The 2016 fall football season ended in November, but for the peewee Cowichan Bulldogs, it included an experience they won’t soon forget.
On a bye weekend in late October, the peewee Bulldogs were invited to visit BC Place and play at halftime of the BC Lions’
Oct. 22 game against the Edmonton Eskimos. The invitation included pregame field passes and a chance to watch the teams prepare for the match up close.
“It was such a great experience, a forever moment for everyone,” Bulldogs head coach Opie Williams said.
The excitement started even before the players arrived at their destination as they witnessed a three-car accident in front of their bus on Georgia Street. When they were dropped off in front of the stadium, Nissan was promoting their brand by handing out hamburgers and hot dogs, so everyone got an unexpected free lunch as well. That wasn’t the end of the free goodies they would get.
“We had 50 extra spectators travelling with the team, and everyone received a free BC Lions hat,” Williams recalled.
Twenty-three Bulldogs staff and players had field passes. Even though they were stuck in the Eskimos’ end of the field, Lions wide receiver Marco Iannuzzi made his way down and gave every player on the team a high five.
Then it was time to watch the game and prepare for their halftime appearance.
“We watched the game from the end zone seats, and left midway though the second half,” Williams said. “We hustled to the other end of the stadium to get changed and then back under where we were waiting to enter the tunnel.
“Running to the far end for our game, it was so loud at the field level during our halftime game. I was shouting as loud as I could to the other coaches and they could not hear on the sidelines.”
The Bulldogs were scheduled to play a team from Prince George, but because of a mix-up, they ended up facing a squad from Kamloops.
“After our game we had a group picture celebrating the amazing experience,” Williams continued, noting that he had the opportunity to speak with former longtime Simon Fraser University head coach 2016 BC Football Hall of Fame inductee Chris Beaton, exchanging congratulations.
“I would like to give a thank-you to all those that helped make this event happen and a big shoutout to Keith Hawkins from the BC Lions for inviting us and making such a wonderful experience,” Williams added.