He called it the fix of a lifetime.
Thanks to Winnipeg welder Ben Klumper, the broken Grey Cup left for B.C. in one piece.
Klumper of Quest Metal Products Ltd. said he was still shaking from his close encounter with the historical hardware more than an hour after he put it back together yesterday morning.
"To say the least, it was very exciting and quite an honour to be not only touching but actually working on the Grey Cup. One of the fellows said I was resurrecting the Cup from its demise," said the experienced welder who pieced the vessel back together. "It was just awesome."
The top, cup-shaped tier of the coveted trophy was ripped off its base during the B.C. Lions' post-game celebrations Sunday following the team's 25-14 defeat of the Montreal Alouettes.
By contrast, the repair was a delicate process.
Just one wrong move with the welding torch threatened to leave Canadian football's holy grail in even worse condition.
"Any time you weld something, if the metals don't accept the weld properly, you can do more damage than good. You don't get a second chance to do it," said Quest manager Roy Cuddeford. "If you touch your welding torch the wrong way to it, you could blow a hole in it."
Luckily, the work left only a heat mark on the Cup, which silver polish should easily remove.
Cuddeford said Quest didn't charge Grey Cup handlers a fee for the roughly 60-minute repair.
"We've never worked on anything this prestigious. This was an honour," said Cuddeford.
Sunday's break was the latest of several in Grey Cup history.
The $53,000 trophy broke in 1987 when an Edmonton Eskimo player sat on it.
It returned home with the Toronto Argonauts in 1991 taped together at the neck.
It broke once more in 1993, when Edmonton's Blake Dermott head-butted it.
This time around, the Cup snapped along a previous break that was repaired with a silver patch, said Klumper.
He assures football fans the latest fix will last.
Klumper replaced the soft silver with a tougher stainless steel cross and blended the two metals into one with silver solder.
"It got manhandled pretty good by these 400-pound football players," said Klumper. "But it's not going to break again. I gave the fellows my guarantee."
He was allowed to keep a bit of the broken silver patch for his efforts.
Oddly, he had a premonition he might be doing the job.
"When I saw the Cup get broken (Sunday on TV), I thought I could fix that. Who would have thought I would be the person doing just that?"
The newly rejoined Grey Cup flew on to B.C. yesterday morning.
Lions' guard Kelly Bates, who took responsibility for snapping the Cup in two as he hoisted it over his head in victory Sunday, agreed it appeared stronger after repairs.
"You know what they did? It was put back together with rivets. It's better now," said Bates. "I made the Cup better, if you ask me."