Joe Ryan

Joe Ryan was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1968 as a builder in 1968.  Ryan was born in Starbuck, Manitoba (about 15km from Winnipeg) in 1902. Naturally enough, Ryan began his football career in Winnipeg in 1931 where he would remain until 1941.  As part of the Winnipeg football scene, Ryan was there when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were formed by the merger of the Winnipegs football team with St. John's College in 1932, though the name "Blue Bombers" didn't appear until a few years later in 1936.  Ryan was also in Winnipeg in 1935 when the soon to be Blue Bombers won the first Grey Cup by the West.  With World War II in full swing in 1942, the WIFU suspended play, but Joe Ryan helped keeped football alive in Winnipeg by organizing a three team Winnipeg city league that included the Blue Bombers, the University of Manitoba and a military team called the RCAF Fliers.  Besides managing the Bombers, Ryan was also a sports writer for a Winnipeg newspapar, but in October of 1942 he moved to Ottawa to take a job with the income tax department.  By 1945, however, Ryan had moved to Montreal and became a director on the Montreal Hornets of the revived IRFU / Big Four.  By 1946, Ryan was working for Eric Craddock, a Toronto stockbroker.  When Craddock helped found the Alouettes, he naturally enough though of Joe Ryan and his football experience with Winnipeg and Ryan became involved with the Alouettes who succeaded the Hornets in the IRFU / Big Four. Ryan is sometimes referred to in newspaper articles as the Al's manager.  The term General Manager (GM) didn't really become widespread in football until the 1950s, but Lew Haymen handled the coaching and what would be considered the GM duties with the Als in the early years.  Ryan's role with the Alouettes was as the business manager and secretary-treasurer of the team though he also helped out with scouting and practices. It was probably Ryan's connections to Winnipeg that led to the first game played by the Alouettes being an exhibiton game in Winnipeg.  Ryan remained with the Alouettes until 1951 when Craddock sold his interest in the Alouettes.  There was a eleven year gap in the football career of Joe Ryan, but he resurfaced in Edmonton in 1960 as the GM of the Edmonton Eskimos, a post he held until 1964.  Joe Ryan passed away in 1979.

Ryan Makes Appeal To C.R.U. On Eligibility of Marting Gainor - December 5, 1938

Ryan Had 5 Year Plan For The Bombers - December 2, 1939

Ryan Says Winnipeg and West Could Still Have Team in Grey Cup - May 6, 1942

Ryan Heads East - October 21, 1942

Ryan Speaks! - November 19, 1942

Ryan In Ottawa - December 16, 1943

Ryan on the Montreal Hornets Board of Directors - September 26, 1945

Joe Ryan On The State Of Montreal Football - December 6, 1945

Big Four Alouettes Annouce Plans - Ryan mention as "manager"- May 21, 1946

Ryan Helps Oversee Als Practice with Hayman off Scourint - August 13, 1946

Ryan Pulling For Alouettes - November 25, 1949

Meet Mr. Football, Ryan Returns to Football - July 8, 1966

Little Joe Carries Plenty of Weight - July 14, 1966

Ryan Retired - February 8, 1967

Edmonton Bids Ryan Farewell - January 31, 1967

Joe Ryan In The Canadian Football Hall of Fame


Joe Ryan circa 1940

Joe Ryan From the Canadian Football HOF