I have been able to bring a 100 year perspective to Canadian football, especially as it unfolded on the prairies.

 From 1963-68 ,I covered the Riders for United Peress International. In 1968,  Lorena with our sons David and Robert moved to Medicine Hat to take up a position teaching Social Studies at Medicine Hat High School.  I have vivid memories of our team losing regularly to LCI and Catholic Central.

   The opportunity afforded me to write for the News opened many doors for me. As a member of the Football Reporters of Canada, I voted on the league awards and all-star teams.  I have personally covered 45 Grey Cups.  I have been part of TSN documentaries on the history of the CFL and I was one of the voters choosing TSN’s 50 Greatest CFLers of All-time.

 I have been fortunate to have seven books on the history of our game published including:  Grey Cup: A History, 1999, Johnson Gorman, Green Grit: The Story of The Saskatchewan Roughriders, 2001, HarperCollins, Grey Cup Glory! The Edmonton Eskimos’ 2003 Championship Season, 2003, Johnson Gorman, Greatest Grey Cups, 2005, Altitude Publishing, Go Stamps Go, the Story of the Calgary Stampeders, 2010, Panorama Press, Grey Cup 100, 2012, Full Court Press, and Saskatchewan Roughriders, The Players, the History & the Fans, 2012.     

  I was honoured to be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, media division in 2002 and on to the Medicine Hat Sports Wall of  Fame in 2016.  That same year I was inducted into  the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame as the  Bell Memorial recipient.

  It has been a great thrill for me to have made so many friends who played, coached and managed in the league, from Jackie Parker to Jon Cornish.  I am looking forward to passing on to you some insights about the CFL and my love of the game.

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