Ver­sa­tile ath­lete had stints with Alou­ettes, Cana­di­ens

Montreal Gazette - - Sports - IAN MAC­DON­ALD SPE­CIAL TO THE GAZETTE

Tommy Manaster­sky, who won a Grey Cup with the Alou­ettes and also played for the Cana­di­ens, died Sun­day in Toronto at age 83 af­ter a lengthy ill­ness.

As a 17-year-old stu­dent at Mon­treal High, Manaster­sky earned a spot with the Alou­ettes in 1946.

“I was prac­tis­ing with the Alou­ettes, but just for the ex­pe­ri­ence,” Manaster­sky told The Gazette for a Where Are They Now? fea­ture in 2002. “I wasn’t think­ing about mak­ing the team. I was go­ing back to play at Mon­treal High.”

The Alou­ettes un­der­stood Manaster­sky’s plans and didn’t use him in any ex­hi­bi­tion games, since that might have af­fected his high school el­i­gi­bil­ity. But that same year, there was a po­lio epi­demic in Mon­treal and all school sports were can­celled.

“I guess the Alou­ettes liked the way I prac­tised and they of­fered me a con­tract,” Manaster­sky re­called. “The Alou­ettes had me run­ning back punts and kick­offs my first year, and the next year I was backup half­back on the of­fen­sive unit.”

With Vir­gil Wag­ner car­ry­ing the ball most of the time, Manaster­sky’s num­ber wasn’t called of­ten. But when it was, the teenager did the job.

By 1949, Manaster­sky had be­come a fix­ture on kick- off and punt re­turns un­der coach Lew Hay­man, as the Alou­ettes beat Cal­gary 28-15 in the Grey Cup game at Toronto’s Var­sity Sta­dium.

Manaster­sky was also an out­stand­ing hockey player. Six months be­fore win­ning the Grey Cup, he was a de­fence­man with the Mon­treal Roy­als team that won the ju­nior Me­mo­rial Cup.

On the ice, Manaster­sky was a phys­i­cal de­fence­man, and when in­juries hit the Cana­di­ens dur­ing the 1950-51 sea­son, they called him up for six games. He was re­turned to the mi­nors and fin­ished his hockey ca­reer that sea­son with the Vic­to­ria Cougars. He fin­ished his foot­ball ca­reer with the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers in 1954.

Back in 1949, play­ers didn’t re­ceive Grey Cup cham­pi­onship rings. But the Cana­dian Foot­ball League later put in a plan that made rings avail­able to play­ers reg­is­tered as Grey Cup cham­pi­ons.

“My wife, Carol (Reynolds), and sons, Tim, Tony, Larry and Bill, bought me one as a birth­day present,” Manaster­sky said.

A pri­vate fu­neral ser­vice is planned and a date for a me­mo­rial ser­vice has yet to be an­nounced.

For more in­for­ma­tion and con­do­lences, visit the web­site at www.etouch.ca.

imac­don­ald@ mon­tre­al­gazette.com

FROM GAZETTE FILES

Tommy Manaster­sky won a Grey Cup with the Alou­ettes in 1949.

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