It was a fitting send off to Canad Inns Stadium. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers win over the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the East Division final sends the team to the Grey Cup and closes the chapter on the 58 year old stadium.
“I remember when it first opened,” said Herb Johnson. “We thought it was pretty fancy, pretty good. now we can’t wait to get rid of it.”
It was in 1956, three years after the stadium opened, Johnson bought his first season ticket. He’ll never forget watching Bomber great Kenny Ploen take to the turf.
But the 87-year old’s most cherished memory would have to be cheering on the Blue and Gold with his dad by his side.
“You couldn’t as for better company. He was a great Bomber fan. He loved the bombers, and I just loved to be with him. It grew on me. His love passed on to me,” said Johnson.
It’s in these stands that infectious football fever spread from generation to generation.
“I’ve been here very long, maybe since I was two and all the way up to now,” said 10-year-old Terry Barber before Sunday’s game.
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The players themselves couldn’t help but get wrapped up in the nostalgia of saying goodbye.
“This really is our last opportunity here to pay homage to all the great teams and the storied legacies that have happened in these compounds of this stadium,” said Bomber player Doug Brown.
For 58 years football fans have flocked to the stadium to cheer on their team, but they weren’t always so supportive of its home.
“I’m looking forward to the new stadium and to new things, new washrooms, larger seats, bigger seats, more leg room and everything,” said Debbie Slevin.
That will all come next season, when the new $190 million stadium opens in south Winnipeg. Even with shiny new digs, fans won’t soon forget all the fun had on the old turf.
“I was here for the hall of fame game years ago when Milt Stegall caught four passes and each on of them was for a touchdown,” said Dennis Fast. “I’ll never forget that.”
There’s no doubt many more memories were made today with the boys in blue securing their spot in the Grey Cup.