The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are preparing to close their offices in anticipation for the move to Investors Group Field.
At 5 p.m. on December 21, the offices at Canad Inns Stadium will close. Staff will reopen the Bombers’ office on the University of Manitoba’s campus on Monday, January 14.
The ticketing department will remain open at Canad Inns Stadium on Saturday, December 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will reopen on January 2 and 3.
The offices will then close for good at Canad Inns Stadium on January 3 at 5 p.m. Online season ticket purchases will still be available through BlueBombers.com as well as season ticket renewals.
The Bomber Store at Canad Inns Stadium will remain open until December 24. The Bomber Store at Investors Group Field will open again in March and fans will be able to purchase items online beginning in the new year.
WINNIPEG — It was the last hurrah at the ol’ relic known as Canad Inns (formerly Winnipeg) Stadium on Saturday afternoon, as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers closed out their year — and 60 seasons at the grounds at Polo Park — with a 19-11 win over the Montreal Alouettes in front of an announced attendance of 26,907.
It was surely a bittersweet victory to wrap a tumultuous 2012 campaign that saw the Blue and Gold start 0-4, fire their head coach, get blown out by scores of 52-0 and 44-3 in a matter of three games, and somehow finish the year 6-12 — tied for last in the East with Hamilton and out of the playoffs — and just out of the cellar by way of a tiebreaker.
“I really feel good for the players that they were able to go out on a winning note,” said Winnipeg head coach Tim Burke who had the ‘interim’ prefix removed from his official title earlier in the week. “I think it’s a good, positive step going into next year. The vast majority of these guys are going to be the bulk of the team, and it’s good for them to end on a positive note that we can go into the next year feeling good about ourselves.”
Burke also feels finishing the season 4-3 is a significant accomplishment.
“I think it shows that there’s a lot of character there. There’s guys who have ability to play and beat teams. We won two really tough games on the road (in Montreal and Toronto) against two good opponents.”
“It’s huge,” said veteran safety Ian Logan of finishing 2012 with a win. “We’ve already started talking about the next season, building on what we’ve done this year and heading into the next season flying. This win is the first step towards that.”
“I certainly hope that this is a look to the future a little bit and give our fans some hope,” said quarterback Justin Goltz who entered on a full-time basis late in the game and went 3-of-5 for 30 yards passing, and added 32 yards rushing and a touchdown.
“We’ve got the greatest fans in the CFL, and they’ve been through a lot. Not only the rollercoaster of the last three years with the stadium opening and stuff like that. I just hope that our fans see that the future is bright. We’ve got a great core of players here, and I think it was a great decision to keep (general manager) Joe Mack and Tim Burke around for the future and have some consistency around here, because that’s what we need.”
President and CEO Garth Buchko and the Blue Bombers board clearly agree as they’re doubling down on their bets, and 2013 will be very telling of several staffers’ fates within the organization.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will (for a second time) bid farewell to Canad Inns Stadium on Saturday — a place they’ve called home for 59 years.
The Blue and Gold will host the Montreal Alouettes in the regular season finale before moving to Investors Group Field across town next year. To celebrate a new era for the football club, several special events are planned for game day tomorrow afternoon.
The game will be celebrating the Canadian Football Hall of Fame as 2012 inductees and Blue Bomber greats, Milt Stegall and the late Tyrone Jones will be inducted into the prestigious hall along with Damon Allen, Jack Abendschan and Eric Lapointe in the player category and Senator David Braley and Peter Connellan in the builder category. The players and builders will be honoured at halftime, with Milt Stegall speaking on behalf of all of them.
A brief autograph session with the inductees is set for 12 p.m. outside the Bomber Store before the 2 p.m. kickoff.
A closing ceremony with members of the football club, current players and alumni will happen at midfield following the game. A brief tribute video and fireworks display are also planned for fans. Blue Bomber and CFL Hall of Famer Joe Poplawski will speak before shutting the lights off at the stadium.
It was supposed to be closed by now, but stadium delays at Investors Group Field means Canad Inns Stadium will still host one last Winnipeg Blue Bombers game this weekend.
To prepare for the move to their new home on the University of Manitoba campus next spring, the football club is holding a stadium asset sale.
From November 29 to December 1, season ticket holders will have dibs on items of their choosing at the 59-year-old stadium. The general public will have access from December 2 until December 16, or until inventory is gone.
Fans can also purchase a limited edition frame featuring items from the stadium. The frames contain authentic pieces of turf, goal posts and game-used footballs, and season ticket holders also have the ability to have their seat included. Season ticket holders have exclusive access from now until November 9 with the general public gaining access on November 10.
Sporting organizations and community groups can request benches and other items from the stadium by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org by November 9. Requests will be handled on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Blue Bombers may be on the road this weekend, but that doesn’t mean Canad Inns Stadium will be sitting empty.
The best young football players in Manitoba will be competing in Football Manitoba’s 2012 Championship Weekend.
Among the players to watch are North Winnipeg Nomads midget quarterback Julian Wytinck, St. Vital Mustangs outstanding major league defensive player of the year Chad Nellis, East Side Eagles major league all-stars Casey Saunders and Kelly Sansregret, and Eastman Raiders all-around star Brock Letkeman. This is also the first year that the Valour Patriots Bantam team has made it to Championship Weekend in their four years competing.
