|Date of birth:||1929|
|Place of birth:||Chicago, Illinois, USA|
|Date of death:||December 9, 1956(aged 27)|
|Place of death:||Mount Slesse, British Columbia, Canada|
Career highlights and awards
|Retired #s:||40 (Saskatchewan Roughriders)|
Melvin Howard "Mel" Becket, (born 1929 in Chicago, Illinois - died December 9, 1956, on Mount Slesse, British Columbia, Canada) was an American college football and professional Canadian football player, and was one of 62 people that died on Trans-Canada Air Lines Flight 810, on December 9, 1956.
Becket played his entire four-year professional football career as a tight end and center for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Western Interprovincial Football Union, and his No. 40 jersey is one of eight that has been retired by the club.
Following college, Becket was drafted in the 8th round of the 1952 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. Becket spurned the NFL and instead signed with the WIFU Saskatchewan Roughriders, where he starred for four years. He was named a Western All-Star in 1956, and was on his way back to Regina, Saskatchewan, on Flight 810 after playing in the East–West All-Star game in Vancouver, British Columbia, on December 8, 1956.
Becket, along with Roughriders teammates, Mario DeMarco, Gordon Sturtridge, and Ray Syrnyk, were passengers on Flight 810 with another WIFU player, Calvin Jones, of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. All five players were present at the 1956 All-Star game in Vancouver, British Columbia, and were headed back to their respective teams' home cities. The five players were accompanied by 54 other passengers, which included 1 football official, and 3 crew members, who all lost their lives in Western Canada's worst aviation disaster on December 9, 1956, on Slesse Mountain (Mount Slesse) near Chilliwack, British Columbia.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. He is survived by his wife Joyce Wagner and his daughter Robin Becket.
- O'Keefe, Betty (2006). Disaster on Mount Slesse. Caitlin Press. ISBN 1-894759-21-4.
- "2008 Indiana University Football Media Guide - Hoosiers in the NFL". Indiana University. 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-14.
- McNeil, Shane (November 2, 2012). "Engraved On a Nation: A Family United Through Tragedy". The Sports Network. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- Beamish, Mike (November 1, 2012). "Fatal 1956 CFL air crash-Engraved On a Nation: Recalling a flight taken, and not taken". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- "62 ABOARD TCA PLANE MISSING IN MOUNTAINS VANISHES IN B.C. STORM. PILOT TURNED BACK AFTER MOTOR FAILED.", Winnipeg Free Press (Canadian Press item), December 10, 1956, 3 pp, Official passenger list on p.2