Argos' GM Jim Barker (L) had coach Scott Milanovich (R) and the rest of his staff at his wedding.It's not that often you see a CFL general manager hit the road with his team, but Toronto Argonauts' GM Jim Barker had an excellent reason to accompany his squad last week and this week—he planned his wedding to coincide with the team's Alberta road trip. On Sunday, Barker married long-time girlfriend Hilda Stuwe in Okotoks, Alberta. The Argonauts gave him a great wedding present the night before, too, picking up a 33-27 win over the Calgary Stampeders. Here's what Barker told Chris O'Leary of The Edmonton Journal about his wedding and why he planned it for this time of the year:
"We actually met in 2008 (when Barker was the Stampeders’ senior VP of football operations and director of player personnel) when we won the Grey Cup in Montreal,” Barker said by phone from Calgary, where the Argos are staying in advance of Saturday’s game in Edmonton.
“We’ve been seeing each other since then and it’s been a little bit of a long distance thing and some off and on, but ultimately we ended up getting married on Sunday and it was great the way it worked out because our team was here.
“All of the coaching staff was able to be there, who are my closest friends, and so we got married Sunday here after a win. It was a perfect weekend for me.”
The two were married at the Crystal Ridge Golf Club, near their home in Okotoks.
“We’re like the senior Brady Bunch,” Barker joked. “Between us, we’ve got eight kids and 16 grandkids.”
Barker said the ceremony marked the first time he’d been able to get together with his four grown daughters — Erin, Lisa, Kate and Holly — in 12 years. “As a coach, you move around so much,” said Barker. “It was all four of them and me together. My mom came up, it was a great, great day.”
The newly-formed family will make a convoy up to Commonwealth Stadium for Saturday’s game.
That's a pretty cool story, and it's nice that the Argos' schedule worked out in such a way that Barker could not only have his wedding during the season and have the coaching staff there, but also have some time to spend with his family afterwards. Like Barker, the team's finding plenty of success on the road, too; they've won three straight road games in Montreal, Saskatchewan and Calgary, and will be trying to extend that streak to four when they face the Eskimos Saturday. We'll see if the Barker family can motivate them to keep that run of success going.