Three turnovers in the first quarter and seven overall. As they say in football, if you lose the turnover battle, chances are you’ll lose the war. And that’s exactly the way it played out in Calgary last weekend. You knew it was going to be a long game for Hamilton when they turned it over on their first two possessions of the game, and three times in the first quarter alone.
Winnipeg showed up to play, Hamilton did not.
Either way, the game they dubbed “The Drought Bowl” in reference to the length of futility of both teams in capturing the Grey Cup, had to have a happy ending for one team.
Neither team had won a Grey Cup in this century.
With Winnipeg winning the championship for the first time since 1990 and their other “major” pro sports team, the Winnipeg Jets having never won a Stanley Cup - and never even competing in a Stanley Cup final - it wouldn’t surprise me if this win helps with the psyche of Winnipeggers.
Growing up in Edmonton when the Eskimos were celebrating five Grey Cups in a row and the Edmonton Oilers were hoisting five Stanley Cups in seven years, you could possibly forgive many Edmontonians for being, let’s say, a little arrogant about their sports teams. Spoiled even.
I’ve been told by more than one friend that an Edmonton Oilers fan is one of the most obnoxious fans in hockey - when the team is winning.
I can see that.
The cup runneth over with high-end hall of fame talent having worn the Oilers jersey over the past 40 years.
For a good 15 years or so, it seemed that every year, we’d see a parade marching down Jasper Avenue in downtown Edmonton. After a while, even the most ardent sports fan became a tad blasé, almost bored with winning. It got to the point with the Oilers in the 80s that it wasn’t enough just to win the game, they had to blow out every opponent in order to satisfy the faithful.
We were so pompous as to erect a large sign at the entrance to Edmonton proclaiming ourselves as “City of Champions”.
We believed it and no one could deny it. “Just look at the hardware,” we’d say.
All that came to an abrupt end when the Oilers won their last Cup in 1990.
You never think the winning will end.
So to all you Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans, enjoy the long-awaited victory. Well deserved. Maybe my hometown could lend you one of their oversized out-dated signs. After all, local supporters of the Oilers haven’t had a good use for it in a long, long time.