Grey Cup wager sees both Calgary and Ottawa winners and losers

Touch football teams representing HMCS Calgary, dressed in white (left), and HMCS Ottawa, dressed in black (right) gather for a group photograph ahead of their pre-Grey Cup game. Photo by LS Ogle Henry, MARPAC Imaging Services

Touch football teams representing HMCS Calgary, dressed in white (left), and HMCS Ottawa, dressed in black (right) gather for a group photograph ahead of their pre-Grey Cup game. Photo by LS Ogle Henry, MARPAC Imaging Services

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

With brimming smiles, sailors from HMCS Ottawa proudly hoisted the flag of the 2016 CFL Grey-Cup Champion, the Ottawa Redblacks, up the mast of HMCS Calgary on Nov. 28.

The two ships are the namesakes of both Grey Cup combatants and ahead of the 39-33 overtime win by the Redblacks over the Calgary Stampeders, the commanding officers of both ships agreed to a friendly wager on the game.

The first portion of the wager involved a touch football game between the two ships, played Nov. 25 at Langford’s Westhills Stadium, which Calgary easily won 36-6 in front of 350 spectators.

“Friendly wagers like this produce winners on both sides, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience,” said Cdr Blair Saltel, Commanding Officer of HMCS Calgary. “Seeing the outstanding support the ship gave to their crewmates who took to the Field at Westhills, and defeating Ottawa during our mini Grey Cup, was the highlight of my year.”

But unfortunately for Cdr Saltel and his crew, the fine print in the agreement also included one important caveat that read: “The ship representing the losing city in the Grey Cup game would be required to hoist the team flag of the winning city on its mast for the duration of the day, from sunrise to sunset.”

HMCS Ottawa’s Commanding Officer, Cdr Sylvain Belair was away on business and unable to attend the informal flag-raising event held at 9:30 a.m. at Dockyard’s A Jetty Monday Nov. 28. So SLt Julian Yates, the acting executive officer of Ottawa, and three shipmates unraveled the Red Blacks’ banner and hoisted it to the top of Calgary’s mast.

“It was a pleasure to battle Calgary on the field even though they prevailed in our touch football game. I must admit though, it was an even greater pleasure to watch the Redblacks win the game,” says SLt Yates, adding the Grey Cup weekend wager was a great way to bring the two ships together with good-natured fun.

The conditions of the bet also required the losing ship to donate a small portion of money, $335, the hull number of HMCS Calgary to HMCS Ottawa’s charity fund, The Perley and Rideau Veterans Health Centre.

“While my namesake’s city team made a heroic effort in the second half, having to concede to Ottawa allowed me the opportunity to research their ship’s charity, which does outstanding work in their community, and happily present a donation,” said Cdr Saltel.

Filed Under: Top Stories

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