After watching my favourite city — my hometown of Regina — become reinvigorated by the activities of CFL Week, I think it would be wise for the league to book it again.
Same time. Same place.
Make sure to invite Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, Edmonton defensive end Odell Willis, B.C. head coach/GM Wally Buono and CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge.
They were among the event’s stars, with Mitchell raving on social media about the friendly treatment he received, Willis being his off-the-wall self, Buono offering sage advice to his peers about accessibility and Orridge, pausing while dashing to another commitment, saying, “It just keeps getting better.’’
Bring CFL Week back to Regina for a second run-through next March. File off the rough edges. Decide what was perfect, throw out a couple of things and maybe shorten it by a day or two, then offer it to the highest bidder in 2019. Winnipeg, Hamilton, Ottawa, Calgary or Edmonton might be interested.
As a close friend from TSN told me, “The NFL doesn’t take the Super Bowl to every city. Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal might never get this, but you know Winnipeg and some other places would take it in a heartbeat.
Any centre with a passion for the CFL would be a perfect site. Regina was the perfect site for the inaugural event.
Everyone knows how entwined the citizens are with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, which explains why so many wandered through the displays, tossed footballs, listened to the panel discussions, got autographs from the many gracious players/alumni in attendance, watched the draft-eligible college players perform in the combine and bought expensive tickets for the banquet announcing the Canadian Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017, staged inside the flashy, new Mosaic Stadium.
Next year’s CFL Week would be on a local sporting agenda that also includes the Memorial Cup and the Brier. Regina can handle it. The Regina Pats started their WHL playoffs during this year’s event, while the provincial high school basketball championships were being staged in nearby gymnasiums. And it followed a double-whammy on the political scene, with the provincial and federal budgets being presented mid-week.
Trust me, if we can deal with those budgets, CFL Week is a breeze. A nice, warm breeze.