Stamps get­ting comfy on Eski­mos’ turf

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports - Dean BEN­NETT

EDMONTON — The Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers of­fi­cially took over the home of their arch-ri­val Edmonton Eski­mos Fri­day as they pre­pare to do bat­tle in Sun­day’s Grey Cup.

The Stamps dressed in the Eski­mos locker room lined with por­traits of past Green and Gold greats.

They then trot­ted out to prac­tice on a field painted with lo­gos for the cham­pi­onship game, in­clud­ing a mas­sive gal­lop­ing Stam­peder horse logo in the north end zone.

Stamps head coach Dave Dick­en­son said it was crit­i­cal to get used to their sur­round­ings and make sure they know their way around ahead of Sun­day’s clash with the Ot­tawa Red­blacks.

“When we run out we’ll prob­a­bly go to the wrong side­line be­cause we’re so used to go­ing to the other side,” Dick­en­son joked prior to the prac­tice in chilly tem­per­a­tures.

“That’s part of the rea­son I wanted to do it this way, know­ing they have a nice fa­cil­ity and get in here and get used to where you’re go­ing to be and hope­fully (be) just a lit­tle bit more com­fort­able for the game.

“Get on the field a day early, maybe get your cleats, learn what the field is like. The more you can sim­u­late the game the bet­ter.”

A win on Edmonton’s home turf would be a bit of pay­back for Cal­gary.

The Eski­mos won the Grey Cup in Cal­gary in 1975 and 1993. Cal­gary has never won it on Edmonton’s home field.

Cal­gary line­backer Alex Sin­gle­ton said while it’s the Eski­mos locker room, they’re work­ing to make it feel like home.

“There’s a lot of red and black in there,” said Sin­gle­ton.

“Our equip­ment team did an awe­some job mak­ing sure as much Eskimo stuff you could cover up is cov­ered with Cal­gary Stam­peder gear.

“They made it as homely as pos­si­ble, which is what you want. You want to be as com­fort­able as you can in a new en­vi­ron­ment.”

Sin­gle­ton said he’s OK with pic­tures of Eskimo greats look­ing down on them as they pre­pare for the game.

“The greats are up there but they’re not just Eskimo greats. They’re CFL greats, so it’s awe­some to see those names and the legacy they have on the CFL,” he said.

De­fen­sive line­man Ja’Gared Davis agreed it’s about more than the Eski­mos.

“There’s so much (foot­ball) her­itage and so much his­tory here. To come here and be able to play on this field for all the mar­bles, it means a lot to me.

“This is not our home, but we’re go­ing to treat it like our home away from home.”

What kind of crowd will it be on Sun­day? Will they sup­port Cal­gary as the CFL’s western rep­re­sen­ta­tive or will the long-stand­ing Bat­tle of Al­berta take prece­dence?

Sin­gle­ton said they’ll know on the first play.

“I hope it’s a Cal­gary crowd, but you never know,” he said.

“You al­ways get mixed re­views from the city of Edmonton. We’ll see what hap­pens on Sun­day but ei­ther way we’re go­ing to come out and play our best game.”

De­fen­sive line­man Derek Wig­gan said: “I try not to fo­cus too much on the crowd. The crowd can’t win us the game. It’s about our ex­e­cu­tion on the field.”

CP PHOTO

Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers quar­ter­back Bo Levi Mitchell, right, hands the ball off to slot­back Ka­mar Jor­den dur­ing a team prac­tice in Edmonton on Fri­day. The Stamps will face the Ot­tawa Red­blacks in the 106th Grey Cup on Sun­day.

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