Tamara Gignac, Calgary Herald
Published: Saturday, November 22, 2008
As Calgary football fans gather around television sets and pack local watering holes to watch Sunday's Grey Cup showdown against the Montreal Alouettes, thousands of others will be cheering on their beloved Stampeders from outside the country.
Gary Mar -- the Alberta government's representative in Washington, D.C. -- plans to sip a Diet Coke, eat a bowl of popcorn and watch the game from a Canuck-friendly sports bar a few blocks from the Canadian Embassy.
Stamps fans living in 100 countries will be able to tune into the match, which will be televised via ESPN and Fox Sports International and accessible to 250 million households.
Overseas fans can also check out the game on the CFL's website. "It's a very big deal," said league spokesman Jamie Dykstra, noting that feedback from broadcast partners and Internet viewers shows that fans are watching from far-flung corners of the globe.
"We're just happy they can tune in on Sunday like the millions of people living in our country," Dykstra said.
For Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, the Grey Cup is easily the most anticipated televised event of the year, said Cpl. Duncan Campbell, a combat engineer who recently returned to Calgary after his tour.
Many of the men and women will be cheering loudly while sitting in front of a big-screen TV at Canada House, the recreational facility for troops at Kandahar Air Field.
There's likely to be a few Stamps jerseys in the crowd, brought from home in the hopes their favourite team would make it to the Grey Cup, said Campbell.
For them, the game offers a brief distraction from the gravity of the mission and a welcome slice of home.
"For an event like the Grey Cup, Canada House will be packed," he said.
Ultimately, Sunday's game offers those living on foreign soil something from home to identify with, said Mar.
"I actually see it as a nation-building exercise. Those of us outside of the country miss it dearly and we look for ways to celebrate our traditions wherever we go. This is one of them."[url=http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/city/story.html?id=6b2ddcb5-7187-4268-a2fc-e07c4fdd49df]http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/new ... 7c4fdd49df[/url]