The competition begins Saturday at 8 a.m. and runs until 7 p.m. Sunday’s events will run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
WINNIPEG — For all intents and purposes, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers played quite well for a 4-11 football team and were close to beating a very good Calgary Stampeders club on Saturday afternoon in front of 25,462 at Canad Inns Stadium.
On the other hand, Winnipeg’s eight total turnovers — including quarterback Joey Elliott’s four interceptions, all either in the end zone or red zone — made it an easy victory for Calgary as they beat the Blue Bombers 32-21 to improve to 9-6 on the season.
“I’ve never been around a team that has turned the ball over (eight) times and won the game,” said Winnipeg head coach Tim Burke. “The two turnovers at the beginning of the game spotted them 14 points, so we’re playing from behind right from the get go.”
“We were in the game the whole way because I thought we played hard.”
Watch post-game reaction:
Hard, sure. Effective, maybe. But the offence failed to put points on the board after some promising drives deep into Stampeders territory.
“I’ve got to take full responsibility for those three mistakes,” said Elliott of his three picks while targeting receivers in the Calgary end zone. “You have to give credit to them too. They made some plays.”
“You take away those three turnovers and we’re right in the game.”
And he’s right. Switch those interceptions to chip-shot field goals instead, and the game would have been a lot closer.
Elliott, coming off CFL Offensive Player of the Week honours following the Bombers’ surprising 27-22 win in Montreal last week, went 22-of-33 for 284 yards and no touchdowns. But his four picks glare.
Running back Chad Simpson scored two of Winnipeg’s three touchdowns, rushing for 84 yards on 14 carries. Chris Matthews had the other via quarterback Alex Brink in a game where the wide receiver totaled 116 yards and became the first Bombers rookie to ever eclipse 1,000 yards receiving. Slotback Terrence Edwards led all Bombers receivers with nine receptions and 143 yards.
The Winnipeg defence kept former Bombers QB Kevin Glenn at bay after a rough opening half where the Stamps absolutely dominated time of possession and scored 26 points. The league’s leading rusher Jon Cornish put up 87 yards on 22 carries.
“They did a lot of things that they haven’t done before,” said Bombers linebacker Jovon Johnson. “I guess it was the game plan against me… they did a lot of things to put me (out of) leverage, so most of the game I was lined up against (Calgary slotback Nik Lewis) — I was chasing and not covering. But it was about them having a good game plan, not what he did.”
Meanwhile Johnson — the 2011 CFL Defensive Player of the Year while playing cornerback — struggled at times on Saturday while playing strongside linebacker and expressed his sentiments on the position change.
“Would I like to (play linebacker next season)? Absolutely not,” said Johnson. “But I guess if that’s what’s going to keep me around for a long time then that’s what I’m going to do.”
Maybe the Bombers’ brass need to re-assess the position after cutting veteran strongside linebacker Clint Kent in the preseason. Maybe they need to re-assess a few positions.
The cellar-dwelling Bombers have one remaining contest at the old stadium at Polo Park before moving to their new digs at the University of Manitoba — Saturday, November 3 against the rival Montreal Alouettes.
WINNIPEG — Call it a regular installment of the second act of the Buck Pierce Show.
For the 23rd time in 60 career CFL starts at quarterback, Buck Pierce left the game due to injury. And similarly to many of those instances, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers emerged on the losing end of said game.
The Toronto Argonauts came into Canad Inns Stadium on Saturday night and handed the Bombers their tenth loss of the season in front of 27,169 — a 29-10 shellacking that appears much less severe on the scoreboard than it did in actuality on the field.
“With the amount of turnovers and penalties we had tonight, we won’t beat a pee-wee team,” said veteran Winnipeg receiver Terrence Edwards. “The team that gets the most turnovers usually wins the game.”
The Bombers committed seven total turnovers to Toronto’s one, including three lost fumbles and four interceptions, three of which came off the hands of backup Joey Elliott (20-for-30, 173 yards) who entered in relief of Pierce (8-for-13, 120 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) to start the second half.
Pierce was pummeled by Argos linebacker Brandon Isaac late in the first quarter, taking a helmet to the chin that opened a wound and knocked the quarterback out for several plays. Pierce returned, but was held out “for the remainder of the game for precautionary reasons” when it was learned that he was experiencing headaches.
But with his checkered history of injuries and suspected concussions, the big question posed at Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke was if the team can move forward with Pierce as their quarterback.
“I think so,” said Burke. “He’s the best quarterback we have… It’s obviously frustrating, but I thought the way our offensive line has been playing that they’ve kept the quarterback pretty clean for the most part.”
But the player on offence who has been through thick and thin over his six seasons as a Bomber feels it may be a hinder.
“You see all the good teams have their number one guy in there,” added Edwards. “They’re not rotating quarterbacks… I don’t care what league you’re in, it’s going to be tough to win games when your number one quarterback is in and out of the lineup. That’s been us for two years now.”
The Blue and Gold continue their tumultuous 2012 campaign, unable to string together consecutive wins and are firmly planted in the basement of the both the CFL and the East Division. Their next two matchups come against a pair of 8-5 clubs; first in Montreal against the East Division-leading Alouettes on Monday, October 8 before returning home on Saturday, October 13 to face the Calgary Stampeders.