December 4, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
The result wasn't anything close to what the Winnipeg Blue Bombers envisioned and some fans certainly had their issues getting to the first CFL game at Investors Group Field.
But the Bombers seemed to like it all, soaking up the surroundings of their $200-million home.
"I didn't get to play in the old stadium but I heard it was pretty crappy," said Bombers wideout and kick returner Jameze Massey, who likely drew the biggest cheers with his 91-yard kick return. "I like these fans. They're very cheerful and this turf is very good.
"I like this field; it's pretty nice."
Max Hall, one of the quarterbacks auditioning for the Winnipeg backup job, said that playing in the new stadium was thrilling.
"It was awesome," Hall said. "It felt like an NFL stadium, an NFL atmosphere is what it felt like.
"So it's a great stadium and we have great fans and when the regular season comes around, it's going to be loud and it's going to be a hard place for opponents to come in and play. I feel honoured I was able to play the first game here and participate. Great stadium."
It will be louder in the future but Wednesday's loudness presented no problems for the offence.
"No troubles with that at all," Hall said. "Talking with some of the offensive line afterwards, my cadence and everything felt smooth. We got in and out of the huddle so all that was good. On the road, it's going to be different so I'm going to have make sure I'm loud."
Bombers punter Mike Renaud said it's all good news for the visuals at the new stadium.
"This is impressive to say the least," Renaud said. "That goes without saying.
"The wind is definitely a factor at times, tends to gust, get trapped and then gust. You feel it at your back and moments later you feel it in your face. Kind of plays tricks on you.
"That's something we can work with. This was just a surreal feeling, with the enclosure of the new stadium and everyone's kind of on top of you. Just disappointed we couldn't give the fans a win tonight."
Bombers head coach Tim Burke was enthused about the new digs but thinks the best is yet to come.
"We didn't give the fans much to cheer about," Burke said. "I wish we could have given the crowd a lot more to cheer about."
Bomber hopeful, receiver Brett Carter, the product of the Winnipeg Rifles, thought the evening was remarkable.
"It was very loud, compared to the old stadium, from what I can remember," said Carter.
Tough to pick any Bomber on a night when the attack coughed and sputtered. So, well, ummm... among the few who didn't make a mistake was QB Justin Goltz who, in a limited time at the controls, was 2-for-2 for 23 yards.
Jonathan Hefney has been in the news for all the wrong reasons of late, but was visible in his early stint in the game. We also liked the work of Marty Markett, one of the newcomers pushing for work in the secondary.
Mike Renaud didn't officially lock down the punting gig, but he sure as heck didn't hurt his chances. Renaud punted six times in the first half for a 44.3-yard average and also jumped on one of his shorter kicks in a savvy play that gave the Bombers the ball back.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 13, 2013 D3
Updated on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 7:11 AM CDT:
adds video, adds fact box