Stamps arrive for Grey Cup as Argos are feted at rally
TORONTO — As the Calgary Stampeders slogged through traffic to their hotel from Pearson Airport to begin the hectic business of Grey Cup week, the Toronto Argonauts were having a love-in with their fans at a downtown rally.
About 2,000, many wearing the Argonauts’ Double Blue jersey, cheered and shouted ”Ricky, Ricky” for star quarterback Ricky Ray at Yonge-Dundas Square on Tuesday evening in support of a team that earned the rare chance to play a Grey Cup game at home. The Argonauts will face the Stampeders in the CFL championship game Sunday at Rogers Centre.
“You’re always trying to make them proud,” said Ray, the veteran who was acquired from Edmonton last winter in a bid to get the Argonauts into the 100th Grey Cup on home turf. “True fans have stuck with us all year long and we’re getting some new fans too who are really catching onto the excitement we’ve been able to capture late in the season.
“This is what we play for — these people and this city — and we’re just looking forward to playing for the championship.”
The teams get down to business Wednesday with practices at the domed stadium.
It is the first time since 2007 that the two away teams in the division finals pulled upsets to get to the title game, with Calgary knocking off the Lions in Vancouver and Toronto beating the Alouettes in Montreal on Sunday. But they are the two hottest teams in the CFL, with Toronto on a four-game winning streak including the playoffs and Calgary having won its last five.
“Part of that is getting Ricky Ray back,” receiver and kick return ace Chad Owens said of his quarterback, whose return from injury with three games left in the regular season lit a fire under the 9-9 Argos.
“He’s been playing extremely well. But it’s going to be a tough game. It’s going to be last man standing. Calgary have a great football team.”
Owens is riding a phenomenal season in which he led the league in receiving yards and set a CFL record for all-purpose years.