William ‘Bill’ Tonegusso

Portrait by Robert Howson

This well-rounded athlete excelled in many sports including football and hockey. He played Junior ‘B’ hockey under ‘Swat’ Mason and a few games with the 1951-52 Memorial Cup Biltmore Madhatters, but his real success came on the football field.

Tonegusso began his football career at GCVI winning two championships before moving on to play junior football in both Brantford and Hamilton. He was then drafted into the Canadian Football League by the Edmonton Eskimos and signed with them at the age of 17. After playing with them through the exhibition schedule he was moved to their minor league affiliate, the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen where they were league champions in 1954 and 1955. He was then traded to the Montreal Alouettes where he played in the 1956 Grey Cup against his old team, the Eskimos. Tonegusso was a blocking halfback for the Al’s on the same offence that featured future CFL Hall of Famers Sam Etcheverry and Hal Patterson, but unfortunately, the Eskies had Jack Parker who scored three touchdowns that day on the way to victory.

Tonegusso remained with the Alouettes the following season before retiring because of a serious knee injury. Although his playing career came to an end, his love of football did not. He came back to Guelph and helped coach the Kitchener-Guelph Oaks semi-pro team for two years and was an assistant coach for the University of Guelph football and hockey teams for five years.

Tonegusso also helped ensure that the youth of Guelph would be able to enjoy the sport that had been so good to him, when he became a founding member of the Guelph Minor Football Association.

Inducted in the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame – April 29, 1996