REDBLACKS home opener this Friday in the Glebe
The Ottawa REDBLACKS will begin their quest for a second straight Grey Cup championship Friday night in the Glebe – and the Calgary Stampeders will be looking for some early-season redemption.
Friday night’s home-opener at TD Place is a rematch of last year’s Grey Cup, which saw the REDBLACKS win their first-ever championship in a thrilling 39-33 overtime win over league favourites the Stampeders. It was the first Grey Cup for Ottawa in a whopping 40 years, which sent the Glebe, and the entire city into Grey Cup frenzy.
The Stampeders weren’t smiling and REDBLACKS starting quarterback Trevor Harris knows the type of intensity they’ll bring to the Glebe Friday night.
“The preseason games are fun to get your feet wet and get the nerves out a little bit, but this is when the bullets really start flying,” said Harris following REDBLACKS practice Monday.
“(The Stampeders) have a great scheme, they play really well, their defenders break on the ball extremely well, their boundaries are very, very good, their safety is extremely talented.”
The REDBLACKS won’t only kick off the season against what is being touted at the league’s best, but they’ll take on the Stampeders in Calgary in Week 2 as well – back to back tilts against their bitter rivals. But Harris isn’t putting too much stock into one team and knows Calgary won’t be the only competitive squad to worry about this year.
“Everybody is a good team right now, everybody is undefeated,” added Harris.
“So, we just line up against their 12 and see what happens. Play REDBLACKS football and see what happens.”
The return of the REDBLACKS is a highly-anticipated homecoming for a team that won the hearts and minds of CFL fans everywhere, including the rabid fans here in the Glebe. But it’s no surprise the Glebe has bought into the charming REDBLACKS organization, because the team has bought into the charming community.
REDBLACKS head coach Rick Campbell, a Glebe resident himself, paraded the Grey Cup down Bank Street after the team’s big win last year, stopping at local bars and businesses to relish in the glory. A day later, more than 40,000 rabid fans showed up in the Glebe for the Grey Cup parade and party down Bank Street.
If anyone knows how important local fans are, it’s Campbell.
“It’s huge, this is a big reason I came here and wanted to be a part of the REDBLACKS, the community,” he added.
“I live here full time and I think that’s what makes football special, its the interaction with the players and the fans and the community.”
Campbell added that he loves the “Bank Street vibe” on game days with local businesses hanging REDBLACKS gear from their windows and fans strolling main street donning flannel shirts, shorts and full flannel onesies leading up to kickoff. Not only does it create a rowdy atmosphere for the games, but it makes it easier to attract good quality players to Ottawa, as they see how football crazy the area becomes on Game Days.
“I walk down Bank Street every game and I know a lot of the people that own businesses and I’m always happy to see people on the way to the game and it’s always great, because you have got that community feel where you know people in the neighbourhood,” adds Campbell.
“We are excited about them being in the neighbourhood and they’re excited about us being in the neighbourhood, so it’s really fun. Players want to play here because they know that the fans care and that it’s a great place to play football.”
The Glebe will be hopping with flannel junkies beginning in the early afternoon Friday, and we’ve got some seriously fun events for you to take in on your way to a game. Get your face painted in REDBLACKS colours beside Kunstadt Sports at 690 Bank Street and while you’re there, take a shot at the opponent at our Dunk-a-Stamp competition. We’ll have a poor Stampeders fan sitting a top our dunk tank. Toss a football and try to dunk him in. If we get him wet enough, he’ll have to put on some dry REDBLACKS gear.
The Glebe will also be bustling with live music, super fans and roaming entertainers from 3:30 until kickoff.
It all gets underway at 3:30 in the Glebe. If you haven’t got your tickets yet, grab some here. Also, don’t forget to check out our lineup of great restaurants if you’re looking to fill your belly with grub before kickoff.