Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Rams/Huskies clash nears sellout at new Mosaic

Noah Picton fires a pass downfield for the Rams.
    If you want to go to the first football game at the new Mosaic Stadium in Regina, you are going to have to act fast.
    The first contest at what will be best known as the new home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders will be a Canadian Interuniversity Sport football clash between the University of Regina Rams and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies on Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. The battle between these provincial rivals is being dubbed “the SaskTel Fall Classic,” because SaskTel jumped in as a major sponsor.
    Individual tickets went on sale July 26 and were available through the websites and ticket offices of both the Rams and the Roughriders as well as through Ticketmaster’s site.
    On Friday, the Roughriders ticketing team sent out an email saying 85 per cent of the tickets for this contest have been sold. As this battle between the Rams and Huskies will be the first test event for new Mosaic Stadium, capacity has been set at 16,500. New Mosaic Stadium will have a standard capacity of 33,000, when it is fully operational.
    Almost a month ago in this blog, I expressed doubts that this game would sellout. Both the Rams and Huskies have had numerous promotions in the past to get past 10,000 in attendance for a game since the Rams joined the CIS ranks in 1999 but have come up unsuccessful.
    The fact 85 per cent of the tickets have already been sold means a huge congratulations has to be passed on to those involved. That means just over 14,000 people have tickets for this regular season contest.
    Since 1999, the biggest crowd for a university level football game in Saskatchewan has been hosted by the Huskies, who crammed 12,567 spectators into Griffiths Stadium for the 2006 Vanier Cup. The host Huskies fell in that national final to the Universite Laval Rouge et Or 13-8.
Huskies RB Tyler Chow zips past the Rams defence.
    The biggest crowd to attend a Canada West Conference regular season football game came back in 2013, when 10,199 spectators turned out to see the University of Alberta Golden Bears take on the University of Manitoba Bisons at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg.
    The match between the Rams and Huskies at new Mosaic on Oct. 1 has obviously benefited from the marketing arms on a number of fronts including the Rams, Roughriders and SaskTel. Whoever had the original idea of having the Rams square off against the Huskies at new Mosaic has to be considered the biggest visionary in this whole process. For the Rams, this has to been seen as a big coup for them and the University of Regina.
    The obvious draw for this game is, of course, the chance to get the first look at the province’s new state of the art football facility.
    The only question left regards how good the competitive level of this contest will be. Fans of both teams might get a glimpse of that fact this coming Friday in Saskatoon, as the Huskies host the Rams at 7 p.m. at Griffiths. With that said, Friday’s clash is the regular season opener for both sides, and opening day games are usually filled with their share of unexpected occurrences.
New Mosaic Stadium under construction back in April.
    Both teams staged a classic to close their respective regular season schedules last year at old Mosaic Stadium. The Huskies trailed 34-11 late in the third quarter before rallying for a 38-37 victory.
    The Rams finished the 2015 campaign at 0-8 with that loss. The Huskies improved to 3-5 to claim the last playoff berth in Canada West. U of S’s season came to a close with a 37-29 loss in a Canada West semifinal playoff contest in Calgary against the University of Calgary Dinos.
    Both the Rams and Huskies will be improved. Thanks to a strong recruiting class, the Huskies are probably closer to returning to the form of achieving a 6-2 regular season record.
    No matter where the Rams and Huskies are in the Canada West standings by Oct. 1, the SaskTel Fall Classic is well on its way to being an overwhelming success.

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to stankssports@gmail.com.