It’s going to be a CFL first — two opposing teams heading onto the field wearing the same jerseys for the pre-game warmup.
The game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Edmonton Elks this Friday at Winnipeg’s IG Field will continue the spirit of Orange Shirt Day and the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, with both teams sporting special orange jerseys.
Bombers president and CEO Wade Miller said the jerseys will be put up for auction online immediately after the warmup, with all proceeds going to local Indigenous organizations in each city.
“All the proceeds raised from those will go to WASAC in Winnipeg and the Spirit of North in Edmonton two local groups that work with the Indigenous community,” Miller told 680 CJOB.
“It’s pretty exciting, it’ll be the first time in CFL history that two teams will be wearing the same jerseys as they step onto the field.”
In addition to the orange jerseys, 1,000 youth from 80 Indigenous communities across Manitoba, Nunavut and northern Ontario are being flown into Winnipeg for the game and will be receiving special orange hoodies as well as hotel accommodations provided by Exchange Income Corporation.
“From every community, there was an opportunity to send 10 community members, and I believe we’ve had some tremendous uptake,” said Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.
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“We’re looking forward to meeting all of those youth and children. Keep in mind that some of them come from remote and isolated communities — some people take for granted that we have the ability to go to a game, but this will be the first time in the city for some of the children.
“It’ll be quite impactful for them to see so many of their peers at the game, and hopefully to see the Winnipeg Blue Bombers win another game for us.”
Dumas said the Bombers organization has been very supportive when it comes to initiatives like Orange Shirt Day, and that he’s happy to see the team using its considerable platform to help bring awareness to important issues.
“I think it’s significant to bring awareness of this issue. Keep in mind the origins of Orange Shirt Day, the origins of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the terrible things that had happened in residential schools.
“Some of that dark history… up until recently it was something that was kept from everyone else, and it’s an opportunity for people to become more aware of what has happened.
“Football is something that many, many people love — it’s a great game, but it’s also an opportunity to create some good dialogue and an opportunity for everyone to share.”
Miller said the initiative is in line with other projects like the team’s dedication to sending players to communities across the province to interact with kids.
“It’s important for our players to get out and just be a part — we have the ability with our voice and the stardom of our players to go to the communities and make a small difference,” said Miller.
“We look forward to getting back to the communities after the pandemic.”