Canadian football has a long history in Montreal, dating to the 1850s. The Alouettes were first formed in 1946 by Canadian Football Hall of Famer Lew Hayman along with businessmen Eric Cradock and Léo Dandurand. They named themselves after “Alouette”, a work song about plucking the feathers from a skylark, which had become a symbol of the Québécois. The origin of the team’s name also comes from the 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron – the Royal Canadian Air Force’s first French Canadian squadron.
Grey Cup 1949
The 37th Grey Cup was played on November 26, 1949, before 20,087 fans at Varsity Stadium at Toronto. Montreal Alouettes defeated Calgary Stampeders 28-15. Though teams from Montreal had won two Grey Cups, this was the first appearance and victory for the Montreal Alouettes franchise.
Grey Cup 1970
The 58th Grey Cup was played on November 28, 1970, before 32,669 fans at CNE Stadium at Toronto. The Montreal Alouettes defeated the Calgary Stampeders 23-10. The game was marred by woeful field conditions, as throughout the contest several sections of the natural-grass surface came away in chunks.
Grey Cup 1974
The 62nd Grey Cup was played on November 24, 1974 before 32,450 fans at Empire Stadium in Vancouver. The Montreal Alouettes beat the Edmonton Eskimos 20-7 on a slick, wet field. Many balls were fumbled and passes dropped on a rainy Vancouver day.
Grey Cup 1977
The 65th Grey Cup, also known as The Ice Bowl, was played on November 27, 1977 at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium. The hometown Montreal Alouettes defeated the Edmonton Eskimos by a score of 41-6.
Skalbania was reported late in 1981 to be selling to oil magnate Pat Bowlen, who would later buy the NFL’s Denver Broncos in 1984. Later in 1981, NFL coach George Allen obtained an option to purchase 51% of the club, and was named Alouettes’ president. While holding both the option and the post, Allen was surprised by Skalbania arranging a sale of the same controlling stake to Harry Ornest, who would later own the St. Louis Blues. Ornest was reluctant to take control of the Alouettes as a result of the team’s high level of debt and extensive commitments to high-profile stars. In early April 1982, Allen looked set to take control of the Alouettes. However, Allen left the club in late April after Skalbania was unable to resolve 1981 debts. With the franchise in collapse, Berger tried to force Skalbania to relinquish the team to him as payment for debt. Skalbania returned from a business trip to Hong Kong in late April and was able to regain control of the team. However, Skalbania’s highly leveraged business interests collapsed a month later. Unable to meet his obligations, he was forced to return the team to the league on May 13.
In 1997, Speros (owner of the Baltimore Stallions) sold the team to developer and investor Robert Wetenhall, who still owns the team today. Smith stepped down as league commissioner and became president of the Alouettes. The revived Alouettes franchise played their first two seasons at Olympic Stadium, but attendance in the cavernous domed stadium was very poor at first. The future of the franchise was very much in doubt until a twist of fate revitalized the floundering club. When a scheduled November 1997 U2 concert at Olympic Stadium conflicted with an unexpected home playoff game against the Lions (due to the CFL’s ‘cross-over’ playoff format), the team decided to move the game to Molson Stadium, 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. At the time of the Alouettes’ return to Molson, the stadium’s capacity was 20,202; an expansion completed prior to the 2010 season brought the current capacity to 25,012. 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.
Grey Cup 2002
The 90th Grey Cup was the 2002 Canadian Football League championship game played between the Edmonton Eskimos and the Montreal Alouettes on November 24 at Commonwealth Stadium, in Edmonton, Alberta. The Alouettes defeated the Eskimos 25-16 in the first all-Canadian CFL championship game to feature the host team since 1983. It was Don Matthews’ fifth Grey Cup title as a head coach, tying him with Lew Hayman, Frank Clair and Hugh Campbell for the all-time record. This was last Grey Cup game to be played on natural grass in Edmonton. By the time Edmonton hosted its next Grey Cup game in 2010, its stadium had switched over to artificial turf. The Grey Cup would not be played on grass again until 2016 at Toronto’s BMO Field. This was the Alouettes first Grey Cup victory in 25 years. The Grey Cup victory parade, held 2 days later in downtown Montreal attracted 250,000 fans.
Grey Cup 2009
The 97th Grey Cup was played on November 29, 2009, at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, Alberta, and decided the Canadian Football League (CFL) champion for the 2009 season. The Montreal Alouettes came from behind to defeat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 28–27, on a 33-yard field goal by Damon Duval as time ran out. Duval had actually missed a first attempt, but Saskatchewan was penalized for having too many men on the field, allowing Duval a second field goal attempt. Montreal running back Avon Cobourne was named the Most Valuable Player of the game. Alouettes slotback Ben Cahoon received the Dick Suderman Trophy as the Grey Cup’s Most Valuable Canadian.
Grey Cup 2010
The 98th Grey Cup was a Canadian football game played between the Eastern Division champion Montreal Alouettes and Western Division champion Saskatchewan Roughriders to decide the champion of the Canadian Football League (CFL) for the 2010 season. In a rematch of the 97th Grey Cup, the Alouettes defeated the Roughriders for the second year in a row, 21–18, becoming the first team in 13 years to win back-to-back Grey Cups. The game was played on November 28, 2010, at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta. This marked the first time that the Grey Cup was played in the province of Alberta in two straight years. (Calgary hosted the previous Grey Cup game.) Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo won his third Grey Cup, completing 29 of 42 pass attempts for 335 yards passing. Montreal wide receiver Jamel Richardson, who made eight catches and had a game-high 109 yards, was named Grey Cup MVP. Saskatchewan defensive lineman Keith Shologan was named the Grey Cup’s Most Valuable Canadian. As of the end of the 2017 CFL season, this is the most recent time an Eastern-based CFL team has won the Grey Cup in Western Canada.
The Montreal Alouettes are a professional Canadian football team based in Montreal, Quebec. Founded in 1946, the team has folded and been revived twice. The Alouettes compete in the East Division of the Canadian Football League and last won the Grey Cup championship in 2010.
1958 – Present / Canadian Football League
1946 – Present / Montreal Alouettes
Alouette – The Montreal Alouettes literally translated are the Montreal Larks. Alouette is the French term for a skylark, a type of bird. The Alouettes were founded in 1946 by Lew Hayman, Eric Cradock and Leo Dandurand, who decided for the team to be successful in Montreal it needed a bilingual name.
Grey Cup 7
2010, 2009, 2002, 1977, 1974, 1970, 1949
1947 – 1967, 1972, 1998 – Present / Percival Molson Memorial Stadium
1976 – 1986, 1996 – 1998 / Olympic Stadium
1968 – 1971, 1973 – 1976 / Autostade
1946 – 1953 / Delorimier Stadium
1997 – Present / Robert Wetenhall
1996 – 1997 / Jim Speros and Michael Gelfand
1994 – 1996 / Jim Speros
1946 – 1993 / Community – Widely Held
13 Anthony Calvillo
27 Mike Pringle
28 George Dixon
56 Herb Trawick
63 Pierre Desjardins
74 Peter Dalla Riva
75 Hal Patterson
77 Junior Ah You
78 Virgil Wagner
86 Ben Cahoon
92 Sam Etcheverry
*Blue is this team’s history