Saskatchewan Roughriders banner.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders history began in 1910, when the Regina Rugby Club was formed. The rugby club was supposed to be a rowing club, but that plan was squashed when the club heard that rugby was coming to Regina. The rugby club's first colours were purple and gold. The purple and gold of the rugby club was not successful and they decided to change the colours to match the Regina Amateur Athletic Association (RAAA). The RAAA colours were blue and white. In 1912, a third colour change happened. From the blue and white, the colours for this club now became the red and white. Among the many colour changes that the rugby club endured, they were still known as the Regina Rugby Club, until 1924 when the Ottawa Rough Riders decided to change their name to the Ottawa Senators (this name change lasted from 1925-1930, and it was decided to return to the Rough Riders name).
The Regina Rugby Club.
Park Hughes, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
At the time of that change the Rugby Club jumped at the chance to become the Regina Roughriders. In 1948, the other rugby clubs in Saskatchewan (Moose Jaw and Saskatoon) folded, only leaving Regina as the only rugby club in the province. The Roughriders became owned by the province and thus became the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Also with the name change, the colours of green and white became a staple to the club.
Before the Saskatchewan Roughriders came into existence, The Regina Roughriders were going to Grey Cup games. Regina's first appearance as the Regina Roughriders was in 1923, when the Roughriders lost to Queen's University 54-0.
The 1923 Regina Roughriders.
The Leader Post
After that Grey Cup game, Regina made it to the Grey Cup a total of six times between the years 1928-1934 (1933 was the only year Regina did not make it to the Grey Cup). While Regina lost all of their Grey Cup games, they were still part of history. For example the 1928 Grey Cup game between the Hamilton Tigers and Regina was the first ever radio broadcast Grey Cup game. In 1929 when Regina was playing against Hamilton again, Regina quarterback Jack Campbell was the first ever player in Grey Cup history to throw a forward pass, and finally in 1931 when Regina was playing against the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (MAAA), the Roughriders were witnesses to the first ever thrown touchdown pass.
The 1929 Regina Rugby Club prior to the 1929 Grey Cup.
30 November 1929
Hamilton AAA Grounds, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
The Leader Post
The Saskatchewan Roughriders first season was in 1948 in which they finished the season with a 3-9 record and a second place finish in the Western Interprovincial Football Union. In the playoffs they lost to the Calgary Stampeders. In 1949, as like in 1948 the Roughriders once again finished in second place and lost to the Stampeders in the playoffs.
In the 1950 season, Saskatchewan once again was part of history. Saskatchewan and Calgary made the first ever trade in Canadian Football League History. Saskatchewan sent Bob Early and Wilf Godfrey for Calgary's Bert Iannone. As for the season itself, Saskatchewan finished the season with a 7-7 record and played a playoff game against the Edmonton Eskimos. In the playoff game, Edmonton defeated Saskatchewan 24-1.
In the 1951 season, Saskatchewan was a better team by finishing the season with an 8-6 record and made their first every Grey Cup appearance as the Saskatchewan Roughriders against the Ottawa Rough Riders. The effort resulted in a 21-14 defeat by Ottawa.
Lineup for the 1951 Grey Cup.
24 November 1951
Varsity Stadium, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
With hope to return to the Grey Cup in the 1952 season, Saskatchewan failed to do so, in fact they did not even make the playoffs by finishing with a 3-13 record and a fourth place finish in the union.
In the 1953 season, Saskatchewan finished with a much improved record by finishing the season with an 8-7-1 record and a second place finish. In the playoffs, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was their opponent in the two game series. Winnipeg defeated Saskatchewan by a combined score of 80-23.
In the 1954 season, Saskatchewan once again improved with a 10-4-2 record, but like the 1953 season, the Blue Bombers ended their playoff dreams. The same fate happened once again in the 1955 season.
In the 1956 season once again Winnipeg was their opponent in the semi-final matches. After many defeats by the Blue Bombers in the previous years, the Roughriders learned from their mistakes and finally defeated the Blue Bombers. In the west Final against the Edmonton Eskimos, Edmonton defeated the Roughriders two games to one in the best of three series.
In the 1957 season, Saskatchewan finished in fifth place with a 3-12-1 record. In the 1958 season, Saskatchewan returned to the playoffs with a 7-7-2 record but lost the semi-final to Edmonton by a combined score of 58-12.
In 1959, Saskatchewan finished with their worst record in team history by going 1-15. In the 16 games, Saskatchewan gave up a total of 567 points (35.4 points per game) and had a coaching change, replacing George Terlep with Frank Tripucka.
In the 1960s, Saskatchewan only missed the playoffs twice which was in 1960 and 1961.
In the 1962 season, the Roughriders finished with an 8-7-1 record and once again made it to the playoffs. In the total point series against Calgary, the Stampeders won the series, and eliminated the Roughriders from playoff contention again.
In the 1966 season, the Roughriders finished in first place for the first time since 1951 with a 9-6-1 record. With first place, Saskatchewan was in the west final against Winnipeg. In the end, Saskatchewan defeated the Blue Bombers 21-19 and was playing for the Grey Cup for the first time since 1951. Saskatchewan's opponent in the Grey Cup was the Ottawa Rough Riders. During the game, Saskatchewan and Ottawa were tied 14-14 at halftime, but in the second half Saskatchewan took the lead and never looked back as the Roughriders won their first Grey Cup when they defeated the Rough Riders 29-14 with help from their stars Ron Lancaster and George Reed.