B.C. Lions sponsor return of historic Shrum Bowl rivalry between SFU, UBC after 12-year hiatus

Photo courtesy: SFU Athletics

British Columbia’s best football rivalry will be renewed for the first time in 12 years as Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia are bringing back the traditional Shrum Bowl football game for at least the next two years, with a helping hand from the B.C. Lions.

Shrum Bowl XXXIV will take place Friday, December 2, 2022, inside SFU Stadium at Terry Fox Field in Burnaby. The 2023 Shrum Bowl will be hosted by UBC in Vancouver.

“We’re proud to host Shrum Bowl in SFU’s new stadium atop Burnaby Mountain, and reignite the rivalry between the only two university football programs in the province,” said SFU senior director of Athletics and Recreation, Theresa Hanson.

“We’re looking forward to capping off our seasons with a full house and a great game!”

The B.C. Lions will be the Shrum Bowl’s presenting sponsor as the Canadian Football League club, under the leadership of owner Amar Doman, continues to champion the growth of the sport in B.C.

“The B.C. Lions organization is excited and proud to help spearhead the return of an outstanding football tradition for our province,” said Doman.

“A major pillar of our brand is the support we give to all levels of amateur football.  Putting our name behind the Shrum Bowl revival and watching the next generation of great SFU and UBC players pursuing their professional dreams will be an exciting addition to our growing football calendar and provide yet another outlet to honour the great history of both schools’ football programs.”

Earlier this year, the football programs at SFU and UBC each received $50,000 from the Lions organization, as part of The David Braley Foundation’s $250,000 contribution to amateur football in BC. The donations, first announced in November, provided $25,000 to the university teams. Doman matched the offering to bring the total figure to $50,000.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with SFU to re-ignite the legendary Shrum Bowl which has long been a terrific event and healthy cross-town rivalry dating back 55 years,” added UBC’s managing director, Athletics and Recreation, Kavie Toor.

“To once again have a Shrum Bowl to look forward to on the calendar is a tremendous engagement and competitive opportunity for both of our football programs, our alumni, our supporters and the student body. I’d also like to thank the B.C. Lions for their keen interest in helping relaunch the Shrum Bowl and for continuing to support football at all levels in our community.”

First played in 1967 at old Empire Field, the Shrum Bowl is named after Gordon Shrum, who was a professor and dean at UBC from 1925 to 1961 and later served as SFU’s first chancellor. In the ensuing 55 years, the game has been played a total of 33 times due to several hiatuses and was last contested in 2010.

Due to the differing organizational affiliations of SFU — who first played in the US-based NAIA before joining CIS (now U Sports) in 2002 and then became an NCAA Division II program in 2010 — the game has been played under differing rule sets. 15 Shrum Bowls have been played under four-down American rules, while 18 have taken place using the three-down Canadian rule book.

Simon Fraser won the last three Shrum Bowls before the game’s latest hiatus and currently holds a narrow edge in the series with a record of 17-15-1. They finished the 2021 NCAA season with a 1-7 record and have won just three games since 2015.

UBC last took home the Vanier Cup as national champions in 2015, head coach Blake Nill’s first year at the helm. The Thunderbirds finished 3-4 last season, falling in the Hardy Cup semi-final.

The latest round of Shrum Bowl games will be contested after the regular-season and playoff schedules for both squads and will be recognized by the NCAA as a bowl game for SFU. The 2022 game will be played under NCAA rules with four downs.

Shrum Bowl ticket information and other details will be announced at a later date.