UNB unearths film of Fredericton's football past
25 film reels show games the Red Bombers played between 1958 and 1968
The University of New Brunswick has unearthed some relics of Fredericton's football past: 25 reels of film showcasing some of the best years of the Red Bombers.
The reels shot between 1958 and 1968 have now been digitized.
"They came across them tucked away somewhere in the Lady Beaverbrook Gym and really didn't know what was in them," said Brian Freeman, a member of the Red Bombers' board of directors.
The film includes moments from the varsity careers of CFL players Dick Flynn, who went on to play for the Edmonton Eskimos, and Tony Proudfoot, a two-time Grey Cup champion with the Montreal Alouettes.
The Red Bombers, founded in 1949, played some of their best years during the decade covered by the film, Freeman said.
"'58 and '59 actually were our first championship teams," said Freeman, who played for the team in the 1970s. The "'59 team was an undefeated team. They were the Maritime Intercollegiate Champions."
The film includes games played against Dalhousie University, St. Francis Xavier University and Mount Allison University.
More to come?
While none of the digitized games include Freeman, he said there is some film still to be digitized.
And it's not easy
"There's some more film," he said. "They haven't looked in to see what that film is because it's not labeled and you just can't take them out of the can and play them because you'll destroy them."
Freeman said the film shows an imporImages/Mediatant era of Red Bombers history when football was a major part of the university.
Football used to be big
"There's some real history there," he said.
"Football was a big thing at UNB, too, in the early '60s to the extent that they had two teams. They had a varsity team and a [junior varsity] team."
UNB stunned students and alumni when it dropped its varsity football program in the early 1980s, calling it too expensive. Years passed before a club team was established, also called the Red Bombers.
Freeman has spoken with some of the players seen in the tapes and those who have watched them are pleased with the results.
Appreciates the proof
"As one guy said, 'This is like going up into the attic and finding an old picture that you thought was lost,'" Freeman said.
"One guy said … 'I got to show my grandkids that I wasn't lying.'"