There was no party on Portage Avenue and Main Street Sunday evening.
As the Winnipeg Blue Bombers looked to add a third CFL championship to their name in four years, they lost to the Montreal Alouettes. In front of a crowd of nearly 29,000 people at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario, the Bombers ended their season with a surprise comeback from Montreal.
For the home fans, it was a disappointing end. But they are still waiting for the Gray Cup to return to Winnipeg.
Quinn Smith, a Winnipeg resident, said that while he and his friends were bitter about the loss, the game itself was really well played.
“We have to get the cup back… I think we have a good basis to move forward. (We can) continue to be a great team for years to come,” Smith said, speaking about the Bombers’ upcoming season.
“I don’t think it’s the end of the road yet.”
Smith added that the team needs to be motivated for a possible return to the finals next year.
This is something Ahmed Nur also agrees with. For Nur, another Winnipeg fan, it hurts to see the Bombers lose after reaching such a level.
This year’s game marks the fourth consecutive Gray Cup appearance for the Bombers. Last year they lost to the Toronto Argonauts, after winning the cup in 2021 and 2019.
“Last minute, lose in the end? It hurts,” Nur said. “We were hoping to go to Portage and Main after the game. I was going to take the day off today, but here I am at work. I guess we need to move on.
Nur said the fact that the team has reached the final every year since 2019 means something. He added that it was now about winning back the championship.
Reviewing the match, Derek Taylor, voice of the Bombers for 680 CJOB, said the result was a surprise. But unlike last year, he said, the result was also “self-inflicted.”
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“Montreal is a team that averages around 21 offensive points per game. They scored 21 offensive points in the second half against the team (Sunday)… it was absolutely a surprise,” Taylor said. “The biggest surprise is that the Bombers defense never managed to find its feet against the Montreal Alouettes.”
Taylor added that the Bombers could begin next season by exploring possible changes with the players. He also echoed the fans’ sentiments, noting that the team could meet again in the cup final for a fifth year.
– with files from Katherine Dornian of Global
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