The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are headed to their fourth consecutive Grey Cup championship game this weekend, and while thousands of Winnipeggers made the drive to Regina to watch the blue and gold in last year’s final, Sunday’s game is a bit more of a drive.
There’s more than 2,100 kilometres between Winnipeg’s IG Field and Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont. That hasn’t stopped some Bombers die-hards, however.
Winnipeg’s Willie Reavely and Terry Dmytryk left the city Wednesday morning and — including a sightseeing stop in Chicago en route — had Hamilton in their sights around 24-hours later.
Reavely told 680 CJOB’s The Start he was considering flying out to the game if the Bombers were to win last weekend’s West Final matchup against the B.C. Lions, but with no direct Winnipeg-to-Hamilton flights, it would have required some maneuvering. When he looked up flights from Winnipeg-to-Toronto after the game, he noticed prices had gone up considerably.
“Once the Bombers won Saturday night, at WestJet the flights went up double to triple the price,” he said.
“My buddy Terry was planning to drive the whole time. I had to manoeuvre some holiday time because I work in education so I couldn’t fully commit until I got the OK from my school.”
Once he got the time-off sorted, the two hit the road. Once they arrive, Reavely will be staying with family before the big game, while Dmytryk was able to find a hotel.
And while Winnipeg saw the return of snowy weather Thursday morning, the road to Hamilton — and hopefully to another Grey Cup championship for the Bombers — has been perfect so far, he said.
“Right now the roads and weather are on our side. I can honestly say I’ve worn shorts the entire trip,” Reavely said. “Had the weather been different, I might have just paid and flew out there.”
While many of the Bombers faithful are preparing for Sunday by arranging travel to the Steel City or planning Grey Cup parties at home, some local fans are recognizing the occasion in other ways.
Grammy and Juno-nominated rapper Fresh I.E. has collaborated with Bombers defensive back Brandon Alexander on a new single, “For the W”, in support of the team’s Grey Cup run.
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Fresh told The Start that he was impressed with Alexander’s musical talent (credited as “A’BA” on the song) and their connection on the track was a natural one.
“It’s something I wasn’t expecting to happen this year, but it came to me, it came to us, and we wanted to do something just to hold up our city and our province and the Bomber nation to cheer on our team and our fans,” he said.
“B.A.’s got it. I’m really proud of that song… we wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be cheesy, we wanted to make it relevant. We actually did write it together, we got into the studio and sat down and went through it together. It’s been quite the process, and now we look forward to doing more stuff together as he’s a big member of the community — he lives here now.”
That community connection, Fresh said, is a big part of why the Bombers’ fanbase is so passionate… although going to four consecutive championship games certainly doesn’t hurt.
“Even just from sitting down with him and hearing his heart, he’s an authentic guy. His love for our community here, his excitement for being here… he loves Winnipeg, man. To know that the players that are here, they’re invested — not just for career, they’re actually invested for the community and they’re doing their part for making it a better place too.
“Hats off to those guys.”
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