By The Canadian Press - Monday, November 26, 2012 - 0 Comments
CALGARY – Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he’ll honour a Grey Cup wager even…
CALGARY – Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he’ll honour a Grey Cup wager even though his Toronto counterpart has been ordered out of office.
A judge ruled Monday that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford violated the city’s conflict of interest rules.
But Nenshi says “a bet is a bet is a bet,” so he plans to wear an Argos jersey at a city council meeting Tuesday.
He will also donate about $650 to the Toronto Food Bank.
Nenshi says he didn’t want to act too quickly because he wants the Stampeders to know he’s still their No. 1 fan.
Toronto beat Calgary 35-22 in Sunday’s game.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM - 0 Comments
I am not a big fan of Justin Bieber`s music but as a Canadian I am extremely proud of his global success. At last nights Grey Cup he gave a great performance that no doubt encouraged hundreds of thousands of more Canadians to tune in to what was a tremendous celebration of a Canadian tradition. I wish him all the success in the world; who knows maybe someday he can buy the Maple Leafs, who we both cheer for, and make them a winner too.
By Charlie Gillis - Monday, November 26, 2012 at 12:26 AM - 0 Comments
Ricky Ray’s poise and talent has never received proper recognition. The 100th Grey Cup changes all that
Chad Kackert got the MVP nod after the 100th Grey Cup—and deservedly so. The Toronto Argonauts’ running back was a human cannonball in his team’s 35-22 win over the Calgary Stampeders. If you can feature a cannonball who catches.
But make no mistake: the difference-maker in the centennial celebration of this grand ritual was Ricky Ray.
Nerves heading into a big game is a condition we can all understand. Even the Argos mild-mannered QB threw an interception on his first play of the game. “It was hard to get into a rhythm tonight,” he admitted afterward. “It was the longest game I think I’ve ever played in, between the pre-game and half-time (shows), and it was hard, just not being able to get into the normal flow of the game.”
But Ray is a player who settles, who adjusts. Always has been, dating back to his earliest days with the Edmonton Eskimos, when I watched him fight his way into a job held by a pretty competent pivot by the name of Jason Maas.
This game, as a result, quickly became tale of two QBs, which is exactly what the Argos wanted. There was Ray, loose and fluid, gunning his way down field to set up a field goal and another touchdown. And there was his counterpart, Kevin Glenn, wound so tight he looked ready to snap, squibbing easy sideline passes and—at the 43 second mark of the second quarter—heaving an interception that Argos cornerback Pacino Horne ran back for a major.
For Calgary, arguably the CFL hottest team, it was the fooball equivalent of a tire fire. Two-and-outs. Broken offensive plays. Untimely penalties. With the score 24-6, the Stamps retreated to their locker room seeking some small glimmer of hope. But they couldn’t find it.
Yes, Glenn rebounded a bit in the third quarter, putting the team into a position to score. “But if you don’t score touchdowns,” said Stamps coach John Hufnagel ruefully, “you’re going to have a hard time winning, and we had to keep settling for field goals.”
There was more to the Argos’ triumph, of course, than Ray’s serenity. Or his deadly accurate arm. Credit will got to Scott Milanovich, the Argos no-nonsense coach for constructing a multi-faceted offence, allowing Ray options he says he never had with other teams. It is also due the devastating Toronto defence, which stuffed Calgary’s one shot at a major at the one yard line.
And, of course, Kackert.
But for me, this game goes down as the one that nudges Ray into the pantheon of great CFL QBs, alongside Flutie and Cavillo and Damon Allen. Despite his 2005 nod as Grey Cup MVP (when he beat Calvillo and the Montreal Alouettes), and his resilience amid the sharp decline of the Edmonton Eskimos afterward, that level of recognition for Ray was in doubt.
He had endured the stigma of yesterday’s man before last winter’s blockbuster trade that brought him to Toronto. He arrived in a city where the future of Canadian football, never mind the Argonauts, remained in question. Over a bumpy regular season, and a better playoff season, his calm seemed to spread. He has laid those questions to rest—at least for the time being.
