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Countdown to kickoff T
103rd Grey Cup comes to Winnipeg this fall By Derek Gagnon
he city of Winnipeg is set to host the 103rd Grey Cup. Before any of the scoring begins on game day, the first “touchdowns” will be from
the tens of thousands of people arriving in the city to participate in the Grey Cup Festival and watch the big game on Nov. 29. Te Grey Cup has been contested since 1909, and
while it is the grand prize awarded to Canadian football champions, the trophy and the event itself have taken on a much greater meaning, both for Win- nipeggers and people around the country. Te finale to the Canadian Football League season
has developed into a coming together event, celebrat- ing something that bonds the people of this nation from coast to coast. For a country that is not known to brag, it is a patriotic celebration that can unite even the fiercest of rivals. Touchdown Winnipeg!
Obby Khan played nine seasons in the CFL, his first
two with the Ottawa Renegades before six with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and a final season with the Calgary Stampeders. He competed in three Grey Cup finals (in 2007 and 2011 with Winnipeg and in 2012 with Calgary) but never won the big game. “When I look back at the bigger picture now, it
would have been really cool to have a ring, to share the stories of winning, but I think just being involved in the Grey Cup was pretty special as well,” Obby says as he reminisces. “Unfortunately I didn’t get to hold the Grey Cup over my head and party with it. It wasn’t meant to be. Maybe one day I can be a successful businessman and buy a team, and win a Grey Cup that way.” Obby is on the right track for becoming that
successful business man, with multiple locations of his Shawarma Khan restaurant, as well as his cold-pressed juice bar, Green Carrot, in Winnipeg, including a location at the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport. More airport connections
Obby is not the only person at the airport with
strong Grey Cup connections. Jeff McWhinney works with Delta Air Lines. He is one of the handlers of the Grey Cup, taking it to events around the country, while also working with the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and serving as a mascot with the Bombers. His father, Glenn, won the Grey Cup in 1954 with
the Edmonton Eskimos, before joining the Blue Bombers for two seasons. With his father in declining health a few years ago, Jeff arranged for Glenn to be reunited with the Grey Cup for one of his last birth- days. He had the trophy brought to his father’s home. “We redid my dad’s jerseys, and we made it a big
deal because we didn’t know how much longer we’d have with him. When they unveil the Cup in front of you, it comes out from this chest and you look down on it, at this Holy Grail, this chalice. It emotes this unbelievable feeling of moral fibre. My dad was holding onto it, and someone asks him ‘do you want to drink out of the Cup again?’ He replied ‘not without my teammates.’” Glenn passed away in 2012, but the memories that
he shared with his son, Jeff, go beyond just winning and losing games. It’s about protecting the legacy that comes with the Cup, and sharing that with the people of Canada. Miles Martin is an Air Canada employee working
at the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport. He attended his first Grey Cup in 1985 (73rd held in Montreal) with his father, Ed. Since then, he has attended approximately 25 of the championship games, travelling all over the country. He says it is very exciting to experience the Grey Cup in differ- ent cities. “Te people are what makes the Grey Cup,” said
Miles. “It’s not the Super Bowl, but the people are amazing. It’s a big party and it’s so incredible.” Miles says that there is one part of the Grey Cup Festival that stands out most for him. “Going to all of the hos- pitality rooms that all of the cities put on. It’s just so fun, they do such a great job and invite everybody in.” Te Grey Cup Experience
Te intensity of the game is felt by both teams lead-
ing up to the Grey Cup. Obby may not have won the Cup but he can attest to the feeling of playing in the big game. “Coming up to the game, everyone knows the magnitude of the Grey Cup – all of the players, all of the coaches in the locker room. It’s such an intense atmosphere all week. And then the game itself is just out of this world, as far as all the fans, the noise, the magnitude of TV and advertising. Te game itself is really special. Te only thing I can say is that it’s out of this world. You take a regular season game and it’s times 100 for the Grey Cup.”
November 2015 Nothing like watching the team hit the field. We love our blue and gold. Go Bombers! GREY CUP FESTIVAL EVENTS FREE GREY CUP FESTIVAL EVENTS
Arrival of the cup Nov. 25, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The official kickoff to the 103rd Grey Cup Festival occurs at the Manitoba Legislative Building grounds. Join CFL fans in welcom- ing the Grey Cup Trophy to Winnipeg. Be there for its arrival, and cheer your heart out as the 103rd Grey Cup Festival officially begins.
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Fan Fest Nov. 26, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Club Regent Event Centre is the place where fans can have their picture taken with the Grey Cup and get autographs from CFL players and alumni! Mascots and the Blue Bomber cheer and dance team will also be on site to meet, greet and entertain.
Nissan Titan Street Festival Nov. 26 to 28, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The University of Winnipeg campus is your headquarters for fun. Inside the Duckworth Centre you’ll find the main stage, featuring free live entertainment each day by local and national artists. The festival will also light up the outdoor promenade with animators, fire pits and more. The Nissan Titan Street Festival promenade tent will feature music, beverages and live perfor- mances all day long. Festivities will include the following events:
MacDon Fan Experience and Fam- ily Zone Nov. 26 to 28, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. You will find the MacDon Fan Experience and Family Zone filled with activities for family members of all ages at the Health and Recplex at the University of Winnipeg.
