Saskatchewan Roughriders fans flock to downtown rally to kick-off farewell season
Fans, Steve Mazurak excited and optimistic about new-look regime
CBC News Posted: Jun 30, 2016 5:52 PM CT
The Saskatchewan Roughriders final season opener at Mosaic Stadium starts at 8 p.m. CST tonight and the fans can’t wait for kick off. Fans made Regina’s downtown a sea of green on Thursday afternoon.
“I’m excited. Last year was not a good year, so change has to happen,” said long-time season ticket holder Ryan Leblond.
“I think we’ve gotten younger and faster. We got some good free agents and some good players. I think it’s going to be a different team and a more exciting team than last year,” Leblond said.
The fans will need a program to learn all of the new players. In addition to a brand new coaching staff, 75 per cent of the starting lineup is new to the team.
“I’m excited we got a new team which is scary but hey, we’re excited. Chris Jones, I’ve heard many great things about him so, let’s go Riders,” said Chris Rodman who was decked out in an autographed Chris Best jersey.
The Riders plan to do something special for all of the nine home games to commemorate the farewell season for Mosaic Stadium.
“Every game will have some kind of event. We’re going to honour the four Grey Cup teams. The farewell one in October will be the big one,” said Roughriders chairman Wayne Morsky.
“It’s going to be a sad day but you know what, just across the road we’ve got an iconic stadium being built thanks to the fans.”
Steve Mazurak reflects
It’s the last season at Taylor Field for Riders fans, but also former players and staff.
Steve Mazurak, vice president of sales for the Roughriders, said he’s expecting a fun farewell season.
“We’re bringing lots of alumni back to celebrate the farewell season, so it’s going to be fun from so many different angles,” Mazurak said in an interview with CBC’s Christy Climenhaga.
‘We’re all nervous anticipation but a lot of excitement.’ – Steve Mazurak, Riders’ vice president of sales
Mazurak reflected on what it was like working at Taylor Field, but also what it was like when he played there as a Roughrider himself back in the ’70s.
“Way back in the day I would return punts for the Roughriders,” he said.
“It was catch the ball, try and move before getting smothered by, you know, 12 football players at full speed. No blocking punt returns was absolutely awful.”
Mazurak said he’s looking forward to what Jones brings to the team this season.
“He’s got the guys all tuned up and working out and in shape. So, we’re all nervous anticipation but a lot of excitement.”