His performance tonight brings to mind the aforementioned legends in their primes: not the best of his career, but great in the cauldron-like conditions of Canada’s biggest annual sports gathering. Ray is a player who can carry his team, and a good many of the 53,208 people crammed into the Rogers Centre tonight could see it. They shouted their appreciation when Ray stepped onto the dais for the Cup ceremony.
Ray was reluctant to reflect on his legacy after the game, citing the years left in his career: “Hopefully when I’m done playing I’ll have time to reflect on all the memories, the great years I’ve had,” he said.
So enjoy your luck, Toronto. And make the most of the time you have left with a future legend.
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 11:00 PM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Over one hundred years after the first Grey Cup was played, the…
TORONTO – Over one hundred years after the first Grey Cup was played, the Toronto Argonauts brought the iconic trophy back to where it all started.
A sold-out crowd of 53,208 at the Rogers Centre rose to their feet and erupted into a deafening roar as the final seconds ticked off the Argos’ 35-22 win over the Calgary Stampeders on Sunday in the 100th Grey Cup game.
Argos fan Ben Westerik said it’s fitting that his hometown team was able to claim a place in Canadian football history with this win.
“It means a lot,” said the 22-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., after the game. “Since the first Grey Cup was won here, and now the 100th has been won … it’s pretty fantastic.”
The first Grey Cup was won in 1909 by the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on a field in what is now the upscale neighbourhood of Rosedale.
Westerik says the championship title also comes at an appropriate for a city that has been struggling to hold onto its football fans amid a myriad of other professional sports options.
“I mean this city hasn’t had a championship star for a couple of years now. Everyone kind of feels like we are the sports city that always loses and it’s kind of felt that way for a good long time now,” he said.
“And now we finally have ourselves a championship. So I’m feeling pretty ecstatic.”
The highly anticipated match got off to a quick start with Chad Owens, this year’s CFL outstanding player, scoring the first touchdown minutes into the game.
The crowd — many dressed in Argos blue — waved flags, blew into plastic horns and bellowed out the team’s trademark chant — “Arrrrgoooooooos!” — throughout the high-stakes match between the East and West Division champions.
Those dressed in Stampeders red could also be heard screaming “Go Stamps Go!” at the start, but were given little chance to cheer in the second half of the game.
Defeated fan Dan Schaffer had little to say following the loss.
“The Stamps got crushed,” said the 50-year-old from Fort Erie, Ont. “They stink.”
But says he still believes they have can make it up next year.
“They always have a chance,” Schaffer said.
Calgary native Julie Ward said Toronto just played a better game.
“They played a tough game but Toronto beat us. What can we say?” she asked. “(The Stamps) tried their best and they did their best.”
The atmosphere outside the stadium was rowdy as joyous Argos fans whooped and chanted in the streets. Cars driving by honked their horns and flew CFL flags from their windows.
There was a noticeable police presence outside the stadium before and after the game, but cold temperatures most likely deterred raucous fans from getting into trouble.
Both CFL teams had a lot on the line for a win. Calgary hadn’t won a Grey Cup since 2008 and Toronto hadn’t hoisted the trophy since 2004. And the last time the Argos won the Grey Cup at home was in 1952 when they beat the Edmonton Eskimos.
Governor-General David Johnston, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi were among the dignitaries at the game.
Harper, who is from Toronto but has his political riding in Calgary, sent a tweet after the game congratulating the Argos on the win.
Ford and Nenshi had made a bet on its outcome, with the mayor of the losing city promising to donate his weight in food to a food bank and wear the winning team’s jersey to a council meeting.
After the final whistle Nenshi sent out a tweet congratulating the Argos on a great game, and thanked the Stampeders for “an incredible season, and to Toronto for putting on an amazing event.”
Meanwhile, Alberta Premier Alison Redford and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty had bet before the game that the premier of the losing province would have to donate 100 warm clothing items to a charitable group of the winning premier’s choice. They agreed towards the end of the game that both would make a donation.