Free Pancake Breakfast Nov. 27 and Nov. 28, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Calgary Grey Cup Committee will get the day started right with their annual free pancake breakfast in the promenade tent. Enjoy music and a performance by the Stampeders cheer team.
Cheer Extravaganza Nov. 28 , 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Be amazed as all of the CFL's cheer teams have a showdown of their own at the
Duckworth Centre at the University of Winnipeg. Watch them toss, flip and dazzle the crowd.
Grey Cup Festival Santa Claus Parade and Parka Party Nov. 28, 4:30 p.m to 8 p.m. Santa and his elves will visit just before the much anticipated Grey Cup Festival Santa Claus Parade. The parade ends just in time for the uniquely Manitoban Parka Party to begin. The Parka Party will feature music, games and family activities that will keep the celebration going strong and into the night.
TICKETED GREY CUP FESTIVAL EVENTS
Shaw CFL Player Awards and CFLPA Official Players’ Party Nov. 26, 7:30 p.m. The 2015 Shaw CFL player awards will take place at the Club Regent Event Centre. Following the awards, the CFL Players Association will host their annual official players' party. With a Vegas style vibe, this star-studded event will feature entertain- ment, blackjack tables and appearances by notable figures of the Canadian Football League.
Winnipeg Free Press CFL Alumni Legends Luncheon Nov. 27, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Guests will be seated among the CFL alumni, giving them the opportunity to dine with former players and hear their tales from the line of scrimmage first-hand, yard-by-yard. The Winnipeg Free Press CFL Alumni Legends Luncheon will be held at the RBC Convention Centre.
Touchdown Manitoba presented by TransX Nov. 27, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Presented by TransX and hosted by the Winnipeg Football Club at the RBC Convention Centre, this annual party gives everyone in the city a chance to cheer, chant and celebrate the blue and gold. Fea- turing entertainment, food, mascots, cheer teams, and a special appearance from the Grey Cup Trophy, this party will say one thing for certain – you belong here.
103rd Grey Cup Festival Gala Din- ner
Nov. 28, 6 p.m. A highlight of every Grey Cup Festival, this year’s gala dinner will take place at the RBC Convention Centre, where guests will be treated to a gourmet meal and live performances by CBC star Gerry Dee and Canadian icon Randy Bachman.
Monsanto VIP Indoor Tailgate Party Nov. 29, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Join us at the University of Manitoba campus for drinks and deejays leading right up to the big game. All Monsanto VIP party goers will be treated to a buffet meal to make sure you're game ready.
103rd Grey Cup Festival Post-Game Party Nov. 29, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Keep the party going after the final whis- tle. Celebrate the championship game, the entire season and the close of the 103rd Grey Cup Festival with your fellow CFL fans at the Max Bell Field House.
CONCERTS Ticket prices are $103 for a three-day concert series pack or $40 to $50 for a single night ticket and are available at Ticketmaster.
Dallas Smith with Aaron Pritchett Thursday, Nov. 26 at the RBC Con- vention Centre Dallas Smith, Aaron Pritchett and guests will take to the stage on this country night edition of the three-day concert series. With these Canadian boys at the helm it is bound to be a heck of a party.
The Sheepdogs with special guests Friday, Nov. 27 at the RBC Conven- tion Centre Friday is Rock ‘n’ Roll night and who better to shake it up than Saskatoon-bred “boogie” rockers, The Sheepdogs. Don’t miss your chance to see these Prairie boys light it up.
Loverboy with special guests 54-40 and Queen City Kids Saturday, Nov. 28 at the MTS Centre Celebrate the Grey Cup Spirit with some of the best musical talent our nation has to offer. Listen to great music from bands that have kept us rockin’ for years on this legendary night of the series.
• It was donated in 1909 by Albert Grey,
the 4th Earl Grey and Canada’s governor general at the time.
• The game has been played every year
except for between 1916 and 1918, when it was cancelled because of the First World War, and in 1919 when it was called off due to a rules dispute between the east and west rugby unions of that period (later to become the leagues east and west divisions.)
• There is an unwritten rule that players
who have never won the Cup do not touch it. Only winners are allowed to lift the trophy above their heads, but even winners cannot drink from the cup unless their teammates are present.
Facts about the Grey Cup • The trophy has been stolen twice. In
1967, somebody took if from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for three days as a prank. It was stolen again in 1969 and a ransom was demanded, but the CFL decided making a new trophy would be simpler. The trophy was returned after an anonymous phone call two months later.
• The trophy has survived fire, being
snapped in half on multiple occasions, and numerous other breaks in its long history of being handled by players.
• The Baltimore Stallions are the only
American team to have won the Grey Cup in 1995, during an era when seven teams played south of the border between 1993 and 1995.
• The Toronto Argonauts have won the
trophy the most, with 16 wins. The Edmon- ton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers share the lead for most appearances, with 24 apiece.
• The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Ham-
ilton Tiger-Cats took two days to play the game in 1961, due to heavy fog. The game started on Saturday night and resumed on Sunday morning.
• The Winnipeg Blue Bombers last
hosted the championship game in 2006, and have not won since the 78th Grey Cup in 1990, when they defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 50-11.
Smart Biz 11
Photo courtesy of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
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