MEDICINE HAT, AB – One of Canada’s most recognizable trophies paid a visit to Medicine Hat over the weekend, bringing together fans of all Canadian Football League clubs.
The Grey Cup made a stop in the ‘Gas City’ on Saturday afternoon at Whiskey Creek Pub for a semi-public showing, brought down by Calgary Stampeders president and general manager John Hufnagel.
Hufnagel’s fiancee hails from Medicine Hat and said he wanted to bring the Grey Cup back to southern Alberta after previously making a visit after Calgary’s 2014 championship.
He also joked that it could serve as a possible recruiting tool for the red and white.
“We planned on bringing it down again, her mom and dad actually arranged it,” said Hufnagel. “There maybe aren’t a lot, but there are some Stampeder fans in Medicine Hat. And, hopefully [we’ll] try to get some of those Roughrider fans to change over.”
The Stampeders connection to Medicine Hat runs further than just a handful of Grey Cup visits though, as local product Dan Federkeil spent five years playing at McMahon Stadium.
That included a Grey Cup title in 2014, which paired alongside his Super Bowl XLI championship with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts in 2006.
Injuries forced Federkeil’s retirement ahead of Calgary’s 2018 championship season, but Hufnagel said he had no doubt regarding the lineman’s talent.
“Dan was a great football player, no question about it,” he said. “He brought a lot of stability on our offensive line, he’s an excellent player. Unfortunately, he had a little too many injuries that really affected his career and probably was a big part of why he made the decision to retire when he did.”
“I really thought that if he didn’t have those injuries, he could still be playing.”
Calgary earned its eighth Grey Cup championship on November 25, 2018 with a 27-16 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks in Edmonton.
Displayed at the front of Whiskey Creek’s back pool hall, it wasn’t uncommon for fans of all stripes to take photos of the Grey Cup and read the names of the previous champions.
Hufnagel said the players usually are able to soak in a Grey Cup title more than the front office, but added it’s always enjoyable getting to celebrate with the fans.
“I’m glad we have the opportunity to bring it down to Medicine Hat,” he said. “Truthfully for myself and the coaches, we enjoyed the victory for one day, the next day we’re back in the office working on 2019. But, to intersperse it with an event like this makes it a lot of fun.”
Hufnagel’s mind will turn to the CFL’s free agency period, which will kick off on Tuesday.
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