By Taylor McKee, September 4, 2014 —
The last name Timmis is revered in football circles in Ontario and it’s becoming more and more familiar around the University of Calgary.
Brian Timmis — great grandfather of Dinos star running back Mercer Timmis — earned a reputation as one of the toughest players in his era, a physically punishing fullback that delighted in fearlessly steamrolling opposition defenses.
Before his football career, Timmis, pretending to be two years older than he actually was, enlisted in the signal corps in 1915 and served with the Canadian Forces in the First World War. Upon his return to Canada, Timmis joined the RCMP and was stationed in Regina. It was here that Timmis began his football career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Timmis played an astounding 20 seasons in the Canadian Football League. This is even more remarkable given that for many years, Timmis played both offence and defence and would have been subjected to gruelling physical pain each and every week. During a game in 1921, Timmis suffered a neck injury from a chinstrap on his helmet. In a move that would be unthinkable in modern football, Timmis played the rest of his lengthy CFL
career without a helmet.
During his career, Timmis won three Grey Cups as a player — all of them with the Hamilton Tigers — and one as a coach of the Hamilton Flying Wildcats. In 1963, Timmis was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, and in 1975, he was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1968, Timmis’ contributions to Hamilton’s football community were recognized when a stadium near the CFL’s Hamilton Tigers Cats’ was renamed Brian Timmis Stadium, which has housed an assortment of professional and semi-professional sports franchises.
The game of football has evolved so significantly that one could say Canada will never see another player quite like Brian Timmis. However, his courage and tenacity remain the stuff of legends, offering an example of what can be accomplished through sheer force of will.