None of the Calgary Stampeders’ lockers at McMahon Stadium had a No. 13 jersey hanging from a hook during the 2011 season. And even though it’s weeks away from training camp, we can confidently say there won’t be a No. 13 in Stamps colours during the 2012 campaign, or any year after that.
It has nothing to do with superstition; the simple truth of the matter is No. 13 has been unavailable in Calgary — it’s one of seven numbers retired by the team — since Mark McLoughlin departed in 2003. That number was anything but unlucky for McLoughlin who is still the Red and White’s all-time leading scorer and is probably best remembered for his game-winning field goal on the final play of the 1998 Grey Cup.
On this Friday the 13th, let’s look back at the small group of men who have worn No. 13 for the Stamps over the years.
• The Stamps first took the field in 1945 and that original group of Ye Men of Calgary included a centre by the name of Jerry Searight. No stranger to Calgary football, Searight was a long-serving member of the Calgary Bronks until that club suspended operations in 1940 because of WWII. Searight also played for the Stamps in 1946 but he had switched to No. 32.
• No. 13 made its second appearance on a Stamps jersey in 1953 — on the back of quarterback Frankie Albert, to be specific. Albert was a Stanford University product who had played seven seasons for the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers before coming north. Albert threw for 12 touchdowns and ran for two more during his one and only season with the Stamps. He later returned to San Francisco to coach the Niners.
• After Albert, No. 13 remained in mothballs for almost 30 years until another quarterback wore it. In 1984, University of Calgary product Greg Vavra joined the Stamps after leading the Dinos to the 1983 Vanier Cup. Vavra, a graduate of Calgary’s Bishop Grandin high school, saw a good deal of playing time as a rookie, throwing for 1,901 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also played (and wore No. 13) for Calgary in 1985 before moving on to the BC Lions. He later returned to the U of C to serve as the Dinos’ offensive coordinator.
• In 1986, No. 13 made its way to the defensive side of the ball as linebacker Alvis Satele slipped on the jersey. The University of Hawaii product made quite an impact in just six regular-season games for the Stamps, recording seven sacks, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. He added another sack in the West semifinal contest against the Edmonton Eskimos.
• Just a couple of years after Satele’s short but spectacular stint in Stamps jersey No. 13, the man who was destined to be the last to wear the number arrived in town. McLoughlin wore No. 13 with distinction for 16 seasons in Calgary. He won three CFL scoring titles with the Stamps and was part of three Grey Cup championship teams.
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|Thu 20/06/13||Calgary||Saskatchewan||Thu 8:00 pm MDT|
|Fri 28/06/13||BC||Calgary||Fri 8:00 pm MDT|
|Fri 05/07/13||Calgary||Saskatchewan||Fri 7:00 pm MDT|
|Fri 12/07/13||Calgary||Montreal||Fri 5:30 pm MDT|
|Sat 20/07/13||Montreal||Calgary||Sat 5:00 pm MDT|