Chester (Ches) McCance

When people talked about Ches McCance, the two phrases that most often came up were "natural athlete" and "fun loving".  Besides his obvious involvment with football (8 years with Winnipeg and 5 with Montreal), McCance played basketball for Winnipeg St. Andrew's in several bids for a national championship, played on Quebec teams in the Canadian curling championship, and also played soccer and lacrosse.  In football, McCance was a two way end, and later played flying wing.  In 1941, McCance taught himself placekicking.  The fun loving side of McCance is best demonstrated by a now famous story of McCance on the way to the 1941 Grey Cup.  In those days, the West teams would make the long train ride East to play, and McCance had the habit of walking around bare footed.  On one trip through the dining car, McCance dipped his toe in the coffee cup of a startled diner and then called for the waiter to bring the diner another cup of coffee since this one was cold.   McCance was born in a rough part of Winnipeg where he was involved in a gang, and  football was a way to keep him out of trouble, or at least in not as much trouble.  McCance started his football career with Fred Ritter's Deer Lodge junior team in Winnipeg and in 1937, he and several teammates, including Les Lear, moved up to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. While toned down a bit, McCane was obviously not totally reformed as he and Lear and a couple of other former junior t eammates were suspended by coach Bob Fritz on a road trip to Calgary for not just breaking curfew, but shattering it.*  With the Bombers, McCance won Grey Cups in 1939 and again in 1941.  It was 1941 when McCance took up placekicking and in the 1941 Grey Cup, he kicked two fieldgoals, from 24 and 38 yards, and converted both Bomber toudchdowns as Winnipeg beat Ottawa 18-14. McCance was with Winnipeg in 1942 when the Winnipeg team, called the RCAF Bombers during the war, lost to Lew Hayman's Toronto RCAF Hurricanes.  McCance and the Bomber also lost again in the Grey Cup in 1943 to the Hamilton Flying Wildcats.  After the war, McCance joined the Montreal Alouettes in 1946 for their first season, and remained with the Als until 1950.  In 1949, McCance won his third Grey Cup as Frank Filchock led the Alouettes at quarterback, and McCance kicked seven points for the 28-15 victory over Calgary, coached by his old teammate Les Lear.  McCance won two West All-Star selections as an End in 1940 and 1941.  Unfortunately for all who knew him, Ches McCance died young, passing away in his sleep on May 8, 1956 at the age of 41.  Ches McCance was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1976 and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

* Information in this article was also taken from "The Grey Cup Story" by Jack Sullivan

Wikipedia Article on Ches McCance

Ches McCance in the Manitoba Sports HOF

Ches McCance in the Canadian Football HOF 

Colorful Ches McCance Dies - May 9, 1956. Montreal Gazette

Ches McCance, A Special Breed - November 13, 1974

Year Team GP
1937 WPG
1938 WPG
1939 WPG
1940 WPG
1941 WPG
1942 WPG
1943 WPG
1945 WPG
1946 MON 12
1947 MON 12
1948 MON 12
1949 MON 12
1950 MON 12

The games played stats are unofficail, and taken from the 2005 Montreal Media Guide.


Ches McCance from the Canadian Football HOF


Ches McCance


Ches McCance