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Gerry James

Gerry James' legendary achievements in Canadian sports, as an athlete and builder, began in Winnipeg where his father, former Regina Roughrider, Eddie "Dynamite" James, played football for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Gerry's prowess in hockey was recognized early, as he was called up from the midget ranks to play with the Winnipeg Monarchs in the Memorial Cup in 1951 at the age of 16. The next year, Gerry signed to play football with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and became the youngest player ever to play in the CFL. Thus began an amazing story in Canadian sport.

In the spring of 1955 James was a member of the Memorial Cup winning Toronto Marlboros junior hockey team and then signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs to play with the NHL club after the football season ended in late 1955. Gerry James made history in 1959/60 when he became the only person to play in the Grey Cup final and the Stanley Cup final in the same season. James was a Grey Cup winner with the 1959 Blue Bombers, then jumped to the Leafs, who lost the Stanley Cup final to the Canadiens in 1960.

"Kid Dynamite" spent ten of his eleven years in the CFL with Winnipeg, the final year with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He went to the Grey Cup six times, winning with Winnipeg in 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1962. He was awarded the Schenley Award as top Canadian in 1954 and 1957. He set numerous league records, at least five of which still stand, including most rushing touchdowns in a season (18 in 1957). He scored 645 points in the CFL and won the scoring title in 1957 and 1960. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in 1955 and 1957 and finished his career with 5,554 rushing yards. Gerry James joined his father in the Football Hall of Fame in 1989 and is also a member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Hall of Fame.

James played five seasons for the Toronto Maple Leafs (1955-60), then turned to coaching. He coached in 1963/64 in Switzerland before returning to Saskatchewan. As a player/coach, Gerry steered the Yorkton Terriers Senior Hockey team to four consecutive Provincial Championships from 1966 to 1969. During his coaching career he was named All-star Coach three times and Coach of the Year twice. James coached teams at the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) and Western Hockey League (WHL) level over the next nineteen years, guiding young hockey players to provincial titles in 1983 (Melville Millionaires) and 1985 (Estevan Bruins), with the Bruins reaching the Western Centennial final. To the players under Gerry James' direction, he is known as a compassionate motivator who brings out the best in them, both on and off the ice. Gerry presently coaches a Special Olympics floor hockey team in Weyburn.

Text courtesy of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame

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