By Nelson Hackewich
Editor’s note: Our friend, fellow CFL fan (Saskatchewan, but try not to hold it against him) and favourite uniform concept designer Nelson Hackewich was kind enough to share some of his thoughts and experiences at this year’s Grey Cup Festival in Edmonton. This is the second of two recaps on all the great stuff the festival had to offer. (here’s the first) Thanks Nelson! Super jealous!
Better late than never, right?
Grey Cup Saturday
Saturday started with the traditional Calgary pancake breakfast and the Grey Cup parade. A little underwhelmed watching the parade, so when the ‘Rider contingent walks by, I step off the sidewalk and join the parade!
After the parade, we all head over to the TSN booth to see the live hits of Grey Cup Saturday. While stopping inside to warm up we bumped into the legend, Pinball Clemons. And of course made the TSN coverage.
It was a short day at the Nissan Street Fest as we prepare notes and dig up dirt on both teams for the game tomorrow. Here’s what was seen, heard and researched:
- The Stampeders were not to fond of the playing surface today at Commonwealth Stadium. Bo Levi Mitchell considered the turf to that of Ottawa’s in last year’s Grey Cup and Eric Rogers saying “If the game was today, we wouldn’t be able to wear cleats out there.”
- When the Redblacks players were asked about the conditions of the turf, most said they were used to it, as they play on a similar surface at home.
- Calgary will already make history tomorrow, playing in a team-record third Grey Cup in a row. Last teams to play in three GCs in a row? Montreal 2008-10, Hamilton 1984-86, Edmonton 1977-82, Montreal 1977-79.
- The Redblacks are playing in a Grey Cup for the third time in the last four years, a first for any Ottawa club since the late ’60s (1966, ’68 & ’69).
- This will be the fourth time Calgary and Ottawa have met in a Grey Cup, with Ottawa winning in 1968 and 2016, while Calgary won in 1948.
- Dave Dickenson is looking for his first Grey Cup as a head coach, and trying to avoid becoming the first head coach since 1956 to lose three Grey Cups in a row.
- Rick Campbell looks to get his second Grey Cup. He would become the 20th head coach to win multiple championships.
Teams head to head:
- Calgary holds a 7-1-2 regular season edge over Ottawa since 2014; Ottawa has the 2016 GC win, however.
- The last time these teams met in the Grey Cup, they combined for 852 passing yards – by far the most in Grey Cup history (#2, 777 yards in ’89)
- Calgary outscored Ottawa 51-17 – with the gap (+34) made up of points off of Turnovers primarily (26 of Calgary’s 51 points).
- Trevor Harris did not complete either game and has passing totals of 135 and 93 yards with 3 INTs and 0 TD passes.
- Bo Levi Mitchell passed for 251 and 166 yards with 3 TDs, 3 gains of 30+ yards and one INT.
- Don Jackson rushed for 186 yards (Max 102) on 30 carries for one TD. William Powell had 140 yards.
Grey Cup Sunday
Game day was full of generally a pro-Ottawa crowd, with CFL fans in sight from morning breakfast across the street at the hotel to the train to the stadium.
Arriving at the stadium at about 1:30pm (three-and-a-half hours before kickoff), we took in some of the tailgate parties, then headed into the stadium to walk about.
Two hours prior to kickoff it was a balmy 2° and the field conditions looked absolutely perfect. The Redblacks took the field for warm-up to a thunderous ovation, while it seemed the Stamps were only backed by those from Calgary and some die-hard western Canadian types who dislike our current prime minister.
The Reklaws belted out “Long Live the Night” and with an iconic Snowbirds fly-over, Grey Cup 106 was under way!
The game wasn’t much to write home about until Terry Williams had a record 97-yard punt return touchdown on a now slippery Commonwealth Stadium field, sending Stamps fans into a frenzy. If you watch the highlights, the most impressive part of the return (besides his speed on ice) is the fact he almost fell on his own. No doubt an absolute game-changer.
In the end, Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stamps got the monkey off their back, outlasting the Redblacks to win the Grey Cup.
Overall, Edmonton knows how to throw a party! From the street festival, to the $300k+ 50/50 jackpot, to meeting old friends and making new ones, there was tons of great CFL and Grey Cup buzz all week long, as it should be.
Can’t wait for Grey Cup 107. See you next year, Calgary!
Thanks for reading!
Follow Nelson on Twitter at @NelsonHackewich.
Follow us on Twitter at @DefendTheR.