The province of Saskatchewan has declared that Saturday, October 7 will be George Reed Day, in honour of the late great Roughriders running back.
Premier Scott Moe made the announcement on Thursday, alongside Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Laura Ross and Social Services Minister Gene Makowsky.
“George has contributed so much to our province,” Moe said in his statement. “He always found time to recognize others and help his community in any way he could. As we mourn this loss, we must also take time and celebrate his life and accomplishments.”
Reed passed away on Sunday, just one day shy of his 84th birthday. The native of Vicksburg, Miss. spent 13 seasons with the Riders, carrying the ball 3,243 times for 16,116 yards and 134 touchdowns. He retired in 1975 as the CFL’s all-time leading rusher, a mark that was not passed until Mike Pringle achieved the feat in 2004. He remains the league’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns and 1,000-yard seasons with 11.
A ten-time all-star, Reed was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player in 1965 after setting a franchise single-season record of 1,768 yards. A year later, he earned the Grey Cup’s Most Valuable Player as the Riders took home their first championship.
“This is a sad week for the Roughriders, for football, and for Saskatchewan,” Ross said. “For decades, George was a household name and a legend in his own right. We thank George for his dedication and devotion to making his community better.”
Reed was awarded the inaugural Tom Pate Memorial Award for community service in 1976 and would go on to serve two stints as CFLPA president. He was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1978 and inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame a year later. His number 34 was officially retired by the Riders when he stepped away from the game and will never be worn again.
A naturalized Canadian citizen, Reed made Regina his home and continued to be actively involved in a variety of charitable activities.
“George was someone we all looked up to both on and off the field,” Makowsky said. “George was involved in dozens of charitable and community organizations, and his legacy will not be forgotten.”
A book of condolences has been set up in the main foyer of the Saskatchewan Legislature and was signed today by Members of the Legislative Assembly and Saskatchewan Roughriders President and CEO Craig Reynolds. The public is invited to add their signatures to the book, which will be available from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. until the end of the week, after which it will be presented to the Reed family.
The book of condolences will also be available to sign at George Reed’s Celebration of Life on Friday, October 6. The service will be hosted by the Saskatchewan Roughriders at the Viterra International Trade Centre in Regina, with doors opening at 11:30 a.m. The ceremony ends at 3:00 p.m.
“George was a giant for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and for the province of Saskatchewan, known for his hard work on the football field and his giving spirit in the community,” said Roughrider President and CEO Craig Reynolds. “We will miss George greatly, but we will always cherish his memory and remember everything he did to make Saskatchewan a better place.”
The Riders (6-9) are scheduled to host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-8) at 7:00 p.m. EDT on George Reed Day. The game, which is coincidentally Legends Night, is expected to include several tributes to Reed.