MONTREAL – The gloomy temperature of November didn’t slow down Montreal Alouettes fanswho turned out in large numbers for the Gray Cup parade on Wednesday.
Fans lined De Maisonneuve boulevard, filled the Quartier des spectacles and waved their Quebec flags downtown to celebrate the Alouettes’ first title since 2010 and eighth in team history.
The Alouettes defeated the favored Winnipeg Blue Blombers 28-24 in Game 110 of the Gray Cup on Sunday at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.
The temperature in Montreal hovered around two degrees Celsius and reached a maximum of four degrees, while light rain occasionally fell in the afternoon.
Quarterback Cody Fajardo, who was named the Gray Cup MVP, said the below-normal temperatures dovetail well with the parade because several of the Alouettes’ games were postponed by Mother Nature.
“There was a delay due to the weather and our fans persevered,” Fajardo said after the celebration. The weather wasn’t great today, but they showed up. »
“I had no idea how good it was going to be and then we left and I’ll remember that for the rest of my life.” »
Fajardo threw for 290 yards and led a game-winning offensive drive in the final minute that ended with his third touchdown pass.
Fans made sure to give the quarterback some love by chanting “MVP!” » all afternoon.
“Singing is pretty high on the list (of things I’ll remember),” Fajardo said. I have several videos on my phone of people chanting “MVP!”, and that’s something no one can take away from me; we are the winners of the Gray Cup and the Gray Cup is back home where it belongs. »
It wasn’t the first rodeo for veteran defensive end Shawn Lemon, who won a Gray Cup with the Calgary Stampeders in 2014 and the Toronto Argonauts in 2017.
The 35-year-old man said the parades of these two conquests were no match for what he witnessed on Wednesday.
“It was amazing,” he said. I’ve never seen anything like this, this is my third championship, and I’m already speechless. I’ve never seen a parade like this. Montreal did things well. »
The CFL free agent market began in February when the Alouettes were without an owner. The team was without several important players, so before the start of the season many analysts placed the Alouettes in last place in the overall standings.
The Alouettes defied the odds in the regular season with an 11-7 record before defeating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Argonauts and Bombers en route to the title.
“Hey, Montreal! Not bad for a team ranked ninth by the pundits,” Alouettes general manager Danny Maciocia said.
Several Quebecers on the team said they did not attend the 2010 parade because they had to go to school.
Some fans did not have this scheduling conflict on Wednesday due to a public sector strike that forced school closures between Tuesday and Thursday.
Longtime season ticket holder Sebastien Dreyfuss was at the parade with his son Florian, a primary school student, and his friend Emiliano. Under other circumstances, they would not have moved.
“The school is more important than the Alouettes,” Dreyfuss said.
Both children said they were pleased with the turn of events.
“I think it helped,” forward David Côté said. It’s good that there are more children, we are a kind of role model for them, and if we manage to make more children want to play football and come to watch us, then we have done our part. »