The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have stomped their latest opponent — the notorious "beer snake."
The Canadian Football League team announced today it is killing the infamous snake, formed when fans stack hundreds and hundreds of slightly-wet jumbo beer cups into each other until they form a writhing, serpentine structure that can slither as many as 30 rows high.
The beer snake slithered into existence at the Bombers’ first home game of the season and is the pride and joy of the notoriously rowdy Section S at Canad Inns Stadium, but the team worries it poses a threat to fan safety.
"Regretfully, we witnessed the beer cups being thrown at the conclusion of our home game of July 9, which resulted in several minor injuries to our fans as well as many emails and communications to our office voicing concern and displeasure from our fans," the team said in a news release today.
On Monday, Bomber spokesman Darren Cameron said some fans had been cut by plastic beer cups that frequently rain down from the upper decks of the stadium as jubilant fans pitch in to assemble the beery behemoth, flinging cups from above and below the faux-serpent.
Despite the complaints, not everyone in Winnipeg will be glad to see the boozy snake, which appears almost lifelike as fans hold it aloft, banned from Bomber games.
"Everybody I sit with in section S is over 35," a fan using the name "Disco Stu" wrote in the comments section of the Free Press website. "I like the snake. It probably would have got bigger if the Bombers didn’t blow it at the end of the game.
"My biggest annoyance last game was how long it took to get a beer! People were streaming up the stairs all game long blocking the plays. Bring back the beer boy!"
In an online poll on the Free Press site, as of noon today, 60 per cent of 2,734 respondents have voted "hell, yeah" to allow the beer-cup snake to continue to slither around the stands during home games at the stadium.
But the Bombers news release warned the club is taking a tougher stand against unruly behaviour at games.
"Club management will now implement a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy," it said. "We are committed to providing a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience and we remind our fans of the policies we currently have in place."
Other policies meant to keep a lid on alcohol-related trouble include:
1. Excessive drinking and/or unruly/illegal behavior will result in ejection and or prosecution of the offender.
2. Fans using obscene or abusive language/gestures or engaging in any anti-social behavior found offensive to others will face ejection from the stadium.
3. Smoking is permitted in designated areas only. Our event staff will be happy to direct you.
4. Fans throwing objects into the stands or onto the field will immediately be evicted from the stadium and their ticket privileges may be revoked.
5. Failing to follow instruction of stadium personnel with result in immediate ejection.
6. FANS ENTERING THE FIELD OF PLAY WILL BE ARRESTED. For the safety of our players, fans are not allowed to enter the field.
While football is a sport that requires a lot of teamwork, so does spectating. All fans must work together to make the gameday experience an enjoyable one!, the release said.
Added Bomber president Jim Bell: "We respect the fan base of the Winnipeg Football Club and trust that our fans will understand and respect our desire to provide our fans with the best game day experience possible."