12,567 fans watch Vanier Cup in Saskatoon

SASKATOON -- The Laval Rouge et Or chipped the Vanier Cup out of its icy resting spot Saturday.
The reunion, after a year-long estrangement, was both happy and frigid.

"This puts a Band-Aid on the scar," Laval head coach Glen Constantin said after his team beat the University of Saskatchewan Huskies 13-8 in the national football final at Griffiths Stadium.

The victory, played through wind-chills in the -30C range, came just over a year after Saskatchewan beat Laval 29-27 in a national semifinal, a loss that extinguished Laval's dreams of a third straight Vanier.

"We were scarred last year," Constantin added while a sellout crowd of 12,567 filed out of the stadium. "We were embarrassed by the chants (of taunting Huskies fans). We knew we'd come back here. It's not about revenge; it's about putting a bow on this thing."
The host Huskies, meanwhile, lost their fourth Vanier Cup in the last five years -- a record of futility that left players and coaches teary-eyed and immensely frustrated.
"When you get here three times in a row, you're obviously proud and everything, but it just rips you up inside," said Huskies' safety Dylan Barker, who has lost Vanier Cups each of his three seasons with the program. "If you don't know what it's like to get here, fine. But when you're here three times, it's unbelievable. You feel this pain all year, right until you get back here -- if you do get back here.
"I came to this team the first year, we get to the Vanier and it's 'wow; this team's for real.' But when you get there three times in a row and you lose three in a row, it starts to wear on you. I'm so proud of us for getting here, but how many times can you say that?"

Saturday's game was played with a frozen football that felt more like a cinderblock. One day earlier, two footballs literally broke during practice when kickers put their shoes to the leather.

The game, predictably, was a defensive struggle played mostly in the middle of the field.

But Laval, despite being outgained 285 yards to 164, enjoyed an edge in play thanks to better special teams.

Laval was 10-1 heading into Saturday; Saskatchewan 9-2.

"Winning the Vanier here is the greatest feeling of my life," said Laval quarterback Benoit Groulx, who completed 10 of 23 passes for 106 yards. "We had revenge to take from last year. Maybe we struggled a little bit offensively, but it's still a great feeling."

Laval opened the scoring with Cameron Takacs' 26-yard second-quarter field goal. They later conceded a safety, then scored the game's first touchdown with 1:11 to play in the opening half when Guillaume Allard-Cameus scored from two yards out. That touchdown was set up by Nicolas Bisaillon's 22-yard punt-return from midfield and a late-hit penalty assessed to Huskie punter Braden Suchan. Those events placed Laval on the Saskatchewan 15. The Huskies closed the gap from 10-2 to 10-8 early in the fourth quarter when fullback Dan Houle hauled in a 58-yard pass that took the ball to Laval's three. Tailback Tyler O'Gorman punched it in on the next play, but the two-point convert failed.

Takacs put the game away when he booted a 15-yard field goal with 44 seconds on the clock.

Saturday's game was the first ever played outside Ontario. Constantin prefers playing late-season games in a dome -- next year's Vanier will be played under cover in Toronto -- but he said his players refused to be intimidated by the arctic air that covered Saskatoon.

"The media made a big issue of (the weather)," Constantin said. "I told the kids you know what? We've all tobogganed, we've all skied and done things outside. I told the guys to focus on what we can control, which is the football game and our intensity."

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That's pretty good.

Great job by the Rouge et Or. First time in 40 years a team of the West lost on his field in playoff !

Good show by the peoples of Saskatoon, real football fans !

Go Laval Go !

Great watching this game in these cold conditions, great to see the fans show up. 12,000 in a packed house looks better than 17,000 in 29,000 IWS in Hamilton last year.

A defensive battle sort of like the GC but games like this are ok since the outcome isn't decided until late in the game.

If Saskatoon can support a Vanier, just imagine if they had a CFL franchise... despite what the nay-sayers tell you, there are good football fans there, and in the other centres(Prince Albert, North Battleford and Lloydminster) that could support a CFL franchise.
I would like to congradulate the U of Laval on winning the Vanier Cup. the U of S had their chances , but could not capitalize on them. It wasnt a bad game considering that it was -30 with the windchill last Saturday. The funniest moment came when the public address announcer asked fans to "remove their tuques" for the national anthem... :lol: , I love this country, but if I had been there, no way was I going to freeze my ears for O Canada!

While it was nice to see the sell-out... it was a small venue. Great atmosphere nonetheless.

With respect to a Saskatoon CFL franchise... getting 12,000 out for the national championship of the CIS is hardly evidence for the market sufficient to support 2 teams in the province.

