Mini Grey Cup gets shout-out from CFL Commissioner
By Ryan Melanson,
As rumours swirl about the possibility of a Canadian Football League franchise coming to the Halifax area, CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie stopped in the city on February 23 for a town-hall style event with local fans. And while the CFL’s Grey Cup has been the ultimate prize in Canadian football since 1909, Ambrosie wasn’t getting away from Halifax without an introduction to CFB Halifax’s own football tradition.
At the start of the event at the Westin Nova Scotian hotel, Ambrosie was presented with the Mini Grey Cup, the trophy awarded after the annual match between the Fleet Club Slackers and Wardroom Officers, which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019. The CFL’s top executive donned an RCAF football jersey and hoisted the Mini Grey Cup above his head on stage for the TV cameras, and continued wearing the jersey for the entirety of the event.
Wally Buckoski of PSP Halifax, who works as the Sports Stores Technician at the Shearwater gym, said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring the storied military trophy to the event, but that he didn’t expect it to become part of the show.
“I just showed up at the hotel with the Mini Grey Cup, but I didn’t realize it would be so popular. It was a very cool moment.”
He found himself a seat near the front of the room, and once the cameras were rolling, event emcee Paul Hollingsworth of TSN invited him to bring the cup on stage to introduce it to the Commissioner and take a few photos.
As for the RCAF jersey, Buckoski said he was inspired by the 1942 Toronto RCAF Hurricanes, who won the Grey Cup that year. The ongoing war effort meant that most of the country’s best football players had put sports aside to step up in service to their country, and the 1942 Grey Cup final was actually contested between the Toronto squad and another RCAF team from Winnipeg.
Buckoski said it was a stroke of luck that things unfolded the way they did, and that he gave credit to the CFL and the Commissioner for being so receptive and adding the military element to the event on the fly. The CAF and the CFL have had a strong relationship for years, and tributes to veterans and serving members are always included as part of the annual Grey Cup game and accompanying week-long Grey Cup Festival.
“He (Ambrosie) had never seen the Mini Grey Cup before, and I think he was excited to see it and pretty impressed that the military would do that. The CFL has always been fans of the military and supportive to the men and women of the Canadian Forces,” he said.