Gordon Ross holds the Grey Cup

Gordon Ross holds the Grey Cup
Retired Montreal Alouettes player 100-year-old Gordon Ross posing with the Grey cup, brought to Wales Home on Friday afternoon by player Alex Gagné.

By Nick Fonda

Local Journalism Initiative


In his three seasons with the Montreal Alouettes, Gordon Ross never got to pose triumphantly with the Grey Cup.  The Als won the Cup in 1949, the year before Gordon first suited up for the team, and they’ve won the Cup several times since he hung up his cleats, including this year when they came from behind in the final minute of the game to beat the much- favoured Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

However, last Friday, 71 years after playing his final game, and thanks to the team at the Wales Home, Gordon Ross held the Al’s newly-won Cup while a dozen guests took pictures and three video crews (including CBC) recorded the moment.

Before Gordon was presented with the Cup by Alex Gagné of the Als, the Executive Director of the Wales Home, Brendalee Piironen, gave a short overview of Gordon’s life, and also explained how the Cup came to the Wales Home, a case of family connections.

The Wales Home has always had at least one doctor.  At the present time, in addition to Dr. Frazer, Dr. Sophie Bourbeau attends to the medical needs of the Home’s residents.

It was common knowledge that Gordon was not only an Alouettes’ fan but also a former player.  After the Alouette’s victory, Brendalee voiced the sentiment that it would be special for Gordon, who turned 100 this year, to get to hold the Grey Cup.

Sports teams have active public relations departments and a request to the Alouettes’ front office for a special visit might have eventually borne fruit, but it turned out that there was a much easier way to ask.   Dr. Sophie Bourbeau’s sister, Pascale, is the life partner of Pierre-Karl Péladeau, the owner of the Montreal Alouettes.

So it was that less than four weeks after Alex Gagné (who played for the Université de Sherbrooke and is nick-named Captain Quebec by his Alouettes team-mates) hoisted the Cup in Hamilton, he passed it into the arms of Gordon Ross.

Gordon was born in Sherbrooke, the middle child and only son of Alexander Ross who owned an ice delivery company and who served as mayor of Sherbrooke from 1942 to 1944.  Athletic and active, Gordon grew up playing hockey, basketball, football, and rugby.  He grew to be 6’3” and 210 pounds at a time when the average Canadian male was 5’8” and weighed 160.  He particularly loved contact sports and had his nose broken twice.  In his 20s, just before household refrigeration became common, he worked for his father, collecting, storing and delivering ice (25,000 tons of it in 1948) that was then sold in blocks that weighed 25 – 100 pounds.

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