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The Montreal Alouettes ( ) are a Canadian Football League team based in Montrealmarker, Quebecmarker

The current incarnation of the Alouettes moved to Montreal from Baltimoremarker, Marylandmarker, in 1996 where they had been known as the Baltimore Stallions. The CFL considers all clubs that have played in Montreal as one in their league records, including those of the original Alouettes (1946–1981), the Montreal Concordes (1982–1986) and the Baltimore Stallions (1994–1995). The Alouettes, however, do not recognize the Baltimore franchise, or its records, as part of the official team history. All incarnations of the franchise have won the Grey Cup a total of six times, excluding the Stallions who have captured a championship as well, giving them seven overall.

The Alouettes' home field is Percival Molson Memorial Stadiummarker for the regular season and Olympic Stadiummarker for the playoffs. The Alouettes played in the 96th Grey Cup at Olympic Stadium on Nov. 23, 2008 in which they lost to the Calgary Stampeders. On November 29th 2009, the Montreal Alouettes won the 2009 Grey Cup in Calgarymarker against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Team facts

Founded: The original Montreal club was founded on April 8 1872. The original club was renamed as the Montreal Alouettes (Skylarks or Larks in English translation) in 1946. However, the original Alouettes club ceased operations following the 1981 season and was replaced by a new team, the Montreal Concordes, which played from 1982 to 1985. The Concordes were rechristened the "new" Alouettes for the 1986 season, but ceased operations the day before the 1987 season was due to start, on the Quebec national holiday, June 24. The Baltimore Stallions were founded in 1994 and moved to Montreal in 1996 to become the third team to take the Alouettes name.

Formerly Known as: Montreal Concordes (1982–1986), Baltimore Colts, Baltimore CFL Colts, Baltimore CFLers, Baltimore Football Club (1994)*, Baltimore Stallions (1995).
:*The team was originally to be known as the Colts, but had to change its name following an injunction from the NFL Indianapolis Colts, who used to play in Baltimore.

Helmet Design: Silver background with a blue "A" and a charging skylark (alouette) holding a football.

Uniform Colours: Blue, red, silver and white

Home Stadium: The Alouettes play at the Percival Molson Memorial Stadiummarker for the regular season, while they play at the Olympic Stadiummarker for playoff games and usually the regular season finale.

Past Stadiums: Delorimier Stadiummarker (1946–53), Percival Molson Memorial Stadiummarker (1954–67, '72, '98— ), Autostade (1968–71, 1973–76), Olympic Stadiummarker (1976–86, 1996–97), Memorial Stadium marker (1994–95)

East Division Regular Season Championships: 15: 1946, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1977, 1979, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009

Southern Regular Season Championship (as Baltimore Stallions): 1: 1995

Grey Cup Appearances:
Alouettes: 16: 1949 (won), 1954 (lost), 1955 (lost), 1956 (lost), 1970 (won), 1974 (won), 1975 (lost), 1977 (won), 1978 (lost), 1979 (lost), 2000 (lost), 2002 (won), 2003 (lost), 2005 (lost), 2006 (lost), 2008 (lost), 2009 (won)
AAA Winged Wheelers: 1: 1931 (won)
Baltimore Stallions: 2: 1994 (lost), 1995 (won)

Main Rivals: Toronto Argonauts, Edmonton Eskimos

2009 Regular Season Record: 15 wins, 3 losses, 0 ties

Franchise History

Canadian football has a long history in Montreal, dating to the 1850s. The Alouettes were first formed in 1946 by CFL hall of famer Lew Hayman. They named themselves after the famous work song "Alouette" (about a lark bird), which has become a symbol of the Québécois. (Similarly, during the Second World War the RCAF's 425 Bomber Squadron assumed the lark as its badge and the motto "Je te plumerai"—I shall pluck you".) They won their first Grey Cup championship in 1949, beating Calgary 28–15 led by quarterback Frank Filchock and running back Virgil Wagner.

The 1950s were a productive decade for the Als, with legendary quarterback Sam Etcheverry throwing passes to John "Red" O'Quinn, "Prince" Hal Patterson, and with Pat Abbruzzi carrying the ball, Montreal fielded the most dangerous offence in all Canadian football. From 1954 to 1956, they reached the Grey Cup in three straight years, but questionable defensive units led the Alouettes to defeat against the Edmonton Eskimos all three times.