The Riders, admittedley with the best fans in the league rely on the entire provinces 980,000 population base to get average CFL crowds. I don't see the province being able to support 2 teams when it wasn't too long ago that the Riders had telethons to stay alive.

I agree with joe. The Riders have arguably the best fans in the league but enough to support 2 teams? I don't think so.

Plus dont forget that the Riders also rely on fans from Alberta and Manitoba coming to watch their teams play the riders is Sask.
I have driven to regina and back in one day just to see a game but I cant make that trip to Saskatoon in just one day.

Without knowing the Toon, it looked like the stadium has room to be expanded.
Plus, the city is bigger then Regina.
I still think a new team may work.

hahahahahahahahahaha
you are a fool if you think the riders rely on alberta teams fans to come fill our stadium.i have been to enough games in sask to know there is a grand total of 5 calgary fans per game and 3 eski fans per game.definatly the opposite in calgary and in edmonton but thats not what we are talking about.i will be the first to admit peg fans come in bye the thousands to watch labour day and its a good time but calgary and edmonton,dont think so, so once again hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

I find it absolutely astounding that josephsriders takes the time and dedication necessary to interview all of the potentially 28,800 persons attending a Rider game vs. an Alberta team to find out what team they're there supporting.....truly amazing, jr.....

sure do jm when you hate those two teams as much as i do you tent to watch for these things.atleast i go to games at tf and i live in alberta which is more than you can say about you.and you call yourself a fan.because your a mod i had better shut up hey jm ,might loose my privalage to post.hahahahaha i will no longer post unless you iratate me some more i will be at the riders home web page forums where atleast the fans go to games and talk riders.

While we do get thousands of Bomber fans on Labour Day, or any other Bomber/Rider game at Taylor Field, it would be grossly overstating the fact to think that we get very many Stamp or Esk fans when those teams come to town.
Dozens? Maybe a few hundred, tops.
You hardly need to interview the crowd--just look around for green & gold, or red & white.
So we hardly depend/count on that revenue source.

The point being, I have no idea how or why people think that Saskatchewan can support another team.
I hope they are joking, but if they are serious, then think again.
The Riders have the smallest market in the league, by far, and I see the death of the Riders rather quickly if you ever eroded that fan base by trying to place a team in Saskatoon.

The Vanier Cup was very successful, and good on Saskatoon for putting on a terrific show.
But it was a onetime event, a championship game.
Ask yourselves how many fans attend a regular season Husky game.
And of course there are terrific fans in the north.
Thousands of them travel south 10 times a year to watch the Riders.
Thanks, and good on you again.
But not a chance two teams would survive.
The Riders barely hang on by their fingernails as it is.

The stadium was greatly expanded for the Vanier.... and in fact, a good portion of the people there were sitting on temporary bleachers as it was. I believe pre-expansion, the place held about 5k max... there's more capacity now, but nowhere near the 30k range you'd need for a CFL team. Plus, the city's only about 210-220k total (my numbers are big guesses, haven't heard an actual accurate # since I lived there, if not longer ago than that)

Not counting your obvious lack of attention to syntax, jr, it appears you have issues.....

Of course Edmonton & Calgary fans don't travel to Regina for games. Would you go to Regina if you didn't have to?

For the benefit of the overtly sensitive, that was a joke. I lived in Regina for half a year and have fond memories, Waskana Park, The Paddock, The Old Gold, Town Pump, and a bunch of other party places that are no longer there. Gawd I hate getting old. I went to an academy on Dewdney for 6 months 36 years ago and drank a lot of beer, my spelling may be a bit off. Scarlet fever helped make the time even better(some may understand).

Plus, I bet at least 90% of the football fans in Saskatoon are Rider fans ... it may be hard to get them to all of a sudden support an expansion team plopped down in the middle of them.

Saskatoon is tempting, since it is the biggest Western market without a team, but probably not really feasible ...

Good job with the Vanier Cup though ... sold out and everything, and it DID NOT look like a pleasant day!

well I made my point and I am sticking to it.
Sure maybe less people from Alberta come to Sask for the games when compared to the Thousands of fans from Winnipeg that come watch the Blue v.s Grean, but just because they are not wearing their colors does not mean that Albertans dont come to Sask to watch their teams.
Sure maybe only a few hundred at most per game, but a few hundred here and there add up. And when Sask struggles to break even each year, where would they be if those few hundred Albertans stayed home?
Bottom line is that every paid ticket counts regardless if its small numbers from Alberta or large numbers from Manitoba.
If you were in Winnipeg for the Grey Cup you would have been the large numbers of Albertans here just to see the BC Lions vs Montreal.