London Lords 1958
Edmonton Eskimos 1959-1963
Grey Cup Game 1960
born, Don Duncalfe is being inducted into the Wetaskiwin and County
Sports Hall of Fame for being the first graduate of the Wetaskiwin High
School Sabre Football program to have a professional football career.
In 1958 Don played for the London Lords of the Ontario Rugby Football
Union and for five seasons from 1959 - 1963, Don was a member of the
Edmonton Eskimos Football Team of the CFL. During his Eskimo playing
years Don played with many former Grey Cup Champions and future Canadian
Football Hall of Famers.
Don started playing high
school football for the Wetaskiwin Composite High School Sabres when he
was in Grade 10 under head coach Norm Brown and assistant coach Pete
Durnovo. He was a member of the 1954, 1955 and 1956 teams that won
three league championships and twenty-three games without a loss. Don
was co-captain of the 1955 and 1956 teams and played both Offensive
Tackle and Defensive Tackle. In six league games, the first play-off
game and an exhibition game the 1956 team was so dominant that no points
were scored against them. The 1956 team was inducted into the Wetaskiwin
and County Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
Football Co-Captain Overcomes Polio
to Become First Graduate to Turn Pro
Don and two of his 1956
team-mates, Al Sandahl and Daryl Maki, were invited to the Edmonton
Eskimo Rookie Tryout Camp in their grade 12 year confirming their
exceptional ability and the high quality of play demonstrated by the
Sabres dynasty of the 1950ís. During the Rookie Camp Eskimo head coach
ďPopĒ Ivy was so impressed with Don and Al that he invited them to
attend the main training camp later in the summer.
After the main training
camp, Don played Junior Football with the Edmonton Huskies for the 1957
season. That year the Huskies were Alberta Junior Football League
Champions, won the Alberta-BC playoffs but lost in the Western Canada
finals. Donís outstanding play with the Huskies resulted in him being
invited once more to the Eskimo training camp in 1958. This time he was
assigned to play on the Eskimos development team, the London Lords of
the Ontario Rugby Football Union. For both the Huskies and London
Lords, Don played both ways as a Defensive End and Offensive Tackle.
Sabres Dynasty Star Playing with
Eskimo's Football Legends
In 1959, at the age of
twenty and after a brilliant season with the Lords, Don earned a spot on
the Edmonton Eskimo roster and played on the team from 1959-1963. For
Don to play football in the CFL required not only athletic ability and a
high level of skill but as well hard work, determination and dedication.
Don played various positions with the Eskimos including Defensive End,
Offensive Tackle, Offensive Guard and at times Offensive Center. He
also played on the Eskimos special teams. Several of his team-mates
played on the previous Grey Cup Championship Eskimo teams of 1954, 1955
and 1956. The most successful team during Donís tenure with the Eskimos
was the 1960 team that played in the Grey Cup Final losing to the
Roughriders 16-6. Six of Donís Eskimo team-mates were inducted
into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and eight were enshrined onto
the Edmonton Eskimo Wall of Honor. They included: Jackie Parker,
Normie Kwong, Rollie Miles, Johnny Bright, Roger Nelson, Tommy Joe
Coffey, Don Getty and Oscar Kruger. Making it into the Eskimo
line-up and playing with these Eskimo ďlegendsĒ and elite players was
indeed a testament to Donís playing ability and talent.
Due to injuries, Don
retired after the 1963 season. He was able to fulfill his dream of
playing professional football and was able to join his boyhood heroes on
the football field and in the locker room. Donís career was especially
amazing as when he was a young boy he contacted polio. Both of his
legs were paralyzed for over a year and then he underwent lengthy
treatment in a clinic.
Don credits his Wetaskiwin
High School football experience for providing him with basic football
skills, the importance of teamwork and his love for the game. As a
professional football player with the Edmonton Eskimos, Don was a role
model for young Wetaskiwin football players and brought recognition to
himself, his family and his community. Wetaskiwin is proud of Donís
accomplishments and we are honored to induct him into the Wetaskiwin and
County Sports Hall of Fame.
about an inductee is collected from published sources,
sports archives, scrapbooks, anecdotal information from
family, friends and fans,
and the athlete.
the best stories and personal insights are gleaned at the
induction dinner from the introductory comments or
acceptance speech of the inductee or their representative.
possible we have
included this type of information for your enjoyment.
opening comments made by Colleen Grinde when introducing Don