Our victory is your victory!

With summer fast approaching, our thoughts turn to outdoor terraces, beaches and swimsuits, and many among us will be looking to shed excess winter pounds and get back into great shape. Gyms will get crowded like they always do, and exercise will consume more and more time in our lives. Who doesn’t yearn to look good during the summer while wearing lighter clothing?

Not to be outdone, the Grey Cup has had its dose of exercise and kilometers traveled since the end of November. Good thing the trophy’s cardio rate is outstanding (especially for a trophy of its age)!

If the Grey Cup were to be entered into a fitness competition, it would win hands down: It’s been running non-stop for the past four months!

Immediately following the Alouettes’ Grey Cup victory on November 19, media everywhere wanted to cover the CFL’s symbol of supremacy and its champions: Radio, television, newspapers, bloggers… everyone wanted some “Alouettes” in their news. No sooner had the Als become Grey Cup champions on that Sunday night in Hamilton following the team’s dramatic victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers than it was back to Montreal, and come Monday, visits began with the city’s various media outlets.

In the weeks that followed, Alouettes players and staff visited various Montreal restaurants in the evenings to celebrate the Grey Cup victory with their fans. Players also met with several of the team’s partners and sponsors with the Grey Cup in tow.

Word was spreading around town, and several hockey organizations – namely the Montreal Canadiens, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, the Gatineau Olympiques, the Quebec Remparts and the Lions de Trois-Rivières – all welcomed the team and the coveted trophy. The team and trophy also made appearances at Christmas parties. And the Alouettes were even saluted at Quebec’s National Assembly and at Montreal’s city hall!

Inspiring communities

“After we won the Grey Cup in November, it was important for our organization to share the victory with local (and not-so-local) communities and reconnect with them. We wanted to say ‘thank you’ to our fans who have always supported us,” said Alouettes President and Chief Executive Ofiicer Mark Weightman. “I’m delighted when I see everything that our players and staff have achieved and how they’ve been able to share the experience.”

The organization was able to parlay this outpouring of affection to inspire local communities. The Grey Cup visited hospitals, breakfast clubs, youth centers and schools. Alouettes players like Marc-Antoine Dequoy, Tyson Philpot, Frédéric Chagnon, Jamal McGloster, Alexandre Gagné, P.O. Lestage and others shared stories of their journeys, their challenges and how they overcame adversity, encouraging the youngest in attendance to always dream big.

From Montreal to Quebec City, with stops in Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières, the cup logged several thousand kilometers! And not only in the province of Quebec: Players brought the Grey Cup with them when the Canadiens faced off against the Canucks in Vancouver, with receivers coach and pass game coordinator Mike Lionello receiving congratulations.

Head coach Jason Maas brought the Grey Cup with him to Edmonton, where his son and daughter got to go to sleep with the precious trophy.

The Alouettes’ head coach also organized an event at a suburban Edmonton pizzeria where children could create their own pizza and have their photograph taken with the Grey Cup. Money raised went towards helping the homeless.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Anthony Calvillo and defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Noel Thorpe were able to update their family photo albums, as the previous time both men hoisted the Grey Cup their children were younger.

Offensive line coach Luc Brodeur-Jourdain surprised Saint-Hyacinthe residents by coming to town with the trophy, while assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Byron Archambault enjoyed a family lunch with a place set aside for the cup!

The Alouettes’ success inspired not only young people and adults, but the team got to share its victory with the people of Montreal and surrounding areas. Even the most fervent fans on the other side of Canada were able to experience their own moment of joy. All memories that will last a lifetime.