CFL

Thousands line Calgary streets for Grey Cup parade

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The Canadian Press
11/28/2009 5:33:40 PM
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CALGARY -- A green tide washed through Calgary streets Saturday as thousands of excited football fans came out for the Grey Cup parade.

Fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, in town for Sunday's championship game, swamped those of their rival Montreal Alouettes -- even among the four-legged fans.

Roxy the bulldog proudly wore a jersey emblazoned with the Saskatchewan Roughriders logo and the slogan Real Men Wear Green. The jersey also worked as a buffer against a minus-4 windchill left from a fast-moving storm that dusted the city with snow and ice.

Roxy's owners, Michelle Jablonski and Kevin Evans, brought along their eight-month-old daughter Kylee May, also dressed in 'Rider green.

"She watches the games with her Daddy," chuckled Jablonski, who grew up in Calgary.

"I chose to be a 'Rider fan. I actually was a Stampeder fan when we started dating."

Evans grew up in Regina before moving to Calgary and understands the obsession people in Saskatchewan have about their team. He said it doesn't matter that the Roughriders are steep underdogs against the Montreal Alouettes in Sunday's Grey Cup game.

"Every year they're the underdog. It's the name we love because then when we (win) it's even sweeter," he said.

"I was born in Saskatchewan and I was born with a logo on my chest.

"I hang the flags from my car. I just love it. I see a Stampeder logo on a truck I pull up beside it and I just hang those flags."

Chris Leard, of Saskatoon, wasn't only wearing a Roughriders jersey -- he was guarding a tinfoil Grey Cup, had dyed his hair and goatee green and had the Saskatchewan logo shaved into the side of his head.

"I just woke up this morning and it was done," Leard chuckled. "It's 'Rider Pride man."

"Maybe it's because there's no other major sport in Saskatchewan but everyone loves the 'Riders," he added. "'Rider fans go to the game expecting to help their team win and the fans from other teams just go there to watch."

The start of the parade was delayed by 20 minutes because of what police called an "ice hazard".

Fans and those participating in the parade stood shivering in the cold, restlessly waiting for it to start.

Among those was Calgary's Elisha Cuthbert, the star of the television series '24' who was the parade Grand Marshal.

"I'm very excited. It's warm so it's pretty good," Cuthbert said as she was whisked by reporters to her waiting car."

Fans from all CFL teams were proudly wearing their colours along the route but the primary colour was green.

Mark Swanson was hard to miss with his 'Rider jersey and football shaped hat pulled down over a wildly unkempt and bright green wig.

"I think we love them because they're not a privately owned team. They're a publicly owned team and there's more support," he said.

"It's our only team from Saskatchewan and we gotta cheer it on. We're a big province and we gotta prove we're a big province."

Elisha Cuthbert (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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