Mel Becket

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Mel Becket
Date of birth 1929
Place of birth Chicago, Illinois, USA
Date of death December 9, 1956(1956-12-09) (aged 27)
Place of death Mount Slesse, British Columbia, Canada
Career information
CFL status International
Position(s) C/TE
College Indiana University
Career history
As player
1952–1956 Saskatchewan Roughriders
Career highlights and awards
CFL All-Star 1956
Retired #s 40 (Saskatchewan Roughriders)

Melvin Howard "Mel" Becket, (1929 – December 9, 1956) was an American college football and professional Canadian football player, and was one of 62 people who died on Trans-Canada Air Lines Flight 810, on December 9, 1956.[1]

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.

College career[edit]

Becket played college football for the Indiana University Hoosiers from 1947 to 1951.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Following college, Becket was drafted in the 8th round of the 1952 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.[2] 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.[1]


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.[1] 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.[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.[3][4][5] He is survived by his wife Joyce Wagner and his daughter Robin Becket.


Since 1957, in memory of Becket and his teammate Mario DeMarco, the DeMarco-Becket Memorial Trophy has been annually awarded to the most outstanding lineman in the CFL's West Division.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e O'Keefe, Betty (2006). Disaster on Mount Slesse. Caitlin Press. ISBN 1-894759-21-4.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Disaster_on_Mount_Slesse" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b "2008 Indiana University Football Media Guide - Hoosiers in the NFL" (PDF). Indiana University. 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  3. ^ McNeil, Shane (November 2, 2012). "Engraved On a Nation: A Family United Through Tragedy". The Sports Network. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ "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