Some Blue Bombers fans angry with tightened security
Outside food, beverages banned from home games this season
Some Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans say they are furious with how the team is implementing a new security policy, in which snacks and drinks are being confiscated at home games.
Starting this season, people entering Canad Inns for Bombers games are being searched, and outside food and beverages are prohibited.
"Terrible. It really is," Ronnie Osadchuk, who has been a season ticket holder for 41 years, told CBC News on Tuesday.
"I don't know why they're doing this, for what purpose. They're driving people away."
Osadchuk said security guards at the stadium have been confiscating fruit, snacks and even bottled water that fans have brought from home.
"One of the things that I find really ludicrous, so to speak, is you can bring a bottle of water in, and you must then pour it out in front of them, and you can then take that empty bottle and go up and fill it in the lavatory," he said.
More about making money?
Osadchuk and other fans say they think the team's new policy is more about making money on concessions, rather than boosting security.
"It does bother me that I have to pay $4 for a bottle of water, but I have to live with it if I'm going to be supporting the Bombers," said Kingsley Franklin, a season ticket holder.
Osadchuk noted that in contrast, the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team does not search its fans or confiscate their food or beverages.
Bombers fans with medical issues such as diabetes can obtain special exemption passes so they can bring any necessary food into the stadium.
But Rob Fraser, whose 17-year-old son has Type 1 diabetes, said the teen's medical identification bracelet should be proof enough.
"Why is there a need for a child and their family to disclose they have a chronic disease?" Fraser said.
"There's absolutely no need in my opinion for that, and the children wear MedicAlert bracelets to identify themselves."
Some noisemakers also banned
It's not the first time the Blue Bombers have faced heat from unhappy fans this season over new security measures.
In June, the team banned the use of homemade noisemakers, including cowbells and empty paint cans filled with rocks, from home games. It did, however, back away from its original ban on all noisemakers.
Osadchuk said he has written to Bombers officials, demanding that they reverse the policy banning outside food and drinks. Fraser is also calling on the Blue Bombers to change its policy.
"It was getting harder and harder to say, 'Gee, I'm not enjoying this, where I'm being made to feel like a criminal even before I get to the game.' I haven't done nothing. I'm a fan; I have been for 41 years," Osadchuk said.
Bombers officials would only say on Tuesday that fans having problems should contact them directly.
Officials said they will address fans' concerns sometime within the next 48 hours.
Meanwhile, team brass released details on Tuesday about their upcoming fan appreciation day, slated for the day before the team's annual Banjo Bowl game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Fans will be invited to the stadium on Sept. 8 for a team autograph session, children's activities, and free concerts by rock bands The Watchmen and Northern Pikes.