Melvin (Fritz) Hanson

In the early 1930s, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were tired of losing to the Regina Roughriders and decided to do soemthing about it.  What  they did was to recruit some top notch imports and the best of them was Fritz Hanson, out of North Dakota.  Hanson weighed only 145 pounds, but had incredible speed and elusiveness which earned him nicknames like "The Galloping Ghost," "The Golden Ghost," "Twinkle Toes" and the "Phantom Flash." Hanson joined the Blue Bombers in 1935 and helped lead Winnpeg to the first Grey Cup by a West team, upsetting the Hamilton Tigers 18-12.  Hanson would go on to play with Winnpeg until 1941 when World War II got in the way and Hanson joined the Canadian Army.  Hanson briefly returned to play for Winnipeg again in 1945, playing in at least one exhibiton game before his Army duties forced him to retire for the season.  In the 7 years from 1935 to 1941, the Bombers went to the Grey Cup 6 times, missing only once in 1936.  Besides 1935, the Bombers and Hanson won two other Grey Cups in 1939 and 1941. That first win in 1935 was the big one though and while very few stats are available from that era, Hanson had over 300 yards in punt returns that game including a 78 yard return for a touchdown. Hanson won West All-Stars (there were no Canadian All-Stars until 1962) in five straight years from 1937 to 1941.  Hanson would go on to finish his career with the Calgary Stampeders in 1947 and 1948.  The 1948 season provided a suitable bookend to his first year in 1935 as the Stampeders were undefeated and went on to Win the Grey Cup.  That Grey Cup was memorable both for the Stampeder fans riding horses into the lobby of the Royal York Hotel and for the sleeper play that won the Stampeders the game.   Fritz Hanson was an easy choice as an inaugral member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1963.  Fritz Hanson passed away on February 14, 1996.

Fritz Hanson In The Canadian Football Hall of Fame

Fritz Hanson in Wikipedia

Fritz Hanson and the 1935 Grey Cup

Hanson Leads Bombers To Grey Cup - December 7, 1935

Pegs To Start Season Without Flash Halfback - August 28, 1940

Hanson Will Play Again In Fall - May 1, 1941

Hanson Marries - April 11, 1942

Hanson In Army Camp - May 1, 1942

Hanson Back With Bombers - September 21, 1945

Hanson Hangs Up Cleats - October 5, 1945


Year Team GP PTS
1935 WPG 3 5
1936 WPG 8 15
1937 WPG 8 16
1938 WPG 4 31
1939 WPG 12 41
1940 WPG 4 10
1941 WPG 6 10
1945 WPG 0 7
1947 CAL
1948 CAL

No official games played stats were kept in the West until 1964.  These numbers are unofficial and compiled from newspaper accounts.

Fritz Hanson from the Canadian Football HOF