Football fans brace for polar playoff game

The only thing colder than the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers rivalry might be this weekend’s weather.

Come rain, shine, sleet or snow, the Rider faithful are ready to pack Mosaic Stadium for Sunday’s CFL Western Semi-Final.

They say they aren’t fazed by the looming -20 degree temperature.


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“Blankets, winter coats, ski pants, winter boots, hand warmers, toe warmers, scarves, toques, mitts and lots of cheering,” Riders fan Cathie Bell listed.

“At least it starts in the afternoon so it won’t be so cold,” Lisa Wilson-Sturm added. “But I’m going to pretend it’s the coldest winter day ever. We’ll have blankets and cushions to sit on and do lots of cheering to stay warm.”

In fact, both women say they’ve sat through worse.

“We were at a Grey Cup in Edmonton where it was absolutely freezing. It was probably -30 to -40,” Wilson-Sturm recalled.

Still, Sunday won’t exactly be a walk on the beach.

“Game day is supposed to be -20. That’s perfect for hypothermia,” Advanced care paramedic Sarah Erickson said. “People don’t realize they’re getting cold until they’re already too cold. Dress warm, dress in layers, and pay attention to the weather. You want to make sure that you’re warming up and taking breaks from the cold.”

Children and seniors will be at particular risk for overexposure.

EMS will have two medical posts and use a jacket blanket hybrid to warm up any fans that might be in distress. The ‘janket’ is also specially made to fit over top of football pads to keep players from freezing on the sidelines.

Paramedics say people are generally prepared for frigid temperatures, but windchill and alcohol make things much more difficult.

“Unfortunately, if you’re also partaking in alcoholic beverages, it can mask the symptoms of hypothermia because a lot of the symptoms of hypothermia and being inebriated are the same- slurred speech, the confusion, unsteady gait,” Erickson added.

While some fans say there’s no temperature cold enough to hold them back, they hope their hand warmers, and the Riders, are ready to bring the heat.

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