The team was purchased in 1956 by Ted Workman - and while the team continued to enjoy success, that all changed at the end of the 1960 season. To be more specific, the team was shaken by an announcement on November 10 - namely the trade of Hal Patterson and Sam Etchevery to the Hamilton Tiger Cats for Bernie Faloney and Dan Paquette. Workman had concluded the deal without consulting with his General Manager (Perry Moss). Moss had just signed Sam Etcheverry to a new contract with a no trade clause. Trading a player with a no trade made him a free agent, and the deal thus crumbled. The deal was reworked and Patterson was traded for Paquette. Sam Etcheverry went on to play in the NFL with the St. Louis Cardinals for 2 years (1961 and 1962) followed by the San Francisco 49'ers in 1963. Faloney remained in Hamilton, and teamed with Patterson to form one of the most deadly quaterback-receiver combinations in CFL history

This episode remains one of the most lopsided trades ever made in the Alouettes history, and it ushered in a dark decade for the team, who not once registered a winning record throughout the 1960s. From 1968 to 1976 the team played in the Autostade stadium—which had been built as a temporary stadium for Expo 67. The stadium's less-than-desirable location on Montreal's waterfront near the Victoria Bridge led to dismal attendance, putting more strain on the team's finances.

In 1969, Workman sold the team to the highly capable Sam Berger, the former owner of the Ottawa Rough Riders. Berger made immediate changes to the team. On December 9, the team announced that Sam Etcheverry was returning to the organization—this time as the team's new head coach. The team also unveiled new uniforms—their home jerseys were now predominately green, with red and white trim. The white helmets with the red "wings" used during the 1960s also disappeared, to be replaced by a white helmet with a stylized green and red "bird" - in keeping with the team's lark tradition. As one might expect from a team that had won only two games in 1969, many new players were brought in.

The changes paid immediate dividends. Although the team finished third in the 1970 regular season, they defeated the Toronto Argonauts and the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the playoffs. The 1970 season culminated when the Alouettes won the 58th Grey Cup, played on November 28 at Toronto's Exhibition Stadium before a crowd of 32,669. Led by players such as quarterback Sonny Wade (who was named the game's most valuable player, and who would soon become a fan favourite in Montreal—not unlike the status his coach had enjoyed in the 1950s), halfback Moses Denson, receivers Gary Lefebvre and Tom Pullen, along with kicker George Springate, the team defeated the Calgary Stampeders 23–10 for the city's first Grey Cup since the aforementioned 1949 triumph, also against the Stamps.

That 1970 victory would herald the beginning of arguably the greatest decade in franchise history. During Berger's tenure as owner, the team made six Grey Cup appearances and won the Canadian championship three times. They finally moved out of the Autostade and into Olympic Stadiummarker midway through the 1976 season and attendance shot up. In 1977, the Als had a very successful year both on the field and at the box office, winning the Grey Cup at their home field before a CFL-record 68,318 fans. They also averaged 59,595 fans per game at the "Big O" during the regular season, a league record that still stands.

However, success was short lived when Berger retired in 1981. He then sold the team to Nelson Skalbania, a Vancouvermarker businessman. The flamboyant Skalbania set about signing two first-round picks from the 1981 National Football League draft plus NFL name players such as Vince Ferragamo, James Scott, David Overstreet, Tom Cousineau and Billy "White Shoes" Johnson. Even with all that talent, the Alouettes suffered on the field, finishing with a dismal 3–13 record while attendance plummeted to under 20,000 per game. Skalbania was reported late in 1981 to be selling to Pat Bowlen. As chaos continued to envelope the club, George Allen at one point obtained an option to purchase 51% of the club, and was actually named the Alouettes' president. While holding both the option and the post, Allen was surprised by Skalbania arranging a sale of precisely that 51% majority to former Vancouver Canucks and later St. Louis Blues owner Harry Ornest. Ornest, however, remained at the time reluctant to take actual control of the Alouettes as a result of the team's high level of debt and extensive commitments to high-profile stars. For a short time in early April 1982, Allen looked set to take control of the Alouettes. However, Allen left the club in late April after Skalbania showed himself to be unable to resolve 1981 debts. Upon Skalbania's return from a business-related sojourn to Hong Kong spanning the end of April, the club's owner succeeded on May 11 in preventing the return of the Alouettes, as payment for unresolved debt, to previous owner Sam Berger. However, on May 13, Skalbania finally agreed to withdraw the Alouettes from the CFL, their demise a result of the financial collapse of his highly-leveraged business empire.

Montreal Concordes

Montreal Concordes logo.
a day after the original Alouettes franchise folded, on May 14, 1982, Montreal businessman and Montreal Expos founder Charles Bronfman came to the rescue and financed a new club for the 1982 season under the name Montreal Concordes. This new team inherited the Alouettes franchise history and its players.

