It may be the last day of summer vacation — but it’s just the beginning for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Tim Hortons Field. After a number of delays, the Cats finally hit their home turf in the new stadium. And although it wasn’t pretty — the hometown team managed to kick things off with a win.
Fans here today were beyond excited, they went wild all day long. They say 13 is an unlucky number. Today, 13 was a lucky number for the Tiger-Cats because they won 13-12. It’s quiet here now as cleanup crews continue with the task of cleaning up after the day’s festivities. But earlier today, this place was jam packed.
It was a fairytale ending after this year’s construction nightmare. As the clock ticked down, the fans went wild.
The game started with an emotional ‘Oskee-Wee-Wee chant followed by the national anthem and a fighter jet fly by.
It’s a day of firsts — the first fan through the gates when they opened with 6-year old William Skelly: “Woo-hoo, I’m the first one in.”
The first touchdown on the new field was scored by Bakari Grant. And of course the first win for the Ticats at the new Tim Hortons Field.
“I watch it on TV. But they say better in person than it is on TV.”
“I came from Cleveland, Ohio to watch this game.”
“We won, yes we did. Finally we’re getting on track — getting this thing going.”
“Hey Argos, go home. It’s our house now. Kent and the boys — and Bob Young.”
There was approximately 18,000 people on hand for this historic game. 6,000 seats sat empty because of construction delays. The stadium is approximately two months behind schedule and still not totally complete. There were some concessions open, the beer was flowing. But it was all cash only — no credit or debit available. Washrooms were open but not complete. But none of that bothered some fans.
“It’s excellent, it’s beautiful — and everything is all forgotten. We won, that’s all that matters.”
Everybody knows how passionate these Ticats fans are about their team. But today, they were so passionate and so driven, that they converted one Argo’s fan during the game.
“The fans were so passionate. I’ve been to 9 CFL games, all through B.C., through them all. This was the first time I enjoyed the fans, the fans made the game.
Legendary sports broadcaster Brian Williams said that, despite the delays, it’s a historic day for the city of Hamilton: “I went to Westdale H.S. I used to come to games here when it was Civic Stadium in the 60’s. I know the people of Hamilton didn’t want all the controversy. But believe me, when all is said and done, it will bring tremendous pride to this city.
It was an honour to meet legendary broadcaster Brian Williams today. And another big CFL celebrity to make it here today was the Grey Cup, available for fans to take photo’s with.
All in all, it’s was a pretty great day down here.