Argos fan Justine Bertrand came to the game from nearby Ajax, Ont., with her mother, father, husband and six-year-old son Aedan.
She says a win will show the rest of Canada that Toronto is a still a football town.
“It would mean a lot to this city because the city has nothing to cheer about right now,” Bertrand said. “It will mean a lot to the fans because there are faithful fans in this city that nobody remembers.”
Bertrand was ecstatic at the turnout for the game.
“This feels good to see everybody out here,” she said.
Inside the stadium, the mood was jovial between Argos and Stamps fans, along with others representing the league’s remaining teams.
But the crowd was quick to show its distaste for the halftime show performer, teen idol Justin Bieber.
Both times when a photo of the Stratford, Ont., native was shown on the JumboTron, the crowd erupted into boos.
And when the superstar hit the stage following performances by Carly Rae Jepsen Jepsen, pop-punk bank Marianas Trench, and Canadian rock legend Gordon Lightfoot, the football fans continued with long and enduring jeers.
Argos fan Jamie Wolodarskym says the Argos are long overdue for a title and a win at home is just icing on the cake.
“It means everything,” said the 40-year-old Toronto man.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Sunday’s game was 100 years after the first Grey Cup.
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 7:09 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – An epic battle between east and west is set to unfold in…
TORONTO – An epic battle between east and west is set to unfold in Canada’s largest city Sunday, as the Toronto Argonauts face off with the Calgary Stampeders for the 2012 Grey Cup championship title.
More than 52,000 CFL fans from across the country are expected to pack into Toronto’s Rogers Centre for the 6 p.m. kickoff in the high-stakes 100th anniversary game.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi are among the dignitaries expected to be at the match, which will feature an anticipated half-time show with Canadian rock legend Gordon Lightfoot, teen idol Justin Bieber, pop star Carly Rae Jepsen and pop-punk band Marianas Trench.
Harper, who is originally from Toronto but whose political riding is in Calgary, has already announced that he’ll be cheering for a Stampeders win in the centennial game.
Even the two mayors have made a public bet, with the loser promising to donate his weight in food to a food bank and wear the winning team’s jersey to a council meeting.
Both the Argos and the Stamps have a lot on the line when the pigskin flies Sunday.
Calgary hasn’t won a Grey Cup since 2008 and Toronto, struggling to increase its fan base, has not won the coveted trophy since 2004.
Argos fan Jamie Wolodarskym says the city is ready for a double-blue win.
“It means everything,” said the 40-year-old from Toronto. “We’re at home. This is our game. This is our year. We’re going to take it all.”
In anticipation, Wolodarskym says his face will stay painted blue until the Argos takes home the trophy.
Mark Wlodarski, from nearby Mississauga, Ont., says Toronto is a big sports city but a win has the potential to make fans love the Argos again.
“The Grey Cup is all about bringing everyone, all of Canada together, and have some fun,” said 29-year-old Wlodarski.
“There have always been the true fans.. and yes, we don’t really show up that much but the city can see it now — that the Argos fans are here, and… (we) bleed blue.”
Lori Bursey, who runs the official Argos fan club, says CFL fans deserve credit for sticking it out in a city with a myriad of professional sports clubs including hockey, baseball, basketball and soccer teams.
“This town needs this shot in the arm,” said Bursey, who started the club in 1991 and now boasts more than 350 registered members.
“It’s no secret that this city yearns for a winner and I would think it would be so important not just for the league but for the city, for it to be part of this great historical Grey Cup.”
But if this week leading up to the big game on Sunday was any indication, the Calgary Stampeders have luck on their side.
On Thursday, Stamps fans rode their horse Marty into the upscale Royal York Hotel to recreate a tradition that was started in 1948. The lucky superstition almost didn’t happen until the hotel called the group back after seeing the 15-year-old stallion trotted all over town.
On the same day the CFL also made a compromise with the team, agreeing to allow their horse mascot Quick Six to stand in the sidelines of the big game but didn’t go as far as letting it charge up and down the field — as is done during regular season Calgary matches.
