Ray Syrnyk

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Ray Syrnyk
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Died:December 9, 1956 (aged 21–22)
Mount Slesse, British Columbia
Career information
CFL statusNational
CJFLSaskatoon Hilltops
Career history
As player
1956Saskatchewan Roughriders
Career highlights and awards
Retired #s56 (Saskatchewan Roughriders)

Raymond Nicholas "Ray" Syrnyk, (1934 – December 9, 1956) was a professional Canadian football player, and was one of 62 people who died on Trans-Canada Air Lines Flight 810.[1]

Syrnyk played professionally for the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a rookie offensive lineman at the time of his death. Syrnyk's No. 56 jersey is one of eight that has been retired by the Roughriders.

Amateur football and college career[edit]

Syrnyk played amateur Canadian football in the Canadian Junior Football League, and was a member of the 1953 Canadian Junior Football Championship Saskatoon Hilltops.[1]

He was enrolled as a student at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon at the time of his death.[1]

Professional career[edit]

Following junior league football, Syrnyk signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1956.[1] He was on his way back to Regina on Flight 810 after watching teammates Mel Becket and Gordon Sturtridge play in the 1956 All-Star Game in Vancouver, British Columbia, on December 8, 1956.[1]


Syrnyk, along with Roughriders teammates, Becket, Sturtridge, and Mario DeMarco, were passengers on Flight 810 with another pro football player, Calvin Jones, of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.[1] All five players were at the 1956 All-Star Game in Vancouver, and were headed back to their respective teams' home cities. The five players were accompanied by 54 other passengers and 3 crew members who all lost their lives in Western Canada's worst aviation disaster on December 9, 1956.[1] The crash is the subject of the 2012 documentary The Crash, part of TSN's Engraved on a Nation series of eight documentaries celebrating the 100th Grey Cup.[2][3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g O'Keefe, Betty (2006). Disaster on Mount Slesse. Caitlin Press. ISBN 1-894759-21-4.
  2. ^ McNeil, Shane (November 2, 2012). "Engraved On a Nation: A Family United Through Tragedy". The Sports Network. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  3. ^ Beamish, Mike (November 1, 2012). "Fatal 1956 CFL air crash-Engraved On a Nation: Recalling a flight taken, and not taken". The Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on May 8, 2018. Retrieved November 2, 2012.