Before the Saskatchewan Roughriders say hello to the new Mosaic Stadium, they first have to say goodbye to the old one.
The Riders officially launched the farewell season at the current Mosaic Stadium on Wednesday afternoon in the team’s locker room.
“2016 is going to be a very special year as we celebrate this stadium’s great history and the incredible memories made here,” said president and CEO Craig Reynolds.
Just how the team plans on sharing those memories isn’t really known at this point. The organization was mum on details during Wednesday’s media conference. What we do know is the team plans on having a season-long celebration for the only stadium the Roughriders have known for the past 105 years.
“Every game will be an event and a celebration,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds suggested they will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Riders very first Grey Cup win in 1966.
Already, those memories are being shared by past members of the organization. Legendary running back George Reed remembers the very first time he made his way to Saskatchewan for training camp.
“We were at the exhibition grounds, that’s where the head office was above the cows. The smell was great,” said Reed.
“Then they brought me to the dressing room. I walked in and I couldn’t believe what I saw. They had to pot-belly stoves and three lightbulbs hanging down from the ceiling. That was our dressing room.”
Of course, the stadium has gone through quite the transformation since then.
For players like running back Neal Hughes, football memories expand beyond just playing for the Riders.
“I played here for 21 years of my football career,” said the Regina native.
“One of the things from high school, I went to Thom, it was a rough and tumble football team. One of my traditions was I could never look at the stadium. I had to drive by the bus, never look at the stadium until I got right close to it, then I could look up and walk in. I did that playing for the Rams, playing for the Riders. I kind of paid respect to the old girl.”
— Sask. Roughriders (@sskroughriders) December 2, 2015