At the start of the week, the Calgary Grey Cup Committee had vowed to “paint this town Calgary!” and bring the cup back west.
Calgary fan Dennis Schwartz says whether you’re rooting for the West or for the East, the Grey Cup faceoff will no doubt unite Canada.
“It’s 100 years and it’s totally Canadian,” said Schwartz, who drove in from Harrow, Ont., near Windsor.
“A Canadian team is going to win no matter what.”
By macleans.ca - Friday, November 23, 2012 at 11:55 AM - 0 Comments
Toronto hosts the 100th Grey Cup and lunar phases have no effect on incidences of psychological problems
A pale horse coming
It’s hard to imagine a better Grey Cup matchup: the surging Calgary Stampeders versus the hometown Toronto Argonauts, whose presence will turn the 100th-anniversary game at the Rogers Centre into the promotional extravaganza the CFL hoped for. Look for white-hatted Stamps fans to invade Hogtown (and for the Royal York Hotel to keep a shovel in its lobby), while we keep a keen eye on the mayor’s brother, Councillor Doug Ford, who marred the announcement that the Grey Cup would be held in Toronto by declaring his wish to bring the NFL to town. Hop on the CFL bandwagon, Doug. There’s plenty of room.
The proper prescription
Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq got it right this week when she refused to ban the generic version of OxyContin, resisting pressure from addiction groups and the Ontario government. Yes, the drug is a magnet for addicts, but when used properly, it’s a safe alternative to raw opiates like morphine. The cabinet of your local pharmacy has scores of drugs in the same class as oxycodone. Instead of banning them, provinces must do what they’re legally empowered to do: control them. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 8:49 PM - 0 Comments
The Grey Cup was recently brought on the Hill and into the House of…
By The Canadian Press - Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 9:05 PM - 0 Comments
Here’s how armchair observers reacted to news that Justin Bieber will perform during the halftime show at the Grey Cup next month
TORONTO – The Canadian Football League is offering a diverse mix of performers for the halftime show of the 100th Grey Cup.
Teen heart-throb Justin Bieber, singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, pop-rock group Marianas Trench and pop star Carly Rae Jepsen will perform at halftime of the league’s championship game Nov. 25 at Rogers Centre, the CFL announced Saturday.
Country artist Johnny Reid and rocker Burton Cummings will headline a special kickoff show before the game.
“We are absolutely thrilled to unveil an all-Canadian, all-star lineup that features the biggest pop star in the world, the woman who gave us one of the biggest songs ever, one of the hottest young bands in the country, an iconic balladeer, a rock and roll legend, and one of this country’s leading entertainers,” CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said in a release.
“This array of stars will command a huge and diverse audience, entertaining our most loyal fans and attracting new ones to our game’s greatest showcase. It spans genres and generations. And it’s quintessentially Canadian and undoubtedly world class, at the same time.”
Nickelback played last year’s Grey Cup halftime show in Vancouver.
Here’s how Twitter responded to the Bieber news:
By Michael Friscolanti and Charlie Gillis - Monday, November 30, 2009 at 6:33 PM - 13 Comments
Someone blew the Grey Cup for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. But was it really Jason Armstead?
When a sports team chokes, the choke in question doesn’t usually require much explanation. The Boston Red Sox lost that World Series game to the Mets because Billy Buckner let a slow groundball dribble through his legs. The Buffalo Bills blew their first of four Super Bowl chances because Scott Norwood was wide right. And the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s probably would have won five straight Stanley Cups had rookie defenceman Steve Smith not passed the puck into his own net.
The 97th Grey Cup featured its own memorable choke: the underdog Saskatchewan Roughriders lost to the Montreal Alouettes by one measly point because someone wearing a green jersey was on the field when he should have been on the sidelines. But unlike Buckner and Norwood and Smith—whose gaffes were instantly obvious—we still don’t know who actually screwed up. The coaches are not saying and, to their credit, the culprit’s teammates aren’t throwing him under the bus either.
