Quietly in the falls of 1969 and 1970, the University of Manitoba Bisons made believers out of the football brass on the eastern side of Canada.
For two years head coach Henry Janzen and his staff coaches Ray Ash, Gord Rowland and John Shanski built the Bison football team into a dynasty. The Herd became the first team to win two consecutive Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union’s Vanier Cups.
The Bisons spotted the University of Windsor Lancers seven points, before handing out a 41-7 thrashing in the Western Bowl. Then the Bisons won the Vanier Cup 24-15 over the McGill University Redmen, to cap a perfect 8-0 season.
“We used a lot of sweeps in ‘69,” the Bisons’ kicker Walt McKee said. “We had some great blocking for our running backs Dennis Hrycaiko, Graham Kinley and Mike Shylo. We were blessed with quick strong linemen.” They included the likes of Tim Coyle, Bob Keating, Cliff Crawford, Al Kinley, Gerry Fraser and Ollie Hensrud.
Quarterback Bob Kraemer, who was converted from a Bison receiver to pivot, was named player of the game in the 1969 national final. McKee said the team got along together on and off the field. “Most of us came back the next year,” McKee said. “We wanted to live up to what we did before.”
Using a blend of sweeps to the right with Hrycaiko, Shylo and Bob Toogood carrying the pigskin and Kraemer’s passing, the Bisons opened the 1970 season with their only regular season loss. “That brought us down to earth,” McKee said. “Our defense was great throughout.” He was referring to the likes of Jim Fildey, Gill Bramwell, Jamie Horne, Jim Carlson, Rob Jaskiewicz and Rick Jackiw.
The Bisons met a tough test hosting the Western Bowl against Queen’s Golden Gaels. The Herd scored a 24-20 come-from-behind overtime victory. “That was the greatest game at University Stadium,” McKee said. The Bisons went on to hammer Ottawa Gee-Gees 38-11 in the 1970 Vanier Cup. Mike Shylo was named the player of the game. Kraemer, McKee and Toogood went on to play for the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Team Roster: Gill Bramwell, Jim Carlson, Garry Corbett, Tom Coyle, Cliff Crawford, Bart Evans, Clint Evans, Jim Fildey, Gerry Fraser, Lou Furlan, Jack Galbraith, Walt Gibson, Olie Hensrud, Wayne Hildahl, Jamie Horne, Richard Howden, Dennis Hrycaiko, Nick Iafolla, Richard Jackiw, Bob Jaskiewicz, Bob Johnston, Bob Keating, Alan Kinley, Graham Kinley, Bob Kraemer, Hank Lodewyks, Ian McLeod, Walt McKee, Mark Millen, Randy Miller, Terry Moss, Norm Nicol, Doug Olynyk, Roy Parker, Dean Samson, Bill Schick, Don Shylo, Mike Shylo, John Silver, Lawrence Stockton, Bruce Taylor, Bob Toogood, Robert Wright, Kim Ziola Staff: Pat Gill (Equipment Manager), Gord Mackie (Athletic Therapist), Doug Calder (Athletic Therapist), Dr. Gerry Wilson (Team Doctor).