The Concordes sported a 2–14–0 record in their first season in 1982 under head coach Joe Galat. The Concordes featured QB Luc Tousignant, the only Québécois QB ever to start a CFL game. The dismal club also featured star NCAA RB David Overstreet who rushed for just 190 yards in 6 games before ending his season on the injured reserve list. The Concordes lost their last 9 games of 1982. Other stars on the club included QB Johnny Evans, QB Turner Gill, SB Nick Arakgi, RB Lester Brown, WR Brian DeRoo, local KR Denis Ferdinand, DT Glen Weir, S Preston Young, DE Gordon Judges, K/P Don Sweet and LB William Hampton.

In 1986, the team attempted to embrace its predecessor's history and regenerate flagging fan interest by rebranding itself the "new" Montreal Alouettes. But after a dismal 4–14 season and mounting financial losses, the new Alouettes folded on June 24, 1987, just a day before the 1987 season started. So late did the Alouettes' demise come that the June 28 Washington Post still announced an ESPN broadcast of an Alouettes–Stampeders game, a game that never came to pass.

The Current Alouettes

The Baltimore Football Club was granted an expansion franchise for 1994 by the Canadian Football League. Originally intending to invoke the spirit of the city's former NFL club, the team attempted to brand themselves the "Baltimore Colts". The NFL and Indianapolis Colts owner Robert Irsay filed suit and won an injunction, both prohibiting the team from use of the "Baltimore Colts" name as well as that of their next choice, the "Baltimore CFL Colts". During this time, it was quite common for the stadium announcer to announce the team as the "Baltimore Football Club". The team would use the names, "Baltimore Football Club" and the "Baltimore CFLers" for its inaugural season, before becoming the "Baltimore Stallions" for the 1995 season.

The team was by far the most successful of the CFL's American teams, garnering persistent fan support in the Baltimoremarker area and appearing in the Grey Cup in both its seasons (losing in 1994, winning in 1995). However, in late 1995, Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell announced his intention to relocate his NFL club to Baltimoremarker, where they would be rechristened the Baltimore Ravens. This would have made the Stallions the only CFL club ever to directly compete with the NFL, whose season overlaps with the last three months of the CFL season. Stallions owner Jim Speros realized that despite the Stallions' popularity, they could not possibly compete with the NFL. After deals with Norfolk, Virginiamarker and Houstonmarker fell through, Speros moved the Stallions to Montreal and revived the old Alouettes name for the 1996 season.

In 1997, Jim Speros sold the team to Robert Wetenhall, and former Alouette star and CFL Commissioner Larry Smith became President of the club. The new Alouettes franchise played their first two seasons at Olympic Stadiummarker, but attendance in the enormous domed stadium was very poor and the long term prospects for the franchise were once again uncertain, until a twist of fate revitalized the floundering club.

When a scheduled November 1997 U2 concert conflicted with an unexpected home play-off game against the BC Lions (due to the CFL's 'cross-over' playoff format), the team decided to return temporarily to Molson Stadiummarker, where they had played from 1954 to 1967. Interest in the team soared and the game was sold out, prompting the team to relocate permanently to the smaller venue beginning with the 1998 season. Since 1999, the Alouettes have sold out every game at the 20,202-seat stadium, located on the campus of McGill Universitymarker. Currently, there are plans to enlarge the stadium's capacity.

The team has not completely abandoned Olympic Stadium, however. Due to the heavy demand for tickets, the Alouettes soon resumed playing playoff games (a regular feature in recent seasons) at the "Big O" and play one regular season game at the larger venue. These matches have been well attended, often drawing more than 50,000 fans. In 2008, however, the Als did not play their annual "Fan Day" game at the Big O due to the fact they hosted the Grey Cup at that venue in November. In 2008 and 2009 the Alouettes hosted the East Division final at the Big O.

Prior to every Sunday home game, the club plays "Sunday Bloody Sunday" over the PA system in tribute to the unintended role U2 played in saving the franchise.

In 2007, the Alouettes launched a new website that features exclusive news and information in a first for a CFL team. The Alouettes release all player announcements and other news on at least an hour before releasing anything to the media. This has caused some controversy with news wires like CP, but remains a favourite with Alouettes fans. The site also features the exclusive player columns and features that make most top sports sites popular. Beginning in late 2008, the Alouettes became the first CFL team to exploit social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in their marketing campaigns, remaining the league leader in techonology-based marketing.

Since their return to the CFL in 1996, the Alouettes have appeared in the Grey Cup seven times with two Grey Cup wins. They most recently won the 2009 Grey Cup.

Current Squad

Players of Note

Head Coaches

General Managers

See also


External links

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