Montgomery has followed the CFL for years – dating back to the days of hall of fame quarterback Dieter Brock – and gets a kick out of following college players from his area as they move from the SEC (the NCAA’s South Eastern Conference) to the CFL.
For Calgary, this is their 3 straight trip to the Grey Cup game; and after losing to the Argonauts last year and to Ottawa the year before, you have to believe the Stampeders motivation to win on Sunday will be sky high.
In fact, he started a Facebook group called CFL fans in SEC country for people in the area to talk about the league.
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There’s a lot of good players that went to Auburn and Alabama and Mississippi State and LSU and some of those schools that are now playing in the CFL, Montgomery pointed out.
I’m an Auburn fan and I know you got two good Auburn players on the Riders in Nick Marshall and Tre Mason and really enjoyed watching them play this year.
But it wasn’t Mason or Marshall that made Montgomery a Roughrider fan. In his travels to games – mostly in eastern Canada to start – he met people from all over the league but was naturally drawn to the Saskatchewan fans.
(We) met a lot of people from Saskatchewan and just kind of gravitated to that team, he said. We’ve been fortunate enough to meet (Riders head coach Chris Jones), he lives down here, not too far away from where we live, and we think he’s really a great coach.
Montgomery has also attended two games at Mosaic Stadium in the last few years and met all kinds of great people and formed some really good lifelong friendships.
The Renegades began operation in 2002 but were suspended indefinitely by the CFL after four seasons due to financial instability. Following decades of mismanagement in the city, even drafting a deceased player and questionable decisions by out-of-town ownership, Ottawa 67s owner Jeff Hunt headed up a local ownership group that revitalized Lansdowne Park and brought the CFL back to the Canadian capital with the Redblacks.
So of course when Montgomery booked his Grey Cup tickets he had hoped that the Saskatchewan Roughriders would be there, but with them out the atmosphere of the festival alone was enough for him to come along anyway.
I’ve never really seen anything like it, just the way that all of the different fan bases come together have a good time and intermingle, Montgomery said shortly after arriving in Edmonton. We met a lot of great people. We have good friends that are Ti-Cat fans and Argos fans and Redblacks fans. We enjoy visiting.
Desjardins is enjoying much more success in his second GM stint than he did in his first. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats fired Desjardins on Nov. 5, 2007, less than 15 months after hiring him following four-plus seasons as an assistant to then-Montreal Alouettes GM Jim Popp.
As for who he thinks is going to win, Montgomery isn’t sure. Though he seems to slightly favour the Redblacks.
Rogers has missed time already this season due to injury. He is one of an emergency ward full of Calgary pass-catchers who have gone down this season, forcing quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell to run through a series of receivers while still leading an offence that was second in the CFL in points scored at 26.8 per game.
And one thing is for sure – he was one of those cheering the loudest at last night’s award show when Jones won CFL coach of the year.
There is nobody that works harder at any level of coaching, he said a few hours before the on Thursday ceremony. He is running camps all year round, searching for players and coming up with people like Nick Marshall who was off everybody’s radar… I sure hope he wins it and I think it’s much deserved.”
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The Calgary Stampeders continued their Grey Cup tradition of riding a horse through a hotel lobby in the host city for the CFL championship.
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Tuffy, a quarter horse mare, first rode through a hotel convention room before trotting over and checking in at the hotel’s front desk.
The tradition of Calgarians bringing a horse to the Grey Cup goes back to 1948, when a trainload of fans rode to Toronto, and rode a horse through the Royal York Hotel.
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After a two-year absence from the Grey Cup games in Ottawa in 2017 and Toronto in 2016, the only live mascot in the CFL clip-clopped through the lobby of the downtown Edmonton Hotel.
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Phil Landon rides 1/4 horse Tuffy, through the lobby of the Chateau Lacombe as per Grey Cup tradition, in Edmonton, November 22, 2018. Photo by Ed Kaiser Ed Kaiser / Postmedia