It’s been a wild week at the Gray Cup in Hamilton and visitors from across Canada will know one thing for sure: Hamilton knows how to throw a party.
Anne Lowry had the noisiest neighbor in town and lived just steps from Tim Hortons Field.
She loves it.
“You don’t move into this neighborhood without knowing this is going to happen,” she said, holding her 7-month-old son as music and speakers played in the background.
Season ticket holder Trish Jacobs says she’s excited to feel the atmosphere and hear the fans roar.
“It’s a great party and a great community event,” he said.
Jonathon Noel and more than 20 members of his family came from Montreal to watch the game and one player in particular: his cousin, Alouettes defensive back Marc-Antoine Dequoy.
“He’s worked hard his whole life and we all support him,” Noel said.
For the Bombers, Sunday night was their fourth straight title game.
Green Day rocked the halftime show
Green Day rocked the Gray Cup on Sunday with a powerful four-song mini set complete with fireworks and crowd participation.
After the players left Tim Hortons Field with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers leading the Montreal Alouettes 17-7 at the half, the stage was set under the scoreboard in the north end zone.
“Can you hear me? This is Canada,” said a voice from a darkened stage, with an F-bomb thrown in for good measure.
Then the stage lit up and the band (singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool plus two guitarists) opened with “The American Dream Is Killing Me,” the first single from their upcoming January album , “Saviors”.
Then it was a diet of past hits with “Basket Case” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” during which Armstrong grabbed a fan’s phone and held it up to film while singing.
“Turn on your lights now. Are you ready?” Armstrong shouted as fans around the stadium turned on their phones.
After fireworks went off high into the darkness, the band finished with “Holiday.”
Fajardo named most valuable player
Cody Fajardo was named the Gray Cup’s most valuable player after leading the Montreal Alouettes to a 28-24 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday.
The Alouettes quarterback threw for 290 yards, three touchdowns and an interception on 21-of-26 passing to help Montreal win its first CFL title since 2010. It was Fajardo’s first title as a starter.
The championship victory was Montreal’s eighth consecutive victory and included a 38-17 upset of the Toronto Argonauts in the East Division final on November 11. Uguak had an inning in that game and said he was motivated by everyone who doubted the Alouettes.
“It feels great because a lot of people counted us out from the beginning of the season,” said Uguak, who joined the team midseason after being drafted. “We stayed the course, took training every week, improved and now we are champions.”
The Gray Cup took over Hamilton last week
Gray Cup festivities took over Hamilton in the days leading up to the game, with thousands of soccer fans coming from across Canada to watch.
Hamilton’s Gray Cup celebrations included a holiday for high school and elementary school students, a naval escort that brought the Gray Cup to the city, a free breakfast for fans courtesy of the Calgary Gray Cup committee, as well as a beer garden, food trucks, inflatables, a Christmas Market, raffles, games and more.
Gray Cup events took over James Street N. all week.
There was plenty of music as well as football fun, including the SiriusXM kickoff party with Hamilton rock band The Dirty Nil and NOBRO, a new age punk band from Montreal.
Other performances will include Steve Strongman, HacheyTheMouthPEACE, The Hot Karls and Matty Simpson Band.
On Thursday night, reggae legend Shaggy played the OLG stage in Niagara Falls and Carrie Underwood performed Friday night at the FirstOntario Center in Hamilton.
The game was sold out with 28,808 people present. This will be the second time the Gray Cup game will be played at Tim Hortons Field in three years. The contest was also held here in 2021, a year after the CFL resumed play after canceling the 2020 season due to the global pandemic.