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It was a welcome break from the brewing doom and gloom of an uncertain 2020 Canadian Football League season.
On Thursday, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers turned back the clock to much better times, spending the evening honouring an incredible run from the year before with the unveiling of their 2019 Grey Cup rings.
"It’s unbelievable," Bombers receiver Nic Demski said as he looked at the ring, noting its size. "I was just joking around downstairs saying I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to take this out in public."
The Bombers had originally planned to reveal the rings at their home opener on June 13 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the team defeated 33-13 in the title game last November. But with the coronavirus forcing the season to be delayed — and potentially cancelled — the Bombers did an online presentation that included an appearance by the Grey Cup.
Only some of the team was in attendance, as a majority of players are at home training as they wait to hear whether a season will be played. To make sure everyone was included, the Bombers put together a virtual meet-up on Wednesday.
Linebacker Adam Bighill was part of a small team that helped with the ring’s design. He said the one thing the crew wanted was to make certain team president and CEO Wade Miller understood it should catch peoples’ eyes with its size.
"One of the last things we told Wade was ‘Bigger! Bigger!’ And he came through," Bighill said. "It just blows you away."
Canadian jeweller Baron Championship Rings designed the finished piece. Many small details connect the piece to Winnipeg.
On the top there is a ‘W’ in diamonds and custom Bombers blue enamel. The outer edge of the face is lined with 11 sapphires representing the organization’s total championship wins and is complemented by the title "Grey Cup Champions."
Both shoulders of the ring feature intricate details. One shoulder displays the player’s name and number in diamonds over the IG Field background, while the opposite shoulder features the Winnipeg skyline behind the Grey Cup and the Golden Boy, framed by the team name and year.
Finally, the ring is finished with an engraved personalized message unique to each player and with the final score of the 107th Grey Cup etched above "For The W."
Bighill said it was important to incorporate the city into the final design.
"We’re all champions here in Manitoba and Winnipeg, so to be able to celebrate this entire province and bring a championship back for them is really what it’s all about," said Bighill.
"The rings are special and you’re able to remember this forever with the people you did it with. Most importantly, you can celebrate this with everybody else here that cares so much about it."
After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.
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