Here’s what we do know. With five seconds left on the clock and the Als down by two, Damon Duval attempted a 43-yard field goal that didn’t even come close to the uprights. But to the horror of Rider Nation, penalty flags flew as soon as the ball was snapped. Saskatchewan had 13 men on the field—one too many—and Duval was granted a do-over from ten yard closer. He didn’t miss. Alouettes 28, Riders 27. Game over.
Fingers were quickly pointed at Jason Armstead, the Rider receiver who was standing in touchdown territory when Duval missed kick number one. “It looked like somebody ran on late into the end zone,” said TSN broadcaster Chris Cuthbert. It certainly did seem strange that the Riders—desperate to block the field goal attempt—would waste a player in the end zone when an extra body would have certainly helped on the line of scrimmage. Even if the Als missed the kick and the ball traveled through the end zone, the resulting single point would not have cost the Riders the Cup. (At least one fan is convinced that Armstead is to blame. Just hours after the final whistle, some semi-literate soul altered the receiver’s Wikipedia profile to say he “was responsible for a crucial penalty during the final play of the 2009 Grey Cup” and “ultimately put the Montreal Alouettes in field goal position”).
In the locker room, Armstead proclaimed his innocence. “What kind of question is that?” he told reporters. “Come on, ask a smart question. Don’t do that. Ask a smart question.”
What he should have said is: “Check out the replay.” Because the video footage of those final, critical moments raises an interesting question: If Armstead is the goat, why was he on the field not just for the first, penalized play, but for both of Montreal’s field goal attempts?
That’s right. Look closely at TSN’s pictures of Duval’s second kick, and you’ll see Armstead still in the Roughriders’ end zone (at 1:22 of the clip, directly behind the official on the right hand side). Surely if he was supposed to be on the line of scrimmage—or off the field entirely—he would have been gone from the end zone for the Mulligan.
Yes, the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox makes a good point about the redundancy of having a returner in the end zone if conceding a single point wouldn’t have cost Saskatchewan the game. But it’s possible the Rider coaches worried that something would go wrong with their attempt to block Duval’s kick. Montreal might somehow recover the ball in the air after it had been blocked, in which case having one last man to prevent an Alouette ball-carrier from entering the end zone might have come in handy.
And look at the CFL Rulebook’s section on scoring: if the ball goes into the end zone “as a direct result of a kick from scrimmage being blocked in the field of play or goal area,” it says, and the player in possession takes a knee, the result is not single point, but a safety touch, which is worth two points. Two points would have tied the game.
Would a tipped ball that wound up in the end zone qualify as a “direct result” of a block? Hard to know. The rule was likely written for scenarios where a team is punting from deep within its own territory yet gets stuffed by defenders.
In the end, the Saskatchewan coaches might simply have made a big mistake, putting a man in the end zone when they didn’t need to. But put him there they did. Twice. Which suggests their heads fit the goat horns about as well as Armstead’s—if not nearly as well as the mystery player who stayed on the field when he was supposed to come off.
By Charlie Gillis - Friday, November 21, 2008 at 3:29 PM - 3 Comments
Oh, to be in the Sexy City when the Als are playing in the…
Oh, to be in the Sexy City when the Als are playing in the Grey Cup. Wait, I will be there! As a fan, not an official blogger…
Just as well, because it is sad and disturbing to see an accredited member of the press screaming obscenities at Stampeder fans, as I will no doubt do at some point this weekend (can’t help it, lived in Edmonton for seven years, Calgarians are hicks, etc, etc).
Meantime, Commissioner Mark Cohon tells us the CFL is in pretty good shape all things considered, with the notable exception of the put-a-team-Ottawa initiative, which has been put off until, er, 2011. All in all, buddy’s doing a great job, though.
So it says here, Als by five—and I don’t give a fig about the season series. They have the best QB in the league. They’ve got Ben Cahoon (aka the Big Cahoona), who can haul in a passing seagull if he wants to, never mind the damn ball. They’ve got a young phenom in Jamel Richardson. They’ve got a super-tough D to run against.
Red Horse, beware.