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Blue Bomber Report

'Be it ever so humble... '

Philosophical true Blue fans OK with return to Canad Inns

The concrete continues to crumble through the paint and the colour is still unable to hold the strength needed to keep the stone surface together. On rainy days, water trickles through those same cracks, providing a sad reminder that the building has seen better days.

Welcome back to Canad Inns Stadium, Winnipeg.

Megan Young.


Megan Young. Purchase Photo Print

Dale Thompson is OK with being back at Canad Inns Stadium Wednesday.


Dale Thompson is OK with being back at Canad Inns Stadium Wednesday. Purchase Photo Print

Raymond Hofer

Raymond Hofer

Robert Marko.

Robert Marko.


Um, what are we doing here again?

"You know what? I'm kind of glad to be back at the old stadium," offered Dale Thompson prior to the Blue Bombers' pre-season tilt with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Wednesday night. "I still didn't think it was the biggest fond farewell they could have given to us, but I'm super-excited to go to the new stadium -- even though we've got to wait a whole year. What can you do?"

It wasn't supposed to be like this. Big dreams had the Bombers opening the 2012 season with a christening of a $190-million, 33,500-seat gridiron mecca at the University of Manitoba. There was supposed to be a celebration of the start of a new era of Blue and Gold football, a party that would signal Winnipeg as the supreme destination for the next generation of Bombers fans.

Instead, Investors Group Field will have to wait. Endless construction delays forced the organization to do what many in Winnipeg suspected when the questions of completion started to mount in the winter:

There will be no grand opening in 2012, the Bombers admitted last week.

Save the date for 2013, the club said.

C'est la vie, say the fans.

"It's no big deal. I can't control it so why worry about it?" said Robert Marko, who's had his season tickets since the 1998 season.

"I don't think a true fan would mind being back here," said Raymond Hofer, who was at the game with his son, Drew.

Jamie and Megan Young were at the Wednesday's game two hours before kickoff. Enjoying the spoils of the potholed parking lot behind the east grandstand, the couple wasn't too upset to be back at the old digs.

"Be it ever so humble there's no place like home, right? This is what it is, this is where we play," offered Jamie, unfazed by the stadium uncertainty of the off-season. "At the end of the day, it's a seat and it's a place where you go and buy a drink and it's a trough where you pee in."

Megan shared a similar take. Though not completely jazzed with the way the whole stadium drama was handled, she wasn't too upset that she had to be back at Canad Inns Stadium for another year.

"I'm not shocked, not in any way, shape or form," she said. "I was fully expecting to be back here. All the celebrations about this old stadium and leaving -- didn't believe it. I'm happy to be back just to celebrate the Bombers for another season, whether it's here or at the new Investors field. Doesn't really matter to me, we're here to have fun and watch some football.

"It kind of felt like (the Bombers) have been lying to us for a while and holding back information; we kind of had the sense that we weren't leaving."

So it's one final season at Canad Inns Stadium, one final go-around for the 59-year-old ball yard. And who knows, maybe one final, FINAL golden commemorative ticket marking the final game later this season.

"I still have mine, it's sitting on me coffee table," Thompson said of the keepsake prematurely handed out at the end of last season. "I'm waiting to put it in a frame. Are we going to get another one?

"It's a collector's item now, right?"

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 21, 2012 C3

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