Saturday, 1 September 2012

Ivor Wynne Memories: Labour Day 1991

With it being the last season of Ivor Wynne Stadium, I said I am going to post some of my personal memories I have of the stadium. This edition will look at my favourite Labour Day Classic, the 1991 beatdown of the Toronto Argonauts.

Labour Day is a different game from most. This one really gets the blood flowing and the hatred for the opposing team is off the charts. When it comes to Labour Day, Hamilton has been host to quite a few memorable moments. Whether it be Earl Winfield's three touchdowns in three different ways in 1988 or the 30-30 double overtime thriller in 2004, great things happen on Labour Day. One of those great things happened in 1991 when one of the biggest upset in CFL history occurred on the field at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

The Ti-Cats were dreadful in 1991. Entering the Labour Day Classic, the Cats had yet to win a game and stood an 0-8 and in last place in the East Divsion. The Argos were an impressive 6-2 and would steamroll their way to a Grey Cup championship later in the year. But on one glorious Monday afternoon, the Ti-Cats were the better team and by a significant margin.

I went to the game because I acquired cheap tickets from the football team I played for at the time. It was my first year of playing football and the the Hamilton Minor Football Association (HMFA) had a deal with the Tiger-Cats to provide cheap tickets to to a couple of games for players in the league. One of the games was Labour Day. Now, you have to remember that back in 1991 fan attendance was down. For that Labour Day game, I sat in the end zone with my dad and we had a whole bench to ourselves. The place was empty. There were maybe 10,000 people there. But those 10,000 or so people went home happy.

I don't recall much of what happened that day because I went to that game not to watch the Tiger-Cats, but to watch the Argos. More specifically, I went to watch The Rocket. Growing up, my dad and I were huge Notre Dame fans and our favourite player was Raghib "The Rocket" Ismail. When he signed with the Argos in 1991, I was bummed and excited at the same time. Bummed because he was playing for the one team I hated more than any other, but excited because this would be my chance to see him play. That first opportunity came on Labour Day. The weird things is, I don't remember much of what Rocket did that day. I couldn't tell you his stats or anything.

Even more so, I couldn't tell what actually happened in the game (so much for a memory, eh?), but I remember that it was a sunny day and the Ti-Cats absolutely spanked the Argos to the tune of 48-24.

I might not have any memories of what happened on the field, but I got to see "The Rocket" play live and the Ti-Cats mercilessly pound the Argos. I may not remember many details (any details?), but I can still say that the 1991 Labour Day Classic was my favourite one played at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

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