Manitoba

Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans take over Hamilton for Grey Cup weekend

Winnipeg fans have descended on Hamilton, hoping the Blue Bombers will bring home their third Grey Cup in four years.

'The Grey Cup draws people together more than anything else,' says Bombers fan Hans Stasiuk

Five people standing dressed in different blue and gold outfits
Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans are hoping to cheer the team to its third Grey Cup win in four years. From left to right: Megan Adams, Leigh Adams, Lambertus Franciscus Maria Lange, Quinn Adams-Sneisen and Brian Seebalack. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans decked out in blue and gold have descended on Hamilton ahead of Sunday's Grey Cup, hoping to cheer their team to its third Canadian Football League championship win in the past four years. 

Hans Stasiuk has been to nearly 40 Grey Cups and always wears his Bombers gear with pride. His first one was in 1980 when his dad took him.

"It was a good father-son bonding," he said. 

It became a family tradition, and since his dad's passing, one he has continued with his own son. 

For Stasiuk, the championship weekend is a time for people from all stripes to come together.

"The Grey Cup draws people together more than anything else," Stasiuk said.

"Everyone leaves their politics at home, they leave their problems at home, and they are just here to have fun and celebrate the great Canadian game of football."

A woman standing in a crowd at a stadium cheers as she waves blue and gold pom-poms.
A Winnipeg Blue Bombers fan celebrates during the Western Division final on Saturday, Nov. 11. Bombers fans in Hamilton say they're confident the team can bring the Grey Cup home this year. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

The camaraderie at games is also a draw for sisters Leigh and Megan Adams, who flew in with friends from all over Manitoba.

"[It's] just being around our people," said Leigh. "Everyone's friendly, and we just like to come and just have fun. We look forward to it every year."

Their love of the game came from early days, when they would go with their dad.

"[He] was a big Bomber fan. I think he just kind of, like, passed it on to us," Megan said. "So we've been season ticket holders for, like, 20 years."

The sisters were part of a group taking in festivities Friday at Bomber House, in the Hamilton Convention Centre, where the team party headquarters are.

Quinn Adams-Sneisen, in Hamilton for her fifth Grey Cup, said she's a good luck charm for the team. 

"I know they depend on me — they depend on me to cheer, and they depend on me to come here. So I will keep on coming until we carry our Grey Cup into the [sunset]," she said. 

Two men in sports jerseys and blue and gold wigs.
Bombers fans Herb Reynolds, left, and Jim Sanders taking in some of the pre-game festivities on Friday. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

While her beloved Bombers are looking for a big win over the Montreal Alouettes Sunday, she said it's important to simply be in Hamilton to celebrate and take in all of the events happening around town. 

The Grey Cup is a chance for people from all over the country to come together, no matter which CFL team they cheer for, she said.

"It's a unique Canadian tradition that I think you have to hold on to," said Adams-Sneisen. "We have to support it, and it brings the nation together."

Bombers fan John "Cooch" Couture arrived Thursday with his crew of friends who get together every year for the CFL championship game.

For him, this year's is extra special. 

"It's my 50th Grey Cup since 1974," Couture said. "And the Bombers are here for my 50th Grey Cup.… I'm a very lucky guy."

A man standing between two women
John 'Cooch' Couture, pictured with members of the Bombers Cheer Team, is attending his 50th Grey Cup this weekend. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

Couture's jersey was decked out Friday in pins. Blue and gold bead necklaces adorned his neck, and he even had a rubber chicken attached — which he squeezes to make a noise if he sees a player "choke" during the game. 

However, he's confident it won't get any use this weekend.

"You won't hear it on Sunday — no, you won't hear the chicken at all," Couture said. 

WATCH | 'Cooch' is ready for his 50th Grey Cup:

'Cooch' is ready for his 50th Grey Cup

3 months ago
Duration 3:22
A Winnipeg Blue Bombers superfan talks about his excitement ahead of the team's 2023 Grey Cup match against the Montreal Alouettes.

While the Bombers lost to the Toronto Argonauts in last year's Grey Cup, fans this year said Hamilton may just bring good luck.

The team ended its three-decade championship drought in 2019 while playing the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Calgary, and won again by taking down the Ti-Cats in Hamilton in 2021.

"We're gonna beat the Alouettes," Couture said.

While Montreal has a good defence, "they won't be able to hold our offence as good as they did against Toronto."

"We'll win the game probably 35 to 16."

The Grey Cup gets underway Sunday at 5 p.m. CT.

WATCH | Excitement builds for Blue Bombers fans in Hamilton:

Excitement builds for Blue Bombers fans in Hamilton

3 months ago
Duration 1:37
Grey Cup festivities get underway in Hamilton and Brittany Greenslade speaks with some fans.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brittany Greenslade is an award-winning journalist who joined CBC in 2023. Prior to that she worked with Global News for 11 years, covering health, justice, crime, politics and everything in between. Brittany won the RTDNA Dan McArthur In-Depth Investigative award in 2018 for her stories that impacted government change after a Manitoba man was left with a $120,000 medical bill. Share tips and story ideas: brittany.greenslade@cbc.ca

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