Fans wear loyalty in coats crafted from team flags


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CALGARY — Rick Duchesnay, like a lot of football fans, is proud of his game-day attire.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/11/2019 (1219 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

CALGARY — Rick Duchesnay, like a lot of football fans, is proud of his game-day attire.

He doesn’t wear a wig, face paint, or spandex to show his Calgary Stampeder pride: he wears a custom-made rainslicker fashioned out of Stamps’ team flags, and he’s worn it since the 2005 Grey Cup, where a group of six friends first wore theirs.

The key word is “first.”

Because at the 2006 Grey Cup in Winnipeg, a particularly enterprising resident of St. Catharines, Ont., took notice, looking over the custom merch of Duchesnay and his friends. When Betty Halliday returned to her Ontario home, she fired up her Sears sewing machine.

“The next year, she showed up wearing a Hamilton Tiger-Cats one,” Duchesnay said, thus beginning one of the CFL’s most low-key, unspoken and strangest rivalries.

The friend who thought of the slickers first, upon hearing of a Halliday sighting, texted, saying “Copycat, not Tigercat.”

On Duchesnay’s slicker, it says “Original Six,” to cement the friend group’s place in history as the first to fashion the coats.

Halliday admits it: she took the idea, which she emphasizes was to simply purchase flags and sew them together, and made it her own.

But the patterns are available to anyone, she didn’t steal anything.

“I saw the woman wearing the Saskatchewan one (in 2005), and told her her coat was lovely,” she said.

Since then, she’s turned the flag slickers into a veritable side-gig. She’s made 70, selling them for what she insists is a reasonable price, and was fielding requests for more all throughout the weekend. Only serious inquirers will be given a quote.

“I want one made,” Naomi Turnbull, a Bomber fan, said. So Halliday took her measurements on the spot at a party near the official Grey Cup festival Friday afternoon.

Duchesnay is proud of his outfit, as is Halliday of hers. They’d just probably prefer to not show up to the same party wearing the same thing more than once a year. Neither of them would likely volunteer to change.

They hadn’t spoken much since their first interaction over a decade earlier, but Halliday and Duchesnay had a nice chat Friday. He introduced her to his wife, and they admired each other’s slickers.

“It’s the greatest form of flattery,” Halliday said.

Duchesnay confirmed he wouldn’t seek damages for intellectual property theft. Halliday hoped to see him in 2020, when the Grey Cup is played in Regina.

Ben Waldman

Ben Waldman

Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.

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