This Canadian Football League contest happened to be the first game I was able to attend at the new Mosaic Stadium. The Saskatchewan Roughriders(my hometown team) had moved into this new venue last year, but I wasn’t able to get tickets last year. Tonight was also the Humboldt Strong game, commemorating those that lost their lives in that terrible accident earlier this year.
My wife, daughter and I all dressed up in green, and caught the bus from the Northgate Mall in Regina. The city runs a dedicated shuttle service on game days for free to try to cut down on traffic congestion around the stadium itself. It’s convenient, and a great way to meet other fans.
We arrived at the stadium and quickly made our way to our seats. We were in section 119, in the north end zone, and had a surprisingly good view of the field. Compared to the old Taylor field this building felt very clean, and is far more enclosed and protected from the elements. It isn’t a full dome, but it was designed to minimize the effects of the wind and rain. The food vendors were also all indoors, and I didn’t notice the lines for the bathrooms being as bad as at the old building either.
On to the game!
The Roughriders and Alouettes had a rough game. Numerous penalties, a low score, and lots of turnovers were key features. The Riders have one of the best receivers in the league on the roster and he took maybe two snaps on offence, which is absurd. The starting quarterbacks from both teams were removed from the game, one due to poor play, the other to injury. All told this wasn’t a very exciting game, and the final score of Montreal 23 – Saskatchewan 17 reflected that.
But one doesn’t go to a Saskatchewan Roughrider game just for the football. You go for the atmosphere. The fans were in fine form this night, and green was the only colour that could be seen in most sections. It’s also incredibly loud. Saskatchewan is full of some of the smartest football fans on the planet, as they know when to make noise and when to keep quiet. Needless to say Montreal took several time count violations due to the crowd noise.
They also have a few teams that move from section to section engaging the crowd. The hand out prizes from game sponsors and generally wind everyone up. Our section received several bags of Ruffles potato chips. I managed to secure a few bags just by being tall and an easy target.
All in all we had a great night. The Rider’s offence was lackluster at best, and the defense made the game seem a lot closer than it was. That said, if you’re going to truly experience Canadian football, this is the place to do it. We’re looking at coming back next year and bringing my son to his first game!