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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are a Canadian Football League team based in Hamilton, Ontariomarker, founded in 1950 with the merger of the Hamilton Tigers and the Hamilton Flying Wildcats. The Tiger-Cats play their home games at Ivor Wynne Stadiummarker. Since the 1950 merger, the team has won the Grey Cup championship eight times, most recently in 1999.

Including their historical lineage, Hamilton football clubs won league championships in every decade of the 20th century, a feat matched by only one other North American franchise in professional sports, the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings of the International League.

Team facts

Founded: 1950, a merger of the Hamilton Tigers (merged with the Hamilton Alerts) and the Hamilton Flying Wildcats.


Formerly known as: The Hamilton Tigers and Hamilton Flying Wildcats.


Helmet design: Black background with a leaping tiger


Uniform colours: Black, Gold and White.


Home stadium: Ivor Wynne Stadiummarker (1950–present), Hamilton Amateur Athletic Association Grounds (1872–1949)


Current Owner: Bob Young


Eastern regular season championships: 21—1950, 1952, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1970, 1972, 1980, 1981, 1984,1985, 1986, 1989, 1998, 1999


Grey Cup final appearances:: 29—1910—Tigers (lost), 1912—Alerts (won), 1912—Tigers (won), 1915—Tigers (won), 1927—Tigers (lost), 1928—Tigers (won), 1929—Tigers (won), 1932—Tigers (won), 1935—Tigers (lost), 1943—Wildcats (won), 1944—Wildcats (lost), 1953 (won), 1957 (won), 1958 (lost), 1959 (lost), 1961 (lost), 1962 (lost), 1963 (won), 1964 (lost), 1965 (won), 1967 (won), 1972 (won), 1980 (lost), 1984 (lost), 1985 (lost), 1986 (won), 1989 (lost), 1998 (lost), 1999 (won)


Grey Cup wins:: 15 (Alerts—1, Tigers—5, Wildcats—1, Tiger-Cats—8)


Main Rivals: Toronto Argonauts (see Labour Day Classic).


2009 Regular Season Record: 9 wins, 9 losses, 0 ties.


Logo

The Tiger-Cats logo for many decades was an exact mirror-image of the Princeton University Tigers athletic logo. The artwork for the original "leaping tiger" is claimed by Hamilton. Both logos have since been revised or replaced.

Franchise history

Early years

The history of Hamilton Tiger-Cats can be traced back to November 3, 1869 in a room above George Lee’s Fruit Store, when the Hamilton Football Club was formed. Known as the Tigers, they joined the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union in 1907. They also faced local competition with the Alerts, in which they won the first Grey Cup for Hamilton in 1912, beating the Toronto Argonauts 11–4. This was followed by the Tigers the following season (1913) when they beat the Parkdale Canoe Club by the lopsided margin of 44–2. Later, in 1914, both teams would merge under the moniker of Tigers. After World War II, the Tigers and the newly formed Flying Wildcats competed for fans, talent and bragging rights so great that neither team could operate on a sound financial level.

Under the guidance of prominent and distinguished local leaders such as Ralph "Super-Duper" Cooper and F.M. Gibson, it was decided that the two teams should merge as one that would represent Hamilton. The Tiger-Cats were born in 1950 with Cooper as team president and Carl Voyles serve as head coach and general manager.

Image:The Tigers of Hamilton football team.jpg|The "Tigers" of Hamilton, Ontariomarker circa 1906.Image:Ottawa and Hamilton Tigers football game 5.jpg|The Hamilton Tigers playing an unknown Ottawa team, 1910.Image:IvorWynneStadium Hamilton.jpg|Ivor Wynne Stadiummarker, home of the Tiger-Cats

A Steel Town dynasty (1950–1972)

The Ti-Cats had great success throughout the 1950s and 1960s, they finished first in the East thirteen times from 1950 to 1972. During that same timespan, they also appeared in eleven Grey Cup finals winning the championship six times. Players, such as Angelo Mosca, Bernie Faloney, Joe Zuger and Garney Henley became football icons in the Steel City. Their 1972 Grey Cup win, 13–10 over the Saskatchewan Roughriders, were led by two sensational rookies, Chuck Ealey who had an outstanding college career at the University of Toledomarker and Ian Sunter, an 18-year old kicker who booted the deciding field goal that gave Hamilton the cup.

During this era, the Tiger-Cats also became (and remain to this day) the only Canadian team to have ever defeated a current National Football League team; on August 8, 1961, they defeated the Buffalo Bills by a score of 38–21 (at the time, Buffalo was still a part of the American Football League).

