Rod Smith

Rod Smith was born in Guelph, Ontario, but moved to Lakeview when he was only two.  After playing for the University of Toronto, Smith joined the Montreal Alouettes in 1949.

Rod Smith played only one season for the Montreal Alouettes in 1949, but he picked a great year to play.  It was the first Grey Cup win for the Alouettes who had been founded just three short years earlier in 1946.


Year Team GP
1949 MON 12


The following is from a newspaper article written about Rod Smith on November 21, 2012 by Staff Metroland News Service


Waterloo resident remembers his one glorious year in the CFL and Grey Cup

WATERLOO — Rod Smith is looking forward to watching the 100th Grey Cup this weekend — 63 years after winning the trophy himself.

The 90-year-old will see the Toronto Argonauts take on the Calgary Stampeders at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on Sunday, the same city where Smith grew up and eventually won Canadian football’s grand prize with the Montreal Alouettes in 1949.

Smith, who moved into an apartment in the Waterloo Heights retirement building in September after losing his wife Shirley to cancer in August, will enjoy the game from the comfort of his living room.

“I’ll be sitting right in this chair with my one son beside me,” says Smith, who has five sons scattered throughout southern Ontario. “And we’ll have some food sent up to go with a cold beer.”

Smith, who now uses a cane due to the arthritis in his knees, played just one season in the CFL as an offensive tackle for Montreal.

It was the first time Montreal appeared in the Grey Cup as the Alouettes and they upset the 13-1 defending champion Calgary Stampeders 28-15 at Varsity Stadium.

“It was a snowy day, the field was really cold,” recalls Smith. “We knew we were going to win the game pretty early on. We were a pretty capable football team.”

Smith hadn’t planned on playing professional football when he earned his civil engineering degree from the University of Toronto in 1946, but when he moved to Montreal three years later to start a new job he ran into some old high school teammates from Toronto.

One of them was Bob Cunningham, the star running back for the Alouettes. Before Smith knew it, Cunningham had convinced him to try out for the team.

“I was no big hero, I was just a journeyman lineman,” Smith says of his time in the CFL. “It’s not like I ran for 1,000 yards or anything.”

Smith played in an era that precedes the memory of most of today’s football fans. In a year when the Grey Cup is celebrating its centennial, nostalgia has never been more welcome.

Smith’s decision as a 27-year-old to quit pro football after just one season certainly calls to mind a different era in the game.

“If I wanted to eat I better keep working, and I wasn’t going to make a lot of money playing football,” says Smith, who remembers making $1,000 a year in the CFL as opposed to $6,000 working for an oil company.

“It’s much more professional and serious now. I mean most of them don’t even get a part-time job. When I was playing I think everyone had a part-time job.”

Money isn’t the only thing that distinguishes today’s version of the game from its past; the competition on the field has also improved by leaps and bounds.

“The biggest difference is that the athletes are bigger and faster. They have been coached and trained since they were little kids,” says Smith. “They’re more skilled. I mean I’m sure we had some guys that could play, but they would have had to do a lot more training.”

Smith ventured back to Montreal in 2008 to watch the Stampeders exact some revenge on the Alouettes with a 22-14 victory in the 96th Grey Cup.

“The one thing I noticed about the game I went to see in Montreal was that they stopped the game for commercials,” Smith says. “So there’s a commercial on the television but you know the players are standing around on the field.”

It’s just one of the many changes that have come to shape the game in the Grey Cup’s first 100 years. But while some things change, others don’t.

“I’m going to root for the Argonauts this year now,” says Smith, a longtime Alouettes supporter. “I can’t cheer for the West.”

Rod Smith
Rod Smith holding up his 1949 Grey Cup ring



Rod Smith 1947 Rod Smith January 26, 2014
Rod Smith, January 26, 2014
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