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Wade featured on new stamp
Axton resident quarterbacked now famous 'Ice Bowl' in Montreal
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Former Canadian Football League quarterback Sonny Wade of Axton holds a print of a new Canadian stamp issued to commemorate the CFL. He’s on the stamp, shown playing in the background. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer

Nearly 35 years ago, Sonny Wade of Axton — then the quarterback and punter for the Montreal Alouettes — played in a football game later known as the “Ice Bowl” because of its field conditions.

Now that game has been immortalized in a stamp marking the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup, and it shows Wade pointing directions before the ball was snapped.

Wade was invited to Montreal last week for the unveiling of the commemorative stamp, and he also was a special guest at the Alouettes’ charity golf tournament.

He was the quarterback and punter for the Alouettes from 1969 to 1978.

On the stamp, the current Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo is in the foreground with Wade in the background at the line of scrimmage during the 1977 “Ice Bowl” Grey Cup game in Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

The game is known as the “Ice Bowl” because the afternoon and evening before the game, a snowstorm came through and covered the field in snow and ice, Wade said.. He remembers there being “very questionable footing during the game.”

Despite the conditions, Wade and the Alouettes went on to a 41-6 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos, he said.

The win was special to Wade because not only did he win his third Most Valuable Player honor of the Grey Cup that year, but he said “it was nice to have a good game in front of the Montreal crowd and family and friends” who came to watch from Martinsville.

Many talented athletes and players have come through Montreal, so “it was quite an honor” to be selected for the stamps, Wade said.

Wade added postcards also have been printed featuring only the background scene.

In addition, a player’s association recently contacted Wade about using his picture on “Players of the Century” baseball-type cards featuring players who had an impact on the Grey Cup. He is not sure when the cards will be released, he said.

The stamps were released on Aug. 16 at all post offices as well as at the websites of the Canada Post and Alouettes. The Alouettes’ stamp is the first of nine stamps that will be released this year by Canada Post, one for each Canadian Football League team and another for the Grey Cup.

Wade’s football career began at Martinsville High School, where he was quarterback from 1961 to 1965. He went on to play as quarterback for one year at Virginia Tech before transferring to Emory and Henry College to play as quarterback and punter from 1966 to 1968, he said.

At Emory and Henry, he was a three-time Virginia College Player of the Year. In 1968, he said he wasa first-team All-American.

After college, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles and the Montreal Alouettes, but made the decision to take his football career to Montreal, he said.

When he ended his football career in 1978, he returned to Martinsville to work at Bassett Walker, where he stayed until he retired in 1999, he said.

In his retirement, he added that he enjoys hunting, fishing, trapping and gardening.


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