No room: Calgary's horse, Ottawa loggers out of Grey Cup

Andrew Bucholtz
Calgary’s touchdown horse Quick Six won’t be prancing at Toronto’s BMO Field on Sunday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh photo)

The Ottawa Redblacks-Calgary Stampeders Grey Cup matchup has managed to combine two of the recent Grey Cup controversies, as neither the Redblacks’ logging team nor the Stampeders’ touchdown horse will be allowed on the sidelines Sunday. The logging team was forced to cut outside the stadium in Winnipeg last year thanks to a protest from the Edmonton Eskimos, while the Stampeders’ horse was only allowed to stand in the corner during the 2012 Grey Cup thanks to space concerns. Interestingly enough, the bans this year come after CFL teams voted in the offseason to preserve and promote teams’ touchdown celebrations at the Grey Cup, and the bans are again reportedly thanks to space concerns. Tim Baines of The Ottawa Citizen has more:

A CFL decision to banish Quick Six, the Calgary Stampeders’ Touchdown Horse, and the Algonquin Loggersports Team, which cuts out a wood cookie after each Ottawa Redblacks touchdown, from the sidelines during Sunday’s Grey Cup was made after a request by BMO Field.

“Initially, I wasn’t sure what to make of it,” said Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group president of sports Jeff Hunt. “I’m told it’s not a CFL decision per se. Although the Loggersports were tight, perhaps it could have worked. But the bigger issue was the horse. I know they did not want the horse on the field for whatever reason. I think the CFL felt if the Calgary Stampeders can’t have their horse, then it’s probably not fair for Ottawa to have its touchdown celebration part. I think they were just trying to be fair.

“We’re not disadvantaged in any way. But it’s nice to bring teams’ traditions to the Grey Cup. We all know what happened last year – it was an unfortunate outcome.”

It is unfortunate that we won’t see either team’s touchdown tradition at the Grey Cup again this year, especially after the teams voted to permit that. However, the space concerns at BMO Field aren’t imaginary; that stadium needed expansion just to get a CFL field in there, and there isn’t a lot of room left, especially with the temporary seats that have been added for the Grey Cup. There also might be some concerns about the field, with a MLS playoff match set for their next Wednesday. Perhaps the teams can come up with some alternatives; maybe the Redblacks’ logging team can log outside again, and Calgary fans will probably be bringing their hotel horse again. Let’s just hope that they’re allowed in at first this time rather than forced to wait until the Twitter backlash heats up.