Friday, 15 March 2013

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

This is my final blog for the school semester. I may continue to blog about the few CFL teams that I did not have a chance to talk about. But if this is my final blog, I would like to take the opportunity to write about the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of this team. I am originally from Hamilton, Ont. and consider myself a Hamiltonian and a die-hard fan. Some say, I bleed 'black and gold'.

I would like to think that I have been a fan since the day I was born. I mean, it was my father who took me to my first game and we continue that tradition. When he was a child, he started attending Tiger-Cat games, sitting in the west endzone for fifty cents. The prices have increased dramatically since.

Fans of the Tiger-Cats have been through a lot over the years. 29 championship appearances, 15 Grey Cup victories, ownership changes, renovations, possible bankruptcies and now a team that is going to play an entire season on the road in Guelph, Ont.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have many passionate fan bases. The most popular group is called the 'Box J Boys'. These are a group of men who exemplify the definition of a Tiger-Cat fan. Hard helmets, witty t-shirts, black & gold kilts and a pair of Doc Martins. These men all sit together in Box J and travel around the country to various games together, including the Grey Cup each year. They are known throughout the league. They consider themselves Tiger-Cats fan first, but overall CFL fans. They are great ambassadors for the league.

The next group is 'Shockers Corner'. These men are a bunch of rowdy young gentlemen who sit together right behind the visitors bench. Their main objective throughout the game is to p*ss off the opposing team. Alcohol may or may not be involved. I would say this is a great thing to see because the organization needs the next generation of fans to start coming and caring about the team like many have done so in the past.

There are many stories I could get into, but I have a limited space. So until next time, Oskee Wee Wee!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

CFL Schedule

This past week the Canadian Football League finally released the 2013 schedule. The schedule is typically released in the month of February to gain some media attention in the down months of the CFL offseason.

This year was a different story. The league had every right to take as much time as they needed to generate the upcoming season's schedule. Although, there was a lot of discussion on fan forums, saying how long it is taking the league, it better be worth it, it can't be that hard, etc. Well this year the league was dealing with issues that they normally don't have to worry about.

First, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are finally moving into a new stadium, after being a year behind schedule - I am sure the league wanted to have a firm date of completion.

Next, the Toronto Argonauts play in a stadium that is home to the Toronto Blue Jays of the MLB. The Blue Jays get first priority for scheduling, since their owners own the stadium as well. Plus, the Rogers Centre is host to many major events and concerts throughout the year that may generate more money than the Argonauts.

Finally, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats home will be away from home this coming season. The Tiger-Cats are playing in Guelph, Ont. at Alumni Stadium, which is also home to the Guelph Gryphons of the CIS. These three situations then have a ripple effect on the rest of the league and teams as well.

Although, I was completely satisfied as a fan and season ticket holder of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, I cannot say the same for other fans. The classic Labour Day game that is played between the Argonauts and Tiger-Cats at (the now demolished) Ivor Wynne Stadium. Fans still expected this game to be played on the same day either in Toronto or Guelph. Neither happened. The two teams will now play on Thanksgiving Monday - aka the 'turkey bowl'. I think this will provide an opportunity for new excitement for fans. Both teams should be competitive this coming season and that game could have major playoff implications.

I have realized over the last few years and this most recent situation with the delayed schedule release that sports fans are never happy. Win or lose they always find a problem with something.

Once the season starts, everyone will forget about this past week and will be focused on their team being victorious each week. Striving for the main goal to win the Grey Cup, being held in Saskatchewan.

So everyone can get excited for another exciting season of CFL football and begin the road to the 101st Grey Cup!