Jo-Ann Fafard has had a pair of Saskatchewan Roughriders season tickets for the last decade and has been coming to games all her life.
“We have great memories ever since we were little, going to the Rider games with dad and his friends,” she said.
She’s been to hundreds of games, including a couple of Grey Cups, but says there’s always one game in the regular season schedule that she has circled every year.
“If there's only one game that you can go to in a year, I think it would be the Labor Day Classic,” she said. “It's by far the most popular game, and the most fun.”
As the date of the 2020 edition of that game approaches, Fafard says it’s really driving home the fact that we haven’t seen a single down played in the CFL because of its cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People base their holidays and everything around the Labor Day classic, and it's so unfair that it's not happening this year,” she said.
“We'd all sit around in groups or go to a bar and watch the Riders on TV, whether it be a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. So yes, it's been a real bummer.”
Local sports bar Shark Club is also feeling a summer of no CFL.
“We've had to push all of our other sports and any other events that we can find to bring in, just to try to bring seats in,” said head chef Ernie Miller. “We don't have an NHL team, we don't have a baseball team, so the Riders are our team.
“This will be the first time in 11 years of being in this building that I don't have Labor Day Classic and that'll be very strange for us.”
The province has proclaimed Sunday, the date the Riders were supposed to host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, as Saskatchewan Roughrider Day and the team has planned accordingly.
“It was tough to try to find an event that actually could get the most people to Mosaic Stadium safely,” said Miriam Johnson, director of marketing with the Riders. There will also be an online component for fans not able to make it to Regina.
“We have a drive-thru event happening right at Mosaic Stadium, on the grounds of Evraz Place. You can come in, it's all registered online right now but we have a limited number of spots, that you can actually come and still have a Rider experience right there outside the gates of Mosaic Stadium.”
Saskatchewan Roughrider Day also counts as the kickoff to the club’s 110 year anniversary campaign, where the team will be calling on fans to share their memories.
“Our fans have stories, and our fans have the ability to help us tell their story of 110 years,” said Johnson.