Later years

In 1978, Toronto Maple Leafs owner, Harold Ballard assumed ownership of the Tiger Cats. Ballard claimed to be losing a million dollars a year. The Tiger-Cats contended on and off during the rest of the 1970s and 1980s, reaching the Grey Cup final in 1980 and winning the East Division by a mile in 1981 with an 11–4–1 record under head coach Frank Kush, but were stunned by the Ottawa Rough Riders, who finished a distant second at 5–11, in the East final. The Tabbies' defense was very stout, talented and hungry that decade, led by standouts Grover Covington, Ben Zambiasi, Howard Fields and Mitchell Price. They were complemented very well on offense with quarterbacks Tom Clements and Mike Kerrigan throwing to Rocky DiPietro and Tony Champion leading to three straight trips to the Grey Cup in 1984, 1985 and 1986, the latter resulting in winning the title over the Edmonton Eskimos by a score of 39–15. In 1986, Ballard publicly called the Tiger-Cats a bunch of overpaid losers. After the Tiger-Cats beat the Toronto Argonauts in the 1986 Eastern Final, Ballard said “You guys may still be overpaid, but after today, no one can call you losers.” A few days later, the Tiger-Cats won the 1986 Grey Cup by beating the Edmonton Eskimos 39–15; Ballard said it was worth every penny. Hamilton returned to the Grey Cup in 1989, but were on the losing end of a 43–40 thriller to Saskatchewan.

The 1990s were marked by financial instability, and constant struggles on the field. Quarterback was a weak spot for the Ti-Cats, as in the first half of the decade had names like Don McPherson, Damon Allen, Timm Rosenbach, Matt Dunigan, Lee Saltz and Todd Dillon taking their turns at the pivot. Despite the excellent play of Eastern All Star Earl Winfield rewriting the team's record books for pass catching, Hamilton struggled to attract crowds to Ivor Wynne Stadiummarker. It was not until 1998 with the arrival of head coach Ron Lancaster and the pitch-and-catch duo of Danny McManus and Darren Flutie plus the pass rush abilities of Joe Montford that led Hamilton back to the CFL's elite, reaching the Grey Cup finals in 1998 and winning the cup the following year.

Native Hamiltonian Bob Young has owned the Tiger-Cats since 2004, and although the team has had a resurgence in home attendance, corporate sponsorship plus a brand new "Tiger Vision" scoreboard at Ivor Wynne, it has struggled with its on field performance. Last place finishes both in 2005 (5–13) and 2006 (4–14), have resulted in an overhaul of the coaching staff for 2007. The moves still have not helped, as the team continues to lag in last place in 2007 and 2008 despite numerous apparent upgrades. In 2009, their fortunes turned around when they finished in second place in the East.

Broadcasters

Hamilton Tiger-Cats games are currently broadcast on CHMLmarker and CJXY-FM with announcers Rick Zamperin, John Salavantis, and Matt Holmes. Zamperin, CHML's sports director, became the play-by-play announcer in 2007 after six seasons as sideline reporter. Color commentator John Salavantis is a former football coach with the Tiger-Cats, Ottawa Rough Riders, Montreal Machine, and the Ottawa University Braves. CHML afternoon host Matt Holmes is the sideline reporter.

Tiger-Cats radio announcers

Years Flagship station Play-by-Play Color Commentator
1950–59 CHMLmarker Norm Marshall
1960-66 CHMLmarker Norm Marshall Perc Allen
1967-78 CHMLmarker Perc Allen John Michaluk
1979-83 CHAM Norm Marshall Bobby Dawson
1984-87 CHMLmarker Perc Allen John Michaluk
1988–92 CHMLmarker Bob Bratina John Michaluk
1993-96 CHMLmarker Bob Bratina Russ Jackson
1997–2001 CHMLmarker Bob Hooper Russ Jackson
2002-2003 CHMLmarker Bob Bratina John Salavantis
2004-2006 CHMLmarker Tim Micallef John Salavantis
2007 CHMLmarker Rick Zamperin John Salavantis
2008 CHMLmarker/CJXY Rick Zamperin Ron Lancaster
2009-Present CHMLmarker/CJXY Rick Zamperin John Salavantis


Players and coaches of note

Canadian Football Hall of Famers



Canadian Sports Hall of Famers



Current squad

Head coaches



See also



References

  1. The Tiger-Cats were founded in 1950 as a merger of the Hamilton Tigers (founded 1869 as the Hamilton Foot Ball Club,[1] later merged with the Hamilton Alerts) and the Hamilton Flying Wildcats.
  2. There is some contention regarding the number of times that this franchise has won the Grey Cup. Many people include all the teams that merged to form the team: Hamilton Tigers (5 championships), Hamilton Flying Wildcats (1 championship) and the Hamilton Alerts (1 championship) in addition to the 8 as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, while others do not agree and only count the wins since the 1950 merger.
  3. All Work and All Play: A Life in the Outrageous Sport, p.124, John Wiley and Sons Canada Ltd., Mississauga, ON, 2005, ISBN 0-470-83552-4


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