Kent Austin hoists the Grey Cup to the delight of local Roughriders fans at the Legislative Building in Regina on Nov. 27, 2007. The last time the "Riders" won the cup
Photo Credit: Troy Fleece- CP

Grey Cup football weekend in Canada

It is arguably the single biggest sporting event in Canada. The annual Grey Cup football championship vies for top spot with the Stanley Cup final in hockey.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats wide receiver Andy Fantuz slips on a extra sweater during a practice on Wednesday in Regina. Temperature was about -21 C, with snow on the field © Paul Chiasson-CP

Football fans have been pouring in to the western city of Regina Saskatchewan for the Sunday championship matching the Saskatchewan Roughriders with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The Grey Cup final is held in different cities each year, and hosting the event and also having your home team in the final is a special treat.

The weather has been bitterly cold leading up to this 101st Grey Cup.

Earlier this week, some Hamilton players suffered minor frostbite while practicing for the game, with the wind chill making the temperature the equivalent of -21C on Wednesday, and -31c Thursday morning.

Temperatures are expected to warm for Sunday’s game which gets underway at 17;30 local time.

The forecast is for temperatures hovering around zero to -3. Winds in the open Mosaic Stadium however could make it feel like -10.

Saskatchewan’s Kory Sheets, right, rushed for a combined 270 yards in two games against Hamilton this year, and the star running back figures to play a key role in this 101st Grey Cup game. © Geoff Robins-CP

 Extra seating has been added to the stadium to bring capacity to about 50,000. Tickets were sold out early.

The two teams in the finals both come from the smaller markets in the league, and are fairly evenly matched in terms of their statistics.

And speaking of statistics, history records Regina as the first major club in Canada to use the forward pass.

The Canadian Rugby Football Union (controllers of the Grey Cup) had banned the play in 1930. It came back in 1931. The  CRFU later evolved as did the game itself, into the Canadian Football League or CFL of today. A different body, Rugby Canada, now controls “English” style  rugby.

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