COVID restrictions keep Riders in check night before game in party city Montreal

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders won’t be roaming Canada’s most European city much before their Week 13 matchup in Montreal on Saturday night.

That’s because they’re not flying from Regina to Montreal until the day before, about 24 hours later than usual, due to COVID restrictions.

It’s no secret Montreal is the ultimate party city with temptations galore all around its downtown core. Rider defensive tackle Micah Johnson admits the COVID protocols have become a policer to keep him and his teammates from staying out too late on the road.

“They’ve definitely come up with restrictions,” Johnson said.

“Guys definitely can’t move the way you used to move when you’re in and out through the cities. And you’ve got to be a lot more careful so I could see how some could say it’s had that effect.”

The 33-year-old Johnson agrees that Montreal is a favourite city for road-trips and it is unlikely he or his teammates will hide in their hotel rooms, either.

“It’s a cool city — everybody likes Montreal. For the most part, everybody likes that Montreal, Toronto and B.C. trip, depending on who you are and what you’re into,” Johnson explained. “It’s like when you go to Montreal, you feel the big culture shift.”

COVID or not, Johnson expects to get out and see some sites.

 “You feel how heavy the French culture is out there. Seeing a lot of the signs written in French and that being the primary language out there, it’s a cool little vibe,” Johnson said.

“A cool little city, so it’s definitely one of those places that when you get into the hotel, put your bag down and walk around the city, there’s a lot of nice places to see.”

For Rider players and staff making the trip for Saturday’s game, not being swept up by Crescent or Sainte-Catharine Street will contribute greatly to the Roughriders chances of stealing one on the road from the Alouettes and clinching a playoff spot.

Brendan McGuire has covered the CFL since 2006 in radio and print. Based in Regina, he has a front-row view of Rider Nation.