WINNIPEG - That was one hell of a homecoming week.
Most of the buzz was around the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with the unveiling of the Grey Cup banner, nearly 30,000 fans in the stands, and then the manhandling of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Thursday night. Wade Miller and his team did a fabulous job in the organization of that event after IG Field being dark since October 25th 2019. They had a couple of dress rehearsals with the Valour FC and Canadian Premier League over the last little while, but the CFL season was announced way back in April, so they had some time to prepare.
That was not the case with the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Andrew Collier and his staff pulled off relocating the team from Tennessee in less than 2 weeks from when the province gave them the green light to return home. And let’s be clear, this isn’t a team with the financial resources of the Toronto Blue Jays who could hire a team of doctors, lawyers, and immigration experts to facilitate their return home. The Goldeyes staff all multi-task; in fact during a rain delay you can watch Andrew and his front office staff pulling a tarp on the field. There isn’t an “executive lounge” where the staff gather to watch the game. It’s all hands on deck.
Less than a week after they put tickets on sale, the Fish opened the gates last Tuesday. It was almost 2 full years since they played at Shaw Park, and opening night was flawless. Sure, in true Winnipegger fashion people showed up 5 minutes before game time creating long lines to get in, and some concessions stands remained closed, but for the almost 3000 fans in attendance it was a magical night. They smacked their opponents the Sioux City Explorers 14-6, starting a streak of 6 consecutive wins.
It was a great sports week in Winnipeg.