The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will not raise their championship banner from the 2019 Grey Cup until they can hold a capacity crowd of 33,000-plus at IG Field.
“That’s a celebration that belongs to every Bomber fan and every single citizen in this province,” team president and CEO Wade Miller told Postmedia’s Paul Friesen.
Friesen also reported that the Blue Bombers anticipate being at less than 50 percent capacity for the CFL’s targeted 2021 regular season start date of Aug. 5. The league announced its plans for a 14-game season on Wednesday with the Grey Cup in Hamilton being pushed from November 21 to December 12.
The league has yet to receive approval for its return-to-play plan from the Ontario provincial government, which could mean more games will be hosted in the west to start the season.
The Blue Bombers ended a 29-year Grey Cup drought in November 2019 when they defeated the heavily-favoured Hamilton Tiger-Cats by a score of 33-12. Andrew Harris was named the game’s Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Canadian, becoming the first person to ever capture both awards.
Winnipeg hosted a parade for the team that saw over 10,000 fans brave the elements to share in the victory. Chris Streveler wore a fur coat and cowboy hat over his bare chest, which later became an Internet meme.
There’s a chance that Winnipeg will have the opportunity to host a capacity crowd late in the season, which could mean we’ll see the banner raised in 2021. If not, it appears the championship celebration will have to wait until 2022.