Fans welcome Calgary Stampeders home after Grey Cup victory
'We're going to try to share this with Calgary, we're going to be out in the city,' coach says
Dozens of Calgary Stampeders fans were waiting when the team arrived home to McMahon Stadium on Monday, a day after beating the Ottawa Redblacks 27-16 to capture the Grey Cup.
"We're going to try to share this with Calgary, we're going to be out in the city … I'm glad the guys were able to do something they'll never forget," said head coach Dave Dickenson after stepping off the bus.
"Last year was such a heartbreaker … I think it had to happen, we needed this. If we would have lost, it would have just been a pit in our stomachs for the rest of our lives. I'm proud of our guys and it was well deserved."
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A larger rally for Calgarians to celebrate with the team is planned for Tuesday, noon to 1 p.m., at Municipal Plaza in front of City Hall.
As a result, northbound Macleod Trail will be closed between Sixth Avenue and Ninth Avenue S.E., along with Eighth Avenue between Macleod Trail and First Street S.E.
The road closures will last from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Calgary won the CFL title in its third straight appearance in the championship game, having lost 39-33 in overtime to Ottawa in 2016 and then dropping a 27-24 decision last year to the Toronto Argonauts.
It's the Stampeders' eighth Grey Cup, and the team's first victory since 2014.
'I've been waiting for this'
Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell — the CFL's most outstanding player this season after tossing a league-best 35 touch downs — was the game MVP with two touchdown passes and two interceptions.
Stampeders receiver Lemar Durant was named the Most Outstanding Canadian, with four catches for 30 yards, a touch down and a 22-yard run.
Terry Williams had a record 97-yard punt-return touchdown for the Stampeders on a slippery Commonwealth Stadium turf in Edmonton.
Dickenson held the Grey Cup over his head after stepping off the bus, giving the cheering fans a chance to touch it.
A season ticket holder for the past 22 years, Dennis Mueller was among the faithful who turned out to greet the team at McMahon Stadium.
"Boy, I've been waiting for this for four years now," he said.
"To win it in Edmonton, Alberta, that was fantastic. It's an incredible feeling, you just feel so good. That first series, you could tell they were focused, they knew what they had to do."
Born in Calgary but raised in Ontario, Aaron Evans said he has been a lifelong Stamps fan and brought his two daughters to McMahon to celebrate with the team.
"It's just a special occasion. It's a great experience," he said.
Evans, who has been a season ticket holder for the past 20 years, said he took a unique approach to preparing for this year's final.
"I wasn't worried, but all week, anybody who wanted to talk about the game, I wouldn't," he said.
"The last couple of years I've been very talkative, so I was like, I'm going to do something different this year, I'm going to have a different take. I like to think it helped. I know it didn't, but I'll take the outcome."
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With files